Whisky Distilled in Scotland that is Not Scotch
July 29, 2016
For whisky to be labelled scotch whisky, it must meet requirements of production and aging. A decade ago that whisky could be aged outside of Scotland (as long as it was produced/distilled within Scotland) and still be labelled scotch whisky.
However they tightened up the laws so now "Scotch Whiskies must by law be wholly matured in Scotland."
So should you distill a whisky in scotland and let it age for the minimum of three years it can be called "scotch whisky," but should you then export it and additionally age or finish it in barrels it is no longer scotch whisky but merely whisky.
Here are two new products for which that's the case:
Scotch Aged in Spain
Nomad Outland Whisky (SRP $44.99) is a premium blended whiskey produced from a unique selection of over 30 different 5-8 year old malt and grain whiskies. After an initial 3-year aging period in Scotland, NOMAD is then transferred to age in cellars of Jerez, Spain for at least 12 more months before bottling. The micro-climate of Andalucía, the natural yeasts in the cellar atmosphere and the old Pedro Ximenez casks gives Nomad its unique character.
Finishing scotch whisky in Pedro Ximenez (PX) casks is nothing new, but usually this happens in Scotland after sherry barrels are shipped there. My guess is that there is some economic/tax incentive to export and bottle in Spain rather than Scotland.
The whisky as far as I can tell is owned by the sherry company Gonzalez Byass though it is blended by Richard Paterson of The Dalmore. The whisky first launched in Taiwan but is now making its way to the US.
Scotch Aged in America (For a Few Days)
At Tales of the Cocktail, I had a little sip of a whisky distilled in Scotland ("an imported 45-55 ppm peated malt sourced from an island sacred to us all, which we are not at liberty to disclose.") A pretty sure guess of that island would be Islay.
This whisky comes from Lost Spirits, the advanced-aging technology company (I wrote about their rum here). That is fast-aging several different spirits including rum, rye, and now scotch.
The whisky then gets sent into their "reactor" with late harvest Riesling-seasoned American oak for flash-aging. It takes around 6 days or so (if I recall correctly) to put a batch through the process.
So it's a smoky whisky distilled in Scotland and "aged" in Charleston.
In conclusion: Just because a whisky is distilled in Scotland doesn't make it a scotch whisky.
Wow! Any thoughts on the Lost Spirits whisky? A little sip means just the briefest of impressions, I get it... but I'm super curious.
Posted by: Michael G | August 01, 2016 at 10:18 PM
I've had a few other Lost Spirits products and their interpretation of barrel aging can be a bit overwhelming, but for this one because of the heavy smoke it seemed to balance out their process better. That's my 'one sip after a million other drinks' review.
Posted by: Camper English | August 02, 2016 at 11:40 AM