Evan Cattanach, Diageo’s long-serving Scotch whisky ambassador and Master Distiller Emeritus, was last night awarded the Lifetime Achievement Award at Whisky Magazine’s Icons of Whisky ceremony in London.
The award was presented by Dave Broom, whisky writer and contributing editor, and the Magazine’s editor, Rob Allanson.
Accepting the award, Evan said simply: “This has not been work, it’s been a pleasure.”
Born in Kingussie in the heart of the Highlands in 1931 1935, Evan began work on his father’s farm, then spent some time in the Royal Navy. He joined DCL as a management trainee in 1961.
During his long career, Evan had built his vast knowledge of malt distilling at the absolutely iconic distilleries like Talisker, Lagavulin and Cardhu, and equally famous ones. such as Caol Ila, Dalwhinnie and Cragganmore. But also worked at some forgotten ones; Rosebank, Towiemore, Coleburn and Linlithgow: fifteen distilleries in all.
Evan retired from Cardhu in 1993, and relocated to the United States to work first for Schieffelin and Somerset, and then Diageo there, relentlessly promoting both Johnnie Walker and the Classic Malts across the continent.
Congratulating Evan, Nick Morgan, Diageo’s Scotch Knowledge & Heritage Director, said: “I couldn’t count how many people Evan Cattanach has spoken to over the years, how many he has inspired with his passion for Scotch Whisky, or for that matter how many bottles were sold on the basis of his personal intervention. I do know that few could resist his charms when he spoke (and sometimes sang) about the subject most dear to his heart – many in his audiences left loving Scotch, and not a few left loving him. His contribution to the industry over the years has been simply immense, and few deserve such an honour as the Icons of Whisky Lifetime Achievement Award more than Evan”.
In the same week, Evan was also recognised for his lifetime achievement by the respected US whisky magazine, Malt Advocate.
Following his father’s footsteps, Evan’s son Gregor is also a global whisky ambassador for Diageo.