Whisky expert Dr Jim Swan dies

15th February, 2017 by Annie Hayes

Renowned whisky consultant Dr Jim Swan, who formed part of the team pioneering the construction of Lindores Abbey Distillery in Fife, has died.

Dr Jim Swan, renowned whisky expert, has died

In a statement the founders of Lindores Abbey Distillery – Drew and Helen McKenzie Smith – confirmed the passing of Dr Swan.

“We are immensely saddened by the passing of our great friend and champion, Dr James Swan,” it reads. “Jim’s passion for the return of Scotch whisky to Lindores Abbey was infectious, and his counsel to us as distillery founders inspirational.

“We worked together for 20 years, taking the vision for this special whisky landmark from a dream to a reality. We will forever be indebted to Jim’s contribution to the life of Lindores Abbey Distillery.

“Our thoughts are with Jim’s family, friends, and the Scotch whisky community across the globe, as we mourn this immense loss.”

At Lindores – deemed the “historic birthplace of Scotch” – Dr Swan guided barrel purchase programmes, made decisions on wood choice and detailed maturation strategies.

A biography on the distillery’s website described Dr Swan as “the ultimate whisky troubleshooter” who advised “countless” distilleries around the world.

During his career, which spanned more than 35 years, Dr Swan took on roles as “chemist, analyst, blender, maturation expert, researcher and developer, inventor, author of scientific papers, technical adviser and lecturer”.

He held a degree in Chemistry and a PhD in Chemistry and Biological Studies from Heriot-Watt University in Edinburgh, and spent 10 years as operations director of blending, bottling and maturation studies at Pentlands Scotch Whisky Research in Edinburgh.

In the 1990s he became owner and partner at beer, wines and spirits consultant RR Tatlock and Thomson.

Dr Swan was a Fellow of the Royal Society of Chemistry and was awarded Fellowship of the Institute of Brewing and Distilling.

3 Responses to “Whisky expert Dr Jim Swan dies”

  1. Dr David Clutton says:

    Deeply saddened to read this news about Jim.
    I knew him well when he worked at Pentlands and he was regarded as a fount of knowledge in the Scotch Whisky industry.
    A very personable man…….this is a huge loss.
    It was a privilege to have known him.

  2. Dr David Clutton says:

    Deeply saddened to read this news about Jim.
    I knew him well when he worked at Pentlands and he was regarded as a fount of knowledge in the Scotch Whisky industry.
    A very personable man…….this is a huge loss.

  3. Denis A. Nicol says:

    So sorry to hear of Jim’s passing. Now retired, I used to serve on Pentlands Scotch Whisky Distillation Committee where Jim was a member of staff – a great loss to the industry. D.A. Nicol

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