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Issue 58 - Looking to the future

Whisky Magazine Issue 58
August 2006


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Looking to the future

In this issue we look at how other spirits have far more flexibility to experiment and are therefore able to reinvent themselves to appeal to new drinkers,and ask is this damaging the future of whisky?

Alex Turner, Woodford Reserve (AT)
John Glaser, Compass Box (JG)
Richard Paterson, Whyte and Mackay (RP)

Q:Scotch whisky is bound by some pretty tough rules when it comes to production. Are these in essence right, or should there be scope for more flexibility?

AT: As with all things consumers look for reassurance in what they buy, hence why people pay for wines and Cognacs over less known but equally good products as they are not certain of the integrity of the production. There is very little flexibility in Cognac production as this ensures a consistent product time after time, this is very important in luxury markets where a lot of Scotch whisky is aimed at. Protection of the ‘Scottishness' of the whisky is very important to consumers, rules are there to protect the quality of the spirit and therefore protecting the taste which is essentially what people are buying it for.

JG: The basic elements of the law are right, I believe, and in my company's view do provide flexibility. I'm referring to the Scotch Whisky Act of 1988, The Scotch Whisky Order of 1990 and the EU Spirits Regulations, all of which can be found and read by anyone on the internet who will see that these are pretty basic pieces of legislation which provide flexibility.

The tough rules I think you're referring to are the regulations of the Scotch Whisky Association based on its and its lawyer's interpretations of the laws. Some of the SWA regulations I think are good and right, and protect Sco...

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