Not a member? - Register and login now.
All registered users can read our entire magazine archive.

Whisky Age control ?

All your whisky related questions answered here.

Whisky Age control ?

Postby Mattiasss » Tue Mar 18, 2003 7:03 pm

I've been wondering about the age of whisky, who controls that the whisky sold as e.g. 27 y old Bowmore really is that, and not 13 y old Laphroaig ?
Mattiasss
New member
 
Posts: 9
Joined: Tue Feb 11, 2003 2:01 am

Postby Gate » Wed Mar 19, 2003 4:59 pm

Surely it's those deeply scary people the Trading Standards Officers (who might find the mammoth Macallan thread in Collector's Corner interesting from various angles).
Gate
Silver Member
 
Posts: 305
Joined: Wed May 01, 2002 1:01 am
Location: UK

Postby Iain » Wed Mar 19, 2003 5:33 pm

Indeed, Gate.

I contacted the Scotch whisky Association and was advised that should there be a suspicion that a person or company was offering for sale a bottle of whisky that may not be what it is claimed to be on the label, then

"as with any other product offers, it would presumably be for Trading
Standards Officers to deal with enforcement issues."
Iain
Double Gold Member
 
Posts: 1254
Joined: Fri Mar 16, 2001 2:01 am
Location: Glasgow, Scotland

Postby Deactivated Member » Wed Mar 19, 2003 6:11 pm

Hi Mattiasss,

The distillery or company is responsible for making an age statement. If they make an error on that one, then they will have a very big problem. Because there's allways somebody who will double check them(in this case the people mentioned by Gate the Trading Standard Officers). The distillery or bottler or company have to show the necessary paper work, wich includes distilling date, maturation period, cask numbers etc. It's those papers who will prove its provenance, and a possible forgery? Well anything is possible, but you have to be damn good one to misled the Trading Standard Officers, and believe it or not they allways get the forger....

The age you'll find is allways the minimum age, because in order to get consistency there might be some older stuff in it, wich is not a bad thing(just sell me a 12Y old Bowmore, and put a lot of 21Y old in it, that would be very very nice, but only in my dreams I guess).

Hope this answers your questions...

Slainte,

Erik
Deactivated Member
 

Postby Iain » Wed Mar 19, 2003 8:02 pm

Erik wrote

"and believe it or not they allways get the forger"

Could you tell us of at least one occasion on which Trading Standards officers have managed to bring a whisky forger to justice? Who is doing the whisky forging?
Iain
Double Gold Member
 
Posts: 1254
Joined: Fri Mar 16, 2001 2:01 am
Location: Glasgow, Scotland

Postby Deactivated Member » Wed Mar 19, 2003 8:46 pm

Hi Iain,

I can't come up with any, but what I really ment was that: even if you're a clever forger, some one will catch you in the end, because sooner or later you'll make a mistake. We have a saying here: Even if the lie is to fast, the truth will get the lie anyway. Maybe I brought you on the wrong track, I should have brought it in a another way of speaking.

I hope, that I cleared it up for you Iain.

Erik

[This message has been edited by Huurman (edited 19 March 2003).]
Deactivated Member
 

Postby Iain » Thu Mar 20, 2003 10:40 am

So what you meant to write was - a forger will always be caught. But you have no evidence that "they allways get the forger", nor indeed that a forger has ever been caught by anyone.

Just a touching faith in an unnamed "someone" and his or her blind devotion to tracking down counterfeits and forgeries. Hmmm...

I believe Trading Standards do not investigate cases unless invited to do so by someone with a complaint, and so they do not actually have any control over bottling.

So the answer to Mattiasss' question (who guarantees that the whisky in the bottle is what it says on the label) is still awaiting a proper answer.

I suspect that the consumer has to place his or her trust in the integrity of the bottler. Can anyone offer more info?

If Customs and Excise are responsible, how would they be able to monitor bottling to ensure only certain casks are used for the appropriate bottlings?
Iain
Double Gold Member
 
Posts: 1254
Joined: Fri Mar 16, 2001 2:01 am
Location: Glasgow, Scotland

Postby Aidan » Thu Mar 20, 2003 11:02 am

Customs and Excise monitor and note everything, so should notice anything that doesn't add up.
Aidan
Cask Strength Gold Member
 
Posts: 3252
Joined: Sun Nov 10, 2002 2:01 am
Location: Dublin

Postby Iain » Thu Mar 20, 2003 11:33 am

Thanks. Can you tell us - Do they have a responsibility to ensure that only certain casks are used for certain bottlings? Or is their responsibilty solely to ensure that duty has been paid on all whisky clearing bond, and therefore they have no interest in the particular bottles it leaves in? It's not something I've ever seen discussed in a whisky book or article.
Iain
Double Gold Member
 
Posts: 1254
Joined: Fri Mar 16, 2001 2:01 am
Location: Glasgow, Scotland

Postby Deactivated Member » Thu Mar 20, 2003 8:03 pm

Neither did I Iain, seen such a discussion or question. This is how I see it: The distillery brings the casks to the bottle plant, and they will be bottled under bond, so therefor the distillery needs to give or show the necessary paper work to the bottle plant, for age statements etc, I my eyes they are fully responsible if something goes absolutely wrong, I think there's another person involved, who has the full responsebility to check the distilleries records etc. HMS Customs and Excise are nothing more to me the persons who will see to it that duty is payed when the bottles leave the bonded wharehouse, and see that there's no smugling or forgering involved...
But leaves the question: who is the person(company) who will check its age etc?
Leaves me the question: How the Trading Standard Officers are fitting in here in this matter?
Something to find out, or have I allready put the answer here? I will dig in to this after the weekend, see my data base or check with the company who is doing what. I will grab in to it like a Pitbull, or a Dobermann, I don't know wich one is nicer?

Denmark, Copenhagen, The Whisky Messen this weekend will be first for me Image
Deactivated Member
 

Postby Iain » Thu Apr 24, 2003 2:18 pm

Hi Erik. Re your last post here, did the pitbull get a bite?

Who checks to ensure that the age of the whiskies in the bottle matches the age given on the label?
Iain
Double Gold Member
 
Posts: 1254
Joined: Fri Mar 16, 2001 2:01 am
Location: Glasgow, Scotland

Postby Iain » Fri Apr 25, 2003 10:29 am

I replied yesterday but the posting hasn't been posted so I'll try again...

Erik - did the pitbull get a bite?

Who checks to ensure that the age of the whisky in the bottle matches the age stated on the label?
Iain
Double Gold Member
 
Posts: 1254
Joined: Fri Mar 16, 2001 2:01 am
Location: Glasgow, Scotland

Postby Deactivated Member » Fri Apr 25, 2003 3:12 pm

Sorry that I haven't replied I'm working on it. I have a feeling that it's a whole controling network. That's why producers says that each batch is checked thousends and thousends time. But the pitbull is sniffing around, because I find this matter very interesting too. As soon as I have something you'll be the first to know..

Erik Image
Deactivated Member
 

Postby Iain » Wed May 07, 2003 8:46 am

Nothing from Huurman so...

Is it the case that no third party has a legal responsibility for guaranteeing that the minimum age of the whisky in the bottle is as stated on the label, and that we have to take the bottlers on trust in this matter?

If not, who undertakes the responsibilty for ensuring that the age info is accurate? Practically, only Customs & Excise officers would have the opportunity to fulfil such a role, but they do not accept responsibility for supervising bottling operations?

I have never seen a C&E age guarantee on a label. C&E's responsibilities are presumably confined to ensuring that duty is paid to UK government on all whisky leaving a bonded warehouse.

Anyone in the know, please correct any misleading assumptions written above!

(and I'll write to ask the helpful folks at SWA)
Iain
Double Gold Member
 
Posts: 1254
Joined: Fri Mar 16, 2001 2:01 am
Location: Glasgow, Scotland

Postby Iain » Fri May 09, 2003 3:41 pm

The helpful folks at SWA offer the considered and (it seems to me) quite logical view that (snip)

"the bottler is responsible for ensuring that the goods he is producing
comply with the law." [ie the relevant UK and EU laws, I assume]

The legal responsibility for ensuring that the age of the whisky in the bottle is accurately indicated on the label or in any pr, marketing etc material therefore lies with the whisky bottler, not with Customs and Excise or any other party. There is no legal requirement for third party verification, and presumably it doesn't happen (or it would surely be alluded to on labels or in pr/marketing/advertising material for a particular bottling of Scotch).

To sum it up - you have to accept the word of the bottler that the whisky is what is claimed, just as you have to accept the word of any other manufacturer that a product is or does what is claimed for it.

If you have proof that a product does not conform to the claims of the manufacturer then presumably the manufacturer can be prosecuted (by Trading Standards in UK? I'm not sure). Although I'm not sure how an ordinary whisky consumer could prove the age of a particular whisky or whiskies once the product has been bottled, and I have never heard of such a case.

Erik - what have you been able to sniff out, in your pitbullish fashion?
Iain
Double Gold Member
 
Posts: 1254
Joined: Fri Mar 16, 2001 2:01 am
Location: Glasgow, Scotland

Postby Deactivated Member » Sun May 11, 2003 8:13 am

Hi Iain,

I'm sorry that I was a away from this topic for a while, You have done a good job, sounds logical to me too. I didn't make any time availlable so far, because I was quite busy lately. I found some other info too, but that doesn't contribute to this topic, because it's practically the same what you came up with.

Regards,

Erik
Deactivated Member
 

Return to Questions & Answers

Whisky gift and present finder