Blog: Olly WehringBruichladdich master distiller Jim McEwan - one of the Scotch greats

Olly Wehring | 30 April 2015

To London yesterday evening for what turned out to be quite a treat of a whisky tasting. I've been to more tastings than you've had hot dinners (if you've had less than about 50 hot dinners) and, while I can't think of one that I haven't enjoyed, last night's may have topped them all.

After 52 years in the Scotch whisky industry, Jim McEwan, master distiller at Bruichladdich on Islay, is retiring next month. McEwan was our host yesterday at an event to launch the distillery's new Octomore 7.1.

I'd not met Jim before yesterday's tasting and I immediately regretted that. A typically bluff Scot, with a way with words and an anecdote for every day of his 52 years in the industry, he was a captivating host. My favourite story of his?

Sales of Heinz Salad Cream on Islay used to be sky-high, right up until the fiscal authorities clamped down on distilling. The reason for this?

The bottles were the perfect fit through the bung-hole of a barrel.

Enjoy your retirement, Jim.

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