Blending whisky a dogs life?

Blending whisky a dogs life?

Richard Paterson, Kyndal's Master Distiller, takes our Editor's thoughts on dogs as whiskies a step or two further
Richard Paterson

16 July 2002

Publication: Issue 24

I refer to Marcin Miller’s opening remarks in Issue 20 where he made reference to similarities between whisky and dogs. My initial reaction was you had obviously had one too many and gone barking mad! But on reflection, I felt you really had a point … After all, aren’t single malt whiskies frequently referred to as the musical instruments of an orchestra, the radiant colours of an outstanding masterpiece, or the guests at a dinner party … so why not dogs?As you are, I’m sure, fully aware, there are four distinctive areas in Scotland producing malt whisky, and if you separate the grain whiskies and the Speyside Valley, this would account for six quite different
variations … the same number as there are dogs – namely Hounds, Gun Dogs, Terriers, Utility, Working and Toy. Coincidence? Perhaps, but I think not!Each group of dogs, like the different distilling areas of Scotland, produce a wide variety of characteristics but in turn they can be broken down into recognised styles. Therefore I feel the following breeds of dogs could be categorised accordingly:Lowland Malt
Border Terrier • Scottish Terrier • Miniature Schnauzer • Basset Hound• Grand Bleu de GascoigneRenowned for their soft, affectionate manner; placid, friendly, alert intelligent and always a popular member of the familyHighland Malt
Labrador Retriever • Gordon Setter • Airedale • Bloodhound• Golden Retriever • Elk Hound • LeonbergerSolid in temperament and style; dignified and exceptional; bold, reliable and proud. Requires plenty of exercise to maintain their fitness and healthy lifestyle. Truly man’s best friendSpeyside Malt
Cavalier King Charles Spaniel • Saluki • St Bernard• Shetland Sheep Dog • Lhasa ApsoElegant, graceful and sleek yet warm and friendly; exercise and a good diet are essential to maintain these attractive featuresCampbeltown Malt
Borzoi • Pug • Irish Terrier • Marson • Jack Russell •West Highland • White Terrier Complex, robust and bold; assertive and cheerful greatly loved and faithfulIslay Malt
• Bull Terrier • Rottweiler • Dobermann • Shar Pei• Bergamasco • BoxerDistinctive, individual, highly respected but demanding; at times their character is misunderstood; requires a dedicated owner to appreciate their outstanding attributes Grain
• Bearded Collie • Afghan Hound • Sloughi • Samoyed Soft, warm and friendly; can make the toughest hearts melt just by their attractive features; alert and smilingNo doubt my fellow blenders would not agree with all the comparisons I have made but one thing they cannot deny: dogs still possess an acute sense of smell – a key factor when it comes to blending whisky!With all these outstanding attributes, who knows what the future holds for our canine friends. Don’t be too frightened if you suddenly hear one day: “Come into the Sample Room and meet Billy, our new Blending Assistant. Oh, by the way … he’s a bloodhound!”

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