THE man behind the last 14 years of success of an Arran based whisky producer has decided to retire.

James MacTaggart, Production Director for Lochranza’s Arran Whisky, joined the company in 2007 and has guided the company through its release of its 14, 18, 21 and 25 year old productions.

He also worked closely with Lagg Distillery Manager Graham Omand in the establishment of the company’s second distillery at the south end of the Isle of Arran.

In 1998, James accepted The Queen’s Award for Industry from HM Queen Elizabeth at Buckingham Palace on behalf of whisky distillery Bowmore.

He is also responsible for the design and commission of the island’s Lagg distillery.

An Arran Whisky statement said: “James is someone who has had a hand in literally every facet of whisky production for the best part of 45 years (rather than someone who has specialised in a single department) and as such has an exceptionally broad understanding of the product which has developed to the point of second nature/instinct.

“He is not someone who has ever pushed his way towards the limelight and would far rather make an impact by influencing from the inside out - positively supporting and inspiring the people around him.

“He is of the most traditional school possible, however he is more than willing to accept change and modernise

methods and thinking, as long as it is not at the cost of the quality of the spirit or end product.

“His personality is genuine, disarming, confident, quiet and cheeky in equal measure.

“We have been very lucky to have him around as a role model for the younger members of staff.

“The fact that his initials remain on his old locker in the still house at Bowmore, despite the fact that he has not worked there in 14 years, tells you all you need to know about his reputation there.

“He thoroughly deserves recognition for his impact on the industry.”

Arran Whisky distillery has been on the north end of the island since 1995, and its visitor centre was officially opened by the Queen in 1997, when two casks were presented to her for Princes William and Harry.

In 1998, after three years of maturation the first cask of Arran Single Malt Scotch Whisky was opened by Hollywood star Ewan Mcregor - the first legal dram on the island for over 160 years.

According to a 2019 study, whisky contribution to the UK economy grew by 10 per cent since 2016 to £5.5 billion, and generates two-thirds of all spirits economic distribution in the UK. For more information on Arran Whisky, visit