It’s no secret that the recession dimmed the luster of some luxury brands but, even in a struggling economy, the thirst for the luxury lifestyle will never be quenched. What fuels the desire for the luxury lifestyle has little to do with anyone’s desire to be better than the next person, as luxury is constantly portrayed. Instead, many aspects of the luxury lifestyle are high-end for a reason. It’s truly not hype when it comes to such a label. Instead, it’s often about quality and refinement. Luxury brands are usually designated as such because of superior craftsmanship, mastery and expertise and not because of a perceived or inflated importance. Lovers of luxury flock to certain brands because they revere quality.
The Atlanta Luxury Lifestyle Examiner strives to explore all aspects of the luxury lifestyle as it relates to products, hotels, fashion, cars, restaurants, etc.; if it’s luxurious, the Atlanta Luxury Lifestyle Examiner will cover it. With that said, this very first column focuses on The Dalmore, an esteemed whisky dating back to the 19th century. In June, Master blender Richard Paterson hosted a private lunch at Tamarind Seed in Midtown to share the goodness of The Dalmore, one of Scotland’s finest.
According to Paterson, known as “The Nose,” The Dalmore’s history is unique. “Alexander Matheson established the company in 1839, but it was really the Mackenzies, who moved in to become the tenants of the distillery in 1868, that really transformed the distillery as we know it today,” he shared. It is actually the Mackenzies’ family history from which the iconic stag that adorns the bottle originates.
Commemorated in painting by American Benjamin West, The Death of the Stag, which hangs in the National Gallery of Scotland and dates back to 1786, documents the incident in 1263 when Colin Fitzgerald, the first clan chieftain of the Mackenzies, saved King Alexander III of Scotland from a charging stag. Because the Mackenzies could trace their family back to this life-saving moment, they were allowed to use the stag as the company’s emblem.
In recent years, The Dalmore has made a greater marketing push to achieve wider brand recognition. Hence, Paterson’s numerous stops in the United States. The Dalmore 12, a single malt whisky, meaning that it comes from “one distillery and one distillery only,” said Paterson, is more widely available. In Atlanta, the whisky, which is aged for 12 years, 50 percent in American white oak and 50 percent in Oloroso Sherry casks and has hints of vanilla as well as walnuts and cinnamon, can be enjoyed at several establishments, including Tamarind Seed, The Palomar, Atlanta Botanical Garden, Café Intermezzo, Sage Woodfire Tavern, Crabapple Tavern and Brick Store Pub. The Dalmore 15, which is aged in Sherry casks and has a hint of orange flavor, is available at Nan Thai.
Paterson, who has been with Whyte & Mackay, which owns The Dalmore, for 40 years, did establish some ground rules. First and foremost, taking a shot of whisky and knocking it back is very wrong. “People think [whisky is] just for knocking back,” Paterson shared dismayed. “It’s like a Jackson Pollock painting.” Paterson said that “people are in too much of a hurry” and, like a Jackson Pollock painting, they should kick back and look at it in a different light in order to savor it.
The glass should be grabbed by the stem so that the smell of the whisky will not be disrupted by any smell on the hand. The whisky should be swirled around the glass and then, if the location permits, thrown on the floor to clear the glass of impurities that will impede the natural flavor. Replace the whisky and then smell it deeply more than once to capture the flavor. For The Dalmore 12, adding water to bring the alcohol level down is advisable but, as Paterson demonstrated, there is a science to this. It requires covering the whiskey with a cloth napkin or handkerchief and pouring the water over it. No water is needed for The Dalmore 15.
There are, of course, more expensive and refined brands from The Dalmore like The Dalmore Mackenzie. In 2005, a bottle of The Dalmore 62 from 1943 actually sold for $58,000. Amazingly, the buyer opted to open it and drank it with five friends. After all, the real purpose of The Dalmore is to be enjoyed, not to be placed on a shelf.
To find out more about The Dalmore, please visit www.thedalmore.com.