The whisky industry has reacted with shock and sadness at the death of whisky expert Dr Jim Swan, a Scotsman who helped to establish new and innovative distilleries across the word.
A chemist by training, Dr Swan put his energies in to a myriad of different roles within the field of whisky and through research and development, scientific analysis and innovation he helped contribute to high quality whisky production in Scotland across the world.
He was regarded as an expert in blending and wood maturation, and he pioneer new distilling methods such as the stills at Penderyn in Wales and Kavalan in Taiwan. He helped distillers make the finest spirit in England and France, and he was a renowned troubleshooter to the industry, travelling the world to overcome production problems as they arose.
Within hours of his death, leading industry figures had posted messages on social media sites expressing their shock and sadness at his death.
Dr Swan was working on a number of projects at the time of his death, including bringing distilling back to Lindores Abbey, in Newburgh, Fife, Scotland.
In a statement the founders of Lindores Abbey Distillery, Drew and Helen McKenzie Smith said: “We are immensely saddened by the passing of our great friend and champion, Dr James Swan. Jim’s passion for the return of scotch whisky to Lindores Abbey was infectious, and his counsel to us as distillery founders inspirational. Our thoughts are with Jim’s family, friends, and the Scotch whisky community across the globe, as we mourn this immense loss.”
David Roussier, directeur général of French distillery Warenghem, producer of Armorik, said Dr Swan would be greatly missed.
“I was really sad to hear the news,” he said. Jim Swan was a great guy, always very nice to me and the distillery’s team, and always willing to share his tremendous knowledge about whisky. He was also very humble and shared a lot of stories about the whisky environment.
“On a personal note, I will deeply miss him. He is the guy who taught me so much about whisky. We always had nice conversation and he really helped us a lot to get Armorik straight. I am really sad he didn’t have a chance to try the whiskies based on the last improvements we did together.”