Tatlock and Thomson was founded in 1891 by R.R. Tatlock, who was the first city analyst for Glasgow. Joined by Thomson, his nephew, the company developed specialist expertise as food and drink analysists. At that time, food and drink adulteration had been prevalent. Public analysts, including T&T, were being appointed by the appropriate authorities to monitor food and drink standards. Subsequently, T&T were appointed public analysts in other regions of Scotland.
The image below shows a page from ‘The Analyst’ journal from 1874 in which Robert Tatlock published a paper on contamination of food by cooking vessels.
T&T’s original Bath Street laboratory became central to much of the development work at the beginning of this century. Sir William Ramsay, the famous chemist in Glasgow, carried out his pioneering work on the chemistry of radium in Tatlock’s laboratory, obtaining the radium from Marie Curie.

The Royal Commission on Scotch Whisky

In 1908 T&T gave evidence to the Royal Commission on Scotch Whisky. In 1909 the commission issued a report detailing restrictions that should apply as to how Scotch Whisky was made.

Robert Tatlock and Jim Swan
R.R. Tatlock

In 1993, the Tatlock & Thomson partnership was assumed by Dr. Harry Riffkin and Dr. Jim Swan. Both had been operations directors working in alcoholic drinks technology and they were able to bring new expertise into the company. Dr. Swan left Tatlock & Thomson in 2003 to pursue his own research. He travelled the world helping distillers and there was great sadness when he passed away in 2017.

chemistry of whisky

The 21st Century

T&T moved to a purpose built laboratory in Fife in 2013. Since the move, the new laboratory building has been added. The scope of UKAS accredited analyses has expanded to meet the demands of the international spirit markets.


The business is now family owned with directors Dr Jennifer Riffkin, David Riffkin and Mary Riffkin. Dr Harry Riffkin is the managing director.
The technical manager is Scott Murray with deputy Jack Smeaton. Quality manager is Jireh Gordon with deputy Katrina Brown.

Jack Smeaton

Jack Smeaton

Deputy Technical Manager

Jennifer Riffkin, Mary Riffkin

Dr Jennifer and Mrs Mary Riffkin


Scott Murray

Scott Murray

Technical Manager