By Adrian Thomas

Scotch whiskey distiller Jim McEwan has announced that he will retire after 52 years in the business. Regarded as one of the great distillers of his generation, the master distiller and production director at the Bruichladdich Distillery on the Isle of Islay will officially leave in July this year.

Jim McEwan said: “This has been an incredible journey.  As I take a small step across the road to spend more time with my wife and family, I leave behind a truly great team of 80 men and women who will carry this distillery and its spirit forward.”

After joining Bruichladdich in 2000, Jim was known for his innovation and ground-breaking single malt whiskies.  Jim’s creation, Octomore, was the world’s most heavily peated whisky series and his innovation behind The Botanist Islay of Dry Gin has said to have put him in a league of his own.

Jim McEwan was a pioneer of a “distillation programme of unparalleled complexity through which the progressive Hebridean distillery explored barley variety, provenance, traceability and the concept of terroir.”

CEO Simon Coughlin said: “Working with Jim for these past 15 years has been both exciting and stimulating, Jim’s achievements and accolades are innumerable. His deep understanding of the liquid and his ability to communicate the passion he feels for the spirit, for Islay and its people has been an inspiration to us all.”

Even though his retirement is near, his home is nearer, with Jim and his wife building their house next door to the distillery he will only be a stone’s throw away from his legacy.  CEO Simon Coughlin added: “We are able to look forward to his continuing involvement on a less formal basis.”

Although the company has not yet given details on who will replace McEwan, he did add: "I would also like to particularly thank Allan Logan, by whose steady hand this magnificent ship will ride the waves into the future; and Adam Hannett, whose extraordinary nose and palate will carry the great traditions of our spirit forward into the next generation." 

Logan is the current distillery manager and Hannett the distillery assistant manager.

McEwan leaves behind over 20 different whisky blends maturing in the warehouses on the shores of Loch Indaal. 

The Shout Team

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