By Christine Logan
World famous whisky entrepreneur Harry Verhaar has died while holidaying on his beloved island of Islay.
His renowned business, called the Verhaar Whisky Shop, originated from a pig sty in Bilthoven, The Netherlands, where he lived.
With Harry’s unquestionable enthusiasm, flair, undoubted business acumen and the unfailing support of his family, his shop flourished from these humble beginnings to become one of the biggest in Europe if not the world.
His enormous collection, its presentation, his attention to detail, and meticulous displays throughout his shop demonstrated a true labour of love.
Harry’s knowledge of the whisky trade was immeasurable and he took great pride and pleasure in bestowing that knowledge on a daily basis, and to appreciative audiences at whisky tasting events and other prestigious occasions.
Unbeknown to me it was Harry’s concern for my well being that brought him to Islay.
The time we shared together in the beautiful sunny weather, walking on the beaches, will remain with me forever.
After accompanying him home to Holland, I attended his funeral, a very auspicious occasion which perfectly reflected his rich and colourful life. The cortege was led by the pipe band, and Harry was flanked by fellow members of The Keepers of the Quaich.
More than 600 mourners filled the cathedral to pay tribute to a legend of a man.
He is succeeded by his beloved wife Willy, daughter Monique and sons Marino and Marcel as well as two grand-daughters.