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mininmum ageing for Irish whisky?

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mininmum ageing for Irish whisky?

Postby jmrl » Fri May 30, 2008 8:53 pm

Is there a minimum ageing for Irish whisky?

I'm reading Neil Gunn who states 5 years, along with Australian rules. This was in 1935.

Is this the case now?

your wisdom please.
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Re: mininmum ageing for Irish whisky?

Postby anationonfire » Fri May 30, 2008 9:02 pm

No younger then 3 years.
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Re: mininmum ageing for Irish whisky?

Postby irishwhiskeychaser » Sat May 31, 2008 9:22 pm

Up to 1926 there was an Immature spirits act stated that spirits (Whiskey) had to be "at least five years"

However the 1926 Immature spirits act revised this down to "at least three years" but the 5years was held as a norm past this date by proud Distillers such as Jameson, Powers, Roe etc

Then in 1950 there was the Irish Whiskey Act which legally defined what could be call Irish Whiskey & also Pure Pot Still.

This act has been subsequentially replaced by te 1980 Irish Whiskey Act.

Here is the Act in full and it references the minimum age also

Irish whiskey.

1.-(1) For the purposes of any statute or instrument made under statute spirits described as Irish whiskey shall not be regarded as corresponding to that description unless the requirements regarding spirits contained in subsection (3) of this section are complied with as regards the spirits.

(2) For any of the purposes mentioned in subsection (1) of this section spirits described as blended Irish whiskey shall not he regarded as corresponding to that description unless-

( a ) the spirits comprise a blend of two or more distillates, and

( b ) the requirements regarding spirits contained in subsection (3) of this section are complied with as regards each of the distillates.

(3) The following are the requirements referred to in subsections (1) and (2) of this section regarding spirits;

( a ) the spirits shall have been distilled in the State or in Northern Ireland from a mash of cereals which has been-

(i) saccharified by the diastase of malt contained therein, with or without other natural diastases,

(ii) fermented by the action of yeast, and

(iii) distilled at an alcoholic strength of less than 94.8% by volume in such a way that the distillate has an aroma and flavour derived from the materials used,

and

( b ) the spirits shall have been matured in wooden casks-

(i) in warehouse in the State for a period of not less than three years, or

(ii) in warehouse in Northern Ireland for such a period, or

(iii) in warehouse in the State and in Northern Ireland for periods the aggregate of which is not less than three years.


(4) For the purposes of subsection (3) of this section the alcoholic strength at which spirits are distilled shall be ascertained in the same manner as that in which such ascertainment is for the time being arrived at for the purposes of customs and excise.
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Re: mininmum ageing for Irish whisky?

Postby jmrl » Sat May 31, 2008 9:38 pm

Thanks folks.

Irishwhiskychaser - now thats what I call an answer
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Re: mininmum ageing for Irish whisky?

Postby Deactivated Member » Sat May 31, 2008 9:47 pm

Interesting stuff - but presumably this legislation relates only to Irish whisky sold in the State of Ireland. Is there legislation to govern the minimum age of Irish whisky sold in Northern Ireland?
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Re: mininmum ageing for Irish whisky?

Postby DavidH » Sun Jun 01, 2008 2:10 am

irishwhiskeychaser wrote:Up to 1926 there was an Immature spirits act stated that spirits (Whiskey) had to be "at least five years"

However the 1926 Immature spirits act revised this down to "at least three years"

I think this is backwards. The maturation requirement was increased to 5 years in 1926 by the new state at the behest of the distillers. It was dumb protectionism intended to keep cheap Scotch blends with 3 year old grain whiskey in them out of Ireland.

They shot themselves in the foot, however, because American law allowed (after prohibition) spirit to be sold as whiskey as long as it could be sold under that description in its country of origin. That meant the Scots could supply 3yo whiskey whereas the Irish distillers had to compete with more expensive 5yo.

The maturation requirement wasn't changed back to 3 years until 1969.
Last edited by DavidH on Sun Jun 01, 2008 2:14 am, edited 1 time in total.
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Re: mininmum ageing for Irish whisky?

Postby DavidH » Sun Jun 01, 2008 2:12 am

Nick Brown wrote:Interesting stuff - but presumably this legislation relates only to Irish whisky sold in the State of Ireland. Is there legislation to govern the minimum age of Irish whisky sold in Northern Ireland?

UK and Irish legislation is aligned with respect to the definition of Irish whiskey.
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Re: mininmum ageing for Irish whisky?

Postby irishwhiskeychaser » Sun Jun 01, 2008 12:54 pm

DavidH wrote:I think this is backwards. The maturation requirement was increased to 5 years in 1926 by the new state at the behest of the distillers. It was dumb protectionism intended to keep cheap Scotch blends with 3 year old grain whiskey in them out of Ireland.

They shot themselves in the foot, however, because American law allowed (after prohibition) spirit to be sold as whiskey as long as it could be sold under that description in its country of origin. That meant the Scots could supply 3yo whiskey whereas the Irish distillers had to compete with more expensive 5yo.

The maturation requirement wasn't changed back to 3 years until 1969.



Thanks for that David .... I knew that the Irish Distillers had a hand in the 5years thing but as you said I got it a bit back wards so. :oops:
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