Talk:Scotch whisky

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Whisky vs. Whiskey[edit]

I thought (presumably by international trade agreement) that only whisky made in Scotland could be labeled as whisky, and that whiskeys bottled anywhere else (particularly in Ireland) had to be spelled as whiskey, so that there would be no confusion between the two. Is this not the case? (talk) 23:01, 26 March 2014 (UTC)

That is not the case. For example, both spellings are used in the U.S. (although 'whiskey' is more common there) – e.g., although most U.S. brands use 'whiskey' on their labels, George Dickel, Maker's Mark and Old Forester use 'whisky' on their labels, and the U.S. law defining whisky-making rules uses 'whisky' predominantly and says that 'whisky' and 'whiskey' legally mean the same thing. —BarrelProof (talk) 23:35, 26 March 2014 (UTC)
(Early Times too) oknazevad (talk) 15:53, 27 March 2014 (UTC)
Plus Canadian whisky is universally spelled without an 'e'. Really, overblown urban legend type stuff here. oknazevad (talk) 01:57, 27 March 2014 (UTC)
Plus Indian, Japanese, Chinese, German, Swiss, Spanish, Swedish, South African and Dutch whiskies use spelling 'whisky'. LongDrink (talk) 22:01, 9 July 2014 (UTC)
In fact, it is only Irish whiskey which is universally (or close to universally, at least) spelt with an 'e'. Allegedly to distinguish it from 'Irish whisky', lower quality whisky marketed as Irish despite not being distilled in Ireland. Whether or not that is true is another matter entirely... — Preceding unsigned comment added by (talk) 14:20, 25 October 2014 (UTC)
In the UK the "Whisky" spelling is only allowed to be used for Scotch whisky whereas "Whiskey" usually denotes American or Irish-produced liquor, such as Bourbon. IIRC, if the liquor is not produced in Scotland then it is illegal under UK Trading Standards to call it "Whisky" in the UK - it has to be labelled "Whiskey" with an "e". So not an "urban legend", at least not here in the UK. — Preceding unsigned comment added by (talk) 18:46, 4 January 2015 (UTC)
That would be noteworthy if it is true, but I really doubt that it is true. Can you provide a reference to the legal restriction about spelling that you say exists? I believe I've read most of the regulations that govern Scotch and Irish production and labelling, and I don't recall seeing it. I also recall reading an article by the whiskey writer Charles Cowdery about that issue, and it did not say there was any such regulation. —BarrelProof (talk) 20:21, 4 January 2015 (UTC)
I just took another quick look at some regulatory language. I see some regulations for what can be called "Scotch whisky" and what can be called "Irish whiskey" (references found in the respective articles). I also see that "whisky" and "whiskey" are defined to be synonymous (reference here). I don't see any explicit language prohibiting the spellings "Scotch whiskey" or "Irish whisky". However, I also don't see any explicit language saying that those spellings are allowed to be used for products. The regulations seem to be sort of silent on that question. There is probably no one that wants to label products that way, so the question may be untested. My personal interpretation is that since "whisky" and "whiskey" are defined to be synonymous, there is no actual prohibition against using those terms interchangeably (with or without adding the "Irish" or "Scotch" prefix). (Similarly, the U.S. regulation says that "whisky" and "whiskey" are synonymous, and then proceeds to use "whisky" to define all the derived terms, including "Irish whisky", although that spelling is probably not found on any products and is obviously not intended to be mandatory.) —BarrelProof (talk) 20:48, 4 January 2015 (UTC)
It's urban legend nonsense crossbred with marketing/advertising bullshit, no different than the perenial silliness about "Irish names are spelled with an 'Mc' and Scottish ones with "Mac.'" In actual fact, whisky/whiskey are the same word, the anglicized Gaelic "uisge bheatha" common to both Irish and Scots Gaelic, just as M'/Mc/Mac are simply anglicized Gaelic "Mac." — Preceding unsigned comment added by (talk) 12:08, 21 May 2015 (UTC)

For anyone still interested in this topic, there is also an extended discussion on this over at the whisky article, which also includes in the very first line the OED definition. It seems odd that there is no authoritatively definitive word on this subject. __209.179.36.56 (talk) 18:46, 18 August 2016 (UTC)

Machine Translated Version (Japanese}[edit]

This is machine translated version of Japanese featured article on Scotch Whisky. We can use it. I will write some lines. --Human3015TALK  03:40, 10 September 2015 (UTC)

There's very little in there that isn't already better presented in this English article. That the Japanese version is a featured article on the Japanese Wikipedia is meaningless, as the standards are not the same from one language Wikipedia to the next. The Japanese version, for example, includes inappropriately prescriptive material about how to drink the whisky. That's something not allowed here. Some of the other material is actually in sub-articles here on the English Wikipedia, also. That is to say, we already have a vastly more expanded coverage than the Japanese article, but it's (appropriately, per WP:SUMMARY) spread out over multiple pages. In short, I removed the tag because I don't think there's much that would actually add to this article in the Japanese article. oknazevad (talk) 11:28, 10 September 2015 (UTC)

Question on the lede and "legal" definitions of Scotch whisky[edit]

To quote the lede: "Scotch whisky, often simply called Scotch, is malt whisky or grain whisky made in Scotland. Scotch whisky must be made in a manner specified by law.[1]" The laws and regulations (most notably to be made only in Scotland) pertain I think (?) only to certain trade agreement areas, e.g. the EU. In contrast, for example, the article on Bourbon whiskey identifies it in the lede as a type of American whiskey but does not say "made in US" for rather good factual reasons. In subsections the Bourbon article goes into the regulatory legal details such as NAFTA participants recognizing it can't be called Bourbon unless made in the US. The Scotch whisky article would be better served in my opinion by taking this approach. I.e. the lede recognizing the style or origin of the type as Scottish...and then later informing me and the readers as to the regulatory details of how and where brewed to be recognized as Scotch by whom.Juan Riley (talk) 19:54, 2 January 2016 (UTC)

Disagree. While some additional material about the protection of its designated origin would be helpful, the definitions of how scotch whisky is made are directly dependent on the legal requirements. In other words, stopping a knock off from outside Scotland from calling itself scotch is separate from the legal requirements of production. the reference in the lead is to the latter, not the former. oknazevad (talk) 19:59, 2 January 2016 (UTC)
No. The point is Scotch is Scotch, just like Irish is Irish, Bourbon is Bourbon, Tennessee Whiskey is Tennessee Whiskey, a Canadian Rye is a Canadian Rye, akpeteshie is akpeteshie, etc.... They are styles of whiskey which should of course be associated/identified in their lede with their accepted geographic origins. But referencing a UK law (which may or may not apply to say Timbuktu) in the lede in order to say that it must be made in Scotland is regulatory definition appropriately treated in a later section. Believe me I can tell a scotch style whisky (intentional small s) from all the others above--but I would not bet 100:1 that it was malted and distilled according to some border. That should be the main point and start of the article: saying what a Scotch whisky is...not what some law says it is not. As written the lede sounds very defensive rather than being about the tasty liquor it is. Juan Riley (talk) 20:58, 2 January 2016 (UTC)
Scotch whisky is whisky made in Scotland. If it's not made in Scotland, it's not Scotch. That's the point. It may be similar in style, but it's not actual Scotch, just an imitation. oknazevad (talk) 21:08, 2 January 2016 (UTC)
I basically agree with Oknazevad. Moreover, in the case of Scotch whisky, the legal requirements seem roughly inseparable from the country of origin. I think it would be incorrect for the lede to say that Scotch is a particular style of whisky without saying that it must be made in Scotland. This is because even if you make a whisky in the same manner that one would make a Scotch whisky in Scotland, but you make it somewhere else, it would not meet the well-accepted definition of "Scotch whisky". It is simply considered improper to refer to something as "Scotch whisky" unless it was made in Scotland. I doubt that any really knowledgeable source would say otherwise. It would be OK to refer to something as following the Scotch whisky style of production, but it's not OK to call it "Scotch whisky" if it wasn't made in Scotland. In regard to the comparison with Bourbon whiskey, note that the article on that topic does say Bourbon is a type of American whisky, so if it's not made in America, it's not properly called "Bourbon whiskey". There is, however, some difference in the law of America about Bourbon and the law of Scotland about Scotch whisky. In America, the law allows people to make Bourbon whiskey and also allows them to make other kinds of whiskey, such as rye whiskey or malt whiskey or wheat whisky or non-aged corn whiskey or mixed-grain whiskey with any mash bill one chooses – the law establishes proper labeling requirements as a matter of "truth in advertising", but it basically does not try to limit what styles of whiskey are allowed to be produced. In Scotland, the law is much more restrictive. It only allows people to make a few basic styles of whisky – 100% barley malt whisky produced in a pot still, or grain whisky that includes some malted barley, or some mixture within or across those two categories. This is more than "truth in advertising"; it is a limitation that makes the style roughly synonymous with the country of origin. It would be redundant to say that Scotch whisky is whisky made in Scotland that fits into one of those methods of production, since those methods of production are the only methods allowed in Scotland. All whisky made in Scotland is Scotch whisky, and it's not allowed to be made in Scotland unless it is made in a particular way. —BarrelProof (talk) 21:10, 2 January 2016 (UTC)
Sorry for poking holes into your narrow world view of whiskies. Oddly this view is found typically only in Scotch drinkers. Why not rewrite some of the other whiskey articles to conform to UK law? Have a good day. Juan Riley (talk) 21:31, 2 January 2016 (UTC)
Actually, I'm mostly a bourbon drinker. But BarrelProof breaks it down very well. oknazevad (talk) 01:35, 3 January 2016 (UTC)
One final suggestion: find a reference for your lede (or eliminate the ref) that isn't a UK law. Juan Riley (talk) 01:39, 3 January 2016 (UTC)
  • Agree with oknazevad.
An article on Scotch whisky (made in Scotland, minimum age) is an interesting topic and the obvious subject here. An article on "Scotty whiskey drink" (I had a Korean bottle under much that name years ago - tasted disgusting, but it did work as a dye laser) is a different article. Probably also notable, but quite a different topic. Andy Dingley (talk) 21:39, 2 January 2016 (UTC)
@User:Andy Dingley:Laughing. I actually tried (won't say how many decades ago) Jack with either Rhodamine or a Nile Blue mix (cannot recall). No, it did not lase. You might say such a waste however I was trying to conserve the called for amount from a bottle of pure ethanol (and yes it did have a tax stamp). The pint bottle of Jack returned to the shelf only to be used for sipping while machining to get that oily taste out of my mouth--tho the ethanol worked better. Juan Riley (talk) 21:46, 2 January 2016 (UTC)

Value of the whisky business?[edit]

This page seems to need a section (or a See Also reference) on the total value of whisky production and whisky exports. They obviously make an important contribution to the Scottish (and UK) economy.Campolongo (talk) 05:53, 8 August 2016 (UTC)

History of illegal stills in Highlands[edit]

This article seems to gloss over the illegal stills in the Highlands in the period 1760-1840. I have added a citation needed template to the text that suggests that there were only 400 unlicensed distilleries in this period. The story of the illegal production of whisky in the Highlands is given in Clanship to Crofters' War, by T M Devine (chapter 9). It makes clear some key facts:

In 1782 over a thousand unlicensed stills were seized in the Highland region. This implies that the overall number in operation was significantly higher. A major licensed distiller of the time, John Stein of Kilbagie, maintained that half the whisky consumed in Scotland was made in unlicensed stills.
The importance of this illegal production to the Highland economy. The alteration of the tax regime in the 1820s, reducing the advantage of untaxed production, was a minor but significant factor which damaged the Highland economy at a time when other industries in the region were suffering.
The better quality of the untaxed product. This was because the tax, for some time, was on malt - therefore the illicit stills could use malt whilst the legal distilleries used a lot of grain to keep costs down. The quality of the taxed product did not start to rise until the tax regime was amended.
The tolerance of Highland magistrates to the unlicensed stills caused a lot of discontent among Scotland's lawmakers. The magistrates came from the landowning classes, whose rental income was supported by the profits made by those of their tenants involved in making whisky. The attitude of these magistrates was eventually tackled by legislation forcing them to impose significant punishments for those who were caught. ThoughtIdRetired (talk) 11:14, 13 October 2017 (UTC)