Section 1: The World's Leading Drink
Scotch Whisky is a distillate
made in Scotland from the elements of cereals. water and
yeast, all of which nature will in due course replace.
Yes. It outsells every other noble spirit in world markets.
They usually mean a blended Scotch Whisky,
that is a blend of as many as 50 individual Scotch Malt and
Scotch Grain Whiskies. The wide range of single whiskies
available in Scotland ensures the continued high quality and
consistency of brands of blended Scotch Whisky and year in
year out, enables blenders to ensure that all their brands
maintain their individual characteristics. Blended whiskies
account for more than 95 per cent of all Scotch Whisky sold in
It is the product of a single
distillery. Most distilleries produce Scotch Whisky primarily
for the purpose of blending, but many retain some of their
production for sale as single whiskies. A single Malt Whisky
is the product of one Malt Whisky distillery and a single
Grain Whisky is the product of one Grain Whisky distillery.
Scotch Whisky has been defined in United Kingdom (UK)
law since 1909 and recognised in European Community
legislation since 1989. The current UK legislation
relating specifically to Scotch Whisky is The Scotch
Whisky Act 1988 and the Orders made under it. which
came into effect in June 1990 and superseded that part of
the Finance Act 1969. as subsequently amended, defining
For the purposes of The Scotch Whisky Act 1988
"Scotch Whisky'' means whisky
The Scotch Whisky Act 1988 and European Community
(EC) legislation both specify a minimum alcoholic
strength of 40 per cent by volume, which applies to all
Scotch Whisky bottled and/or put up for sale within or
exported from the Community.
- which has been
produced at a distillery in Scotland from water and malted
barley (to which only whole grains of other cereals may
be added) all of which have been
- processed at that distillery into a mash;
- converted to a fermentable
substrate only by endogenous enzyme systems; and
- fermented only by the addition of yeast;
- which has
been distilled at an alcoholic strength by volume of less
than 94.8 per cent so that the distillate has an aroma and
taste derived from the raw materials used in, and the
method of, its production;
- which has been matured in
an excise warehouse in Scotland in oak casks of a capacity
not exceeding 700 litres, the period of that maturation
being not less than 3 years;
- which retains the colour.
aroma and taste derived from the raw materials used in,
and the method of, its production and maturation; and
- to which no substance other than water and spirit caramel
has been added. The Scotch Whisky Act 1988 prohibits
inter alia the production in Scotland of whisky other than
However, transitional arrangements allow whiskies which do
not comply with the EC Spirit Drinks Regulation, including those
at an alcoholic strength lower than 40 per cent by volume, to
be bottled unti! 14th December 1990 provided that their
preparation had begun before 15th June 1990. These whiskies
may continue to be sold by wholesale or retail until 14th
December 1991 and thereafter by retailers until such time as
the stock they held on 14th December 1991 is exhausted .
A Blended Scotch Whisky is a blend of a number of
distillates each of which separately is entitled to the
description "Scotch Whisky".
The period for which any blended Scotch Whisky is
regarded as having been matured is that of the most
recently distilled of the spirits contained in the blend.
Most well-known dictionaries give both spellings. The Oxford
English Dictionary points out that 'in modern trade usage,
Scotch Whisky and Irish Whiskey are thus distinguished in
spelling'. American-made whiskey is usually spelt with an 'e'.
Scotch Whisky means whisky
distilled and matured in Scotland and Irish Whiskey means
whiskey distilled and matured in Ireland. Whisky is distilled in
Scotland from malted barley in Pot Stills and from malted and
unmalted barley or other cereals in Patent Stills. The well-
known brands of Scotch Whisky are blends of a number of Pot
Still and Patent Still whiskies. Irish Whiskey distillers tend to
favour three distillations rather than two as is general in
Scotland in the case of Pot Still whiskies and the range of
cereals used is wider.
As regards Bourbon Whiskey, the United States
Rye Whiskey is produced both in the United States and
Canada but the name has no geographical significance. In the
United States. Rye Whiskey by definition must be produced
from a grain mash of which not less than 51% is rye grain. In
Canada, there is no similar restriction. The relevant Canadian
'Canadian Whisky (Canadian Rye Whisky, Rye
Whisky) shall be whisky distilled in Canada, and
shall possess the aroma, taste and character
generally attributed to Canadian Whisky.' Canadian Whisky
is in fact often referred to simply as Rye Whisky or Rye.
The term spirits describes the product of distillation,
whatever the raw materials, or whether it be in a pure state
or contaminated by impurities normally present in any
distillate. Generally. the word refers to any volatile
inflammable liquid obtained by distillation.
- that Bourbon Whiskey must be produced from a
mash of not less than 51% corn grain.
- that the word 'Bourbon' shall not be used to describe
any whiskey or whiskey-based distilled spirits not
produced in the United States . '
Spirits for human consumption. or potable spirits, are the
distillates of alcoholic liquids, the alcohol in which has been
formed by the fermentation of sugar as contained in
grapejuice, sugar-cane. etc., or in saccharified materials
such as specially prepared cereals, e.g. malted barley.
© SWA 1995