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Evan Cattanach R.I.P.

A legend among malt men, the venerable Evan Cattanach has died.

When I met Evan Cattanach he taught me a gentle lesson in looking on the bright side.

By that time, he was spending whisky shows sitting in a comfortable chair as the industry paid their respects to the man who once mentored many of them, and shared stories from a career that saw him managing a long list of distilleries, including Balmenach, St. Magdalene – Linlithgow, Lagavulin, Dalwhinnie, Rosebank, Towiemore, Coleburn, Caol Ila, Cragganmore, and Cardhu from where he retired in the early 1990s, before becoming what is now called a brand ambassador for Diageo’s Classic Malts range.

I told him how I discovered single malt whisky at university, in a little basement bar just off campus in Athens, Ohio, which offered Glenlivet, Glenfiddich, and, of all things, Mortlach, which even he was surprised to hear. And I lamented how much I missed the old 12 yo Mortlach all these years, and how in mourning I was, now that Diageo had retired the five-star expression that was the 16 yo Mortlach Flora and Fauna edition.
A serene and thoughtful grin appeared across his face, as if he mused upon many an irreplaceable spirit. And then he said, “Well, at least you got to enjoy it.”
By all accounts it is Evan Cattanach who will remain an irreplaceable spirit for so very many.
Rest in peace, malt man.
Evan-Cattanach R.I.P.

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