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Scottish Man Has Nose for Spirits

November 15, 1990

BEVERLY HILLS, Calif. (AP) _ Evan Cattanach’s job with a whisky maker in the Scottish Highlands is nothing to sniff at.

A $1 million insurance policy his employer took out on him during a U.S. visit is proof of his value as a ″noser″ - the man who ensures quality control by sniffing batches of the liquor.

Cardhu is a small distillery, but the 166-year-old company produces more than 1 million bottles of its single-malt alcohol a year.

Laboratory testing can determine a liquor’s content, but it is Cattanach’s nose that determines whether each twice-monthly batch of Cardhu will be saved for 12-year aging.

″You can do tests. But the brain tells you it’s Cardhu,″ said Cattanach, 55. ″I put a few drops on my hands. The alcohol evaporates when I rub my hands together. It leaves behind the subtle character flavor - the maltiness and earthiness.″

Worldwide, about 150 people have jobs like Cattanach’s.

Cardhu took out the Lloyd’s of London policy on Cattanach’s nose for his two-week American trip, scheduled to end next week with a tour of a Kentucky distillery.

During a visit to Los Angeles, Cattanach found Cardhu’s $25-a-bottle whisky served at a barbecue rib eatery. But to his dismay, he said diners were ″sloshing ice in everything.″

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