The family of a much-loved Fife man are set to raise a glass in his honour this week as they toast his memory with a whisky that bears his name.
Family and friends will gather at Kirkcaldy crematorium for the funeral of former miner and Haig’s whisky delivery driver John Barr who died on December 2 after a short illness.
To mark his life, son John Barr Jnr will break the seal on a converted bottle of John Barr branded whisky that was presented to his father by the whisky manufacturer Whyte & Mackay.
The famous drinks giant gifted a bottle of the namesake whisky to Mr Barr Snr earlier this year after learning he had been trying to buy one without success for many years.
John Barr blended whisky is made by Whyte & Mackay for export only and is not available for purchase in the UK.
It was introduced by the company to plug a gap in the export market and today is available as a standard blend John Barr red label and a ‘finest’ clack label, which is a mix of 40 whiskies including Speyside and Highland malts up to 15 years old.
John Jnr said his dad, who lived in Kirkcaldy, had tried to source a bottle for years but found it is only sold overseas in countries like America and China.
“He loved a wee nip and had a close connection with whisky for many years as a HGV driver collecting and delivering barrels of the stuff all around Scotland for Haig’s when they were based in Markinch,” he said.
“He’s often joked about it and told people the John Barr brand had been named after him.
“He had been desperate to get hold of a bottle but to buy from the States worked out to be around $250.”
Because of the expensive import charges, son-in-law Kris Nikolic contacted the distiller to enquire about purchasing a bottle and was astounded when the company sent his father-in-law a complimentary bottle.
John Jnr said his dad was delighted and decided to save the whisky for a special occasion.
However, he died before he was able to taste it so now the family will raise a glass of John Barr to their own John Barr when they gather to say their final farewells on Wednesday.
“What better send off than to toast him with a dram of his very own brand,” said John Jnr.
“The whisky was made to be drunk and enjoyed, I’m sure my dad would approve.”