Tributes have been made to the distillery’s head of communications following his sudden death.
Words. Never quite enough, are they? Language. It gets us so far and then it somehow… falters as you grasp for the right way to get some message across. You come across that phenomenon every day, when even the most articulate of people, the greatest orators, somehow fail to quite achieve what they intended. Language is slippery, allusive and elusive. Some feel it is what limits our world.
That’s how this piece was always going to start. I was unsure of what to write in the dog days of the post-festive period when plans are being formulated and news seems scant. What new thing can be said about whisky on a week like this? Probably plenty so, as I’d engaged in some lengthy tasting sessions, I was going to try to worry away (again) at the notion of how we taste, and how communication is about so much more than just what is said, or written.
Loving soul: Carl Reavey touched the lives of many, not just on Islay but in the wider whisky world (Photo: Carney James Turner)
By concentrating on sight, sound, smell, taste and touch, we miss out body and mind. The way we look at the whisky in the glass should be no different to the way we look at anything in the world. It only makes sense if you fully engage with it and then communicate your feelings in whatever way seems fit. It can go beyond language.
So those were the thoughts. Rambling perhaps, but again that’s what happens when you seem to have time on your hands. Then something happens to remind you that you don’t; that the elusive spirit in the glass, so transitory, is also a reflection of where we are: a metaphor for our condition.
There’s a bitter irony to that realisation, because the final whisky I tried in that last session was Bruichladdich. Then came the news that my friend Carl Reavey had died. ‘My’ friend, as if it was only me. Carl was everyone’s friend.
Hugely generous, enthusiastic, quizzical, the sort of person who seemed lit by some unreal energy, always eager to learn, and talk, and share. Someone who knew the meaning, the real meaning, of being human. Someone who could communicate not just in words, but in his actions, and with his whole, huge, loving soul.
He did it about Bruichladdich, of course, but he was equally at home with birds, and bikes, and music, and farming, sea rowing, food. No topic seemed to be out-of-bounds when you talked to him. His life was a lesson in true communication. It was there in his deeds, not just his words.
The glass of his life seemed always to be the fullest, there for us to share. Now it is drained, but it is not empty. The memories remain, they float in air, in our senses, our thoughts, our hearts and hopefully in our actions.
Farewell friend, and thank you. You have no idea how much you will be missed.
- Can whisky go bad in the bottle?
- Scotchwhisky.com to close
- New whisky reviews: Batch 223
- The Glenlivet capsules: why the hysteria?
- Legendary bottlings: Laphroaig 1967 Samaroli
- How will US tariffs affect Scotch whisky?
- Ardbeg Supernova returns with 2019 edition
- Whyte & Mackay to give away 50 Year Old
- Music inspires Macallan Concept No.2
- New whisky reviews: Batch 222
Latest news 14 November 2017
The three single malts are taken from the final parcels of whisky distilled in 1984-6.
The collectors 02 September 2019
The Wishaw restaurateur owns the ‘world’s only’ complete range of Bruichladdich Valinches.
From the editors 14 August 2019
A recent Instagram post has Dave Broom redefining the success of distillery innovations.
Latest news 06 August 2019
Bruichladdich’s Organic, Bere Barley and Islay Barley single malts welcome new expressions.