Some things simply shouldn't be messed with. But, folks always try.
Now Diageo PLC, the world’s single biggest producer, wants to water down some of those rules, part of its attempt to arrest Scotch’s declining market share. Last year, it formed a secret task force to explore ways to change some industry rules about how Scotch must be made.Now, as any fool can tell you, Scotch whiskey is made of water and unmalted barley and is stored in casks for three years in Scotland. It must contain at least 40% alcohol. Those are simple rules.
One idea was to finish aging Scotch in old tequila barrels instead of the sherry, cognac or port casks traditionally used. Another was to create a “Scotch whisky infusion,” a new category of flavored or low-alcohol blends sold under existing Scotch brands.I thought that Scotch was aged in used American whiskey barrels. Ah, yes, from The Whiskey Advocate:
Kilchoman offers a scotch aged exclusively in Buffalo Trace bourbon barrels. Without barrels from the U.S., Scotch whisky as we know it could not exist. Nine out of ten casks used to mature whisky in Scotland today initially matured bourbon or Tennessee whiskey.I read a piece some time ago that people are upset with Diageo for screwing with bourbon, and now they're screwing with Scotch. I'm not a Scotch-drinker, but I understand why purists might be peeved. I like my bourbon from Kentucky, thank you. I may occasionally take a dram of Canadian whiskey, and I have been known to enjoy that upstart sour-mash whiskey from Tennessee.