Legal Information

As members of the Scotch Whisky Association and part of the Scotch whisky industry we have a responsibility to protect the image and reputation of Scotch whisky. We take this responsibility very seriously and we hope our customers show the same commitment.

If you have any queries on whisky-related matters please do not hesitate to contact us for an informal discussion. However, please note that we would also strongly advise you to consult with your lawyers before making any final decisions.

Responsible drinking

 

We support Drinkaware, the campaign run by the Drinkaware Trust to promote responsible drinking. For more information on the campaign, visit the Drinkaware website.

Legal Definitions of Scotch Whisky

 

Scotch whisky has been defined in the United Kingdom (UK) since 1933 and recognised in European Community law since 1989. The current UK legislation relating specifically to Scotch whisky is 'The Scotch Whisky Regulations 2009'. The Regulations govern the production, labelling, and presentation of Scotch whisky. For the purposes of The Scotch Whisky Regulations 2009
"Scotch Whisky" means whisky:

  • that has been distilled 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 at that distillery into a fermentable substrate only by endogenous enzyme systems; and

    • fermented at that distillery only by the addition of yeast;

  • that 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;

  • that has been matured only in oak casks of a capacity not exceeding 700 litres;

  • that has been matured only in Scotland;

  • that has been matured for a period of not less than three years;

  • that has been matured only in an excise warehouse or permitted place;

  • that 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 Regulations 2009 prohibit the production in Scotland of whisky other than Scotch whisky.

The Scotch Whisky Regulations 2009 and The European Spirit Drinks Regulation 2008 both specify a minimum alcoholic bottling strength of 40 per cent by volume.

The different categories of Scotch whisky

The Scotch Whisky Regulations 2009 define five categories of Scotch whisky:

Single Malt Scotch Whisky

 

A Scotch Whisky distilled at a single distillery

  • from water and malted barley without the addition of any other cereals, and

  • by batch distillation in pot stills.

Blended Malt Scotch Whisky

 

A blend of Single Malt Scotch Whiskies which have been distilled at more than one distillery.

Single Grain Scotch Whisky

 

A Scotch whisky distilled at a single distillery

  • from water and malted barley with or without whole grains of other malted or unmalted cereals, and

  • which does not comply with the definition of Single Malt Scotch Whisky or Blended Scotch Whisky.

Blended Scotch Whisky

 

A blend of one or more Single Malt Scotch Whiskies with one or more Single Grain Scotch Whiskies.

Blended Grain Scotch Whisky

 

A blend of Single Grain Scotch Whiskies which have been distilled at more than one distillery.

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