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Issue 36 - Mix it up and start again

Whisky Magazine Issue 36
December 2003

 

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Mix it up and start again

Why don't whiskies from different nations ever get belnded togeterh? Or do they? Gavin Smith found out

It was one of those questions that hardly seemed worth answering. “If they blend different Scotch whiskies together, why don't they ever put Irish or bourbon in as well?”

“Well, it wouldn't work, of course”, I replied. “I mean it just wouldn't be possible, it's probably not legal, and then there's…”

I trailed off. Why wouldn't it work, why wouldn't it be possible, would it be legal? Had it actually been tried, experimentally or commercially, and even if it had, why didn't we do it for ourselves and see what happened?

So what's the story? First stop, the Scotch Whisky Association – keepers of the flame of true, unadulterated Scotch spirit. The SWA's director of government & consumer affairs, Campbell Evans, was sceptical.

“Would it have any marketing kudos?” he queried. “It's a crowded market already, and how would you position it? Why wouldn't you rather have a glass of Irish then a glass of bourbon, or whatever?”

He pointed out that “legally there's no reason why you couldn't blend bourbon, for example, and Irish, and call the outcome ‘whiskey'. If both are made according to their country's legal definitions of what constitutes whisk(e)y then there wouldn't be a problem, provided, of course, you didn't try to mislead anyone as to the origins of the drink.

“Glenmorangie matured exclusively in bourbon casks is probably as close as you have got so far, though of course bulk Scotch sold to Japan gets mixed in with domestic whisky, and can ...

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