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In Conversation with Stephen Martin of Whyte & Mackay

Is The Dalmore the most luxurious whisky ever? This week MenswearStyle's Peter Brooker speaks to Stephen Martin, the Global Malt Whisky Specialist for Whyte and Mackay. He gives the lowdown on how The Dalmore whisky has become synonymous with luxury, how its incepted the lifestyle industry and the magic behind trailblazing Master Distiller Richard Paterson.

What’s your history in Whisky and what is it that you do now? 

“I’m the Global Malt Whisky Specialist for Whyte and Mackay, the whisky manufacturer based in Scotland. We produce blended malt and single malt whisky, and we own four single malt whisky distilleries.”

The Dalmore Distillery
The Dalmore Distillery

What is your day to day routine? 

“I spend a lot of time in foreign markets talking about whisky and our single malt portfolio to on-trade and off-trade. I also do bits with consumers and it is always a pleasure and privilege to be out talking to the people that buy the products. It’s good fun, but it's long and stressful; it isn’t a 9-5 job, its more of a lifestyle which is only great if you like whisky. I’ve read articles over the years where professional football players have admitted that they don’t like football, but they’re just really good at it. I don’t think the same can apply to this industry. We’re selling something that people are emotionally invested in, brands that people love and mean so much to our customers. So, you have to buy into what you’re talking about. You have to be connected to the romanticism of scotch whisky, and that is something that is close to my heart.”

How is the travel part of your job? 

“The travel part is amazing because you get to experience a passion for scotch whisky in different countries and cultures. Being from Scotland, it is incredible to see my national spirit adored by the four corners of the world. You will visit countries you’ve never heard of and they love it and are passionate about the produce of the land that you’re from. However, it is also tiring. You have to be able to manage yourself and look after yourself. You can’t do it forever because it has a shelf life, but it is an amazing thing to do.”

Richard Paterson
Richard Paterson

How does the Dalmore whisky distinguish itself from other whisky brands? 

“The Dalmore was one of the brands that really drew me to work for Whyte & Mackay. When you look at The Dalmore it is so far removed from clans, kilts and the stereotypical Shortbread tin Scottish stereotypes. It’s very much about elegance, luxury and hospitality. It’s a remarkable luxury whisky brand and one of the few single malt whisky brands that really do luxury well. We’re not great at that in Scotland and this is the first brand that have epitomised luxury scotch whisky. When you look at whisky regionally, The Dalmore is interesting because it is a North Highland whisky. Generally, this region will produce a light spirit, but The Dalmore is the opposite due to the unique still composition. The focus we place on maturation and the wood is different and sets us apart.”

Have you noticed that whisky has become part of a person’s lifestyle? 

“Yeah that makes sense. It has become part of lifestyle because that is linked to occasion, and whisky fits into that in so many different ways. It also fits into so many different industries, whether that’s design, fashion, food & drink or art etc. It could be linked to the way the world has changed too. Whisky was traditionally very old fashioned with a stigma attached, where it was to be enjoyed one way, by a man of a certain age and class. This has now changed, and we now have a millennial digital tech savvy audience who’re more invested in lifestyle than the older generation.”

Richard Paterson is quite the experimenter and innovator, would you agree? 

“That’s a very fair description and working with Richard was one of the things that drew me to this company. In whisky compared to other spirit categories, we have celebrities where to the outside world they would have no idea, but to those working within it, people like Richard Patterson warrant celeb status. He’s a truly remarkable man and has more experience than anybody I’ve ever come across within the industry. He’s probably forgotten more about whisky than I will ever learn.”

The Dalmore King Alexander
The Dalmore King Alexander

This is a shortened edit of episode 38 of the MenswearStyle Podcast with Stephen Martin of whyteandmackay.com discussing thedalmore.com in particular. You can listen to the full version below or subscribe in iTunes directly.

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