Whisky: Derived from the gaelic word « uisge beatha » or « usquebaugh » anglicised later to uiskie.
In Great Britain, whisky is defined by law (The Scotch Whisky Order 1990) as:
For the purpose of the Act "Scotch whisky" means whisky—
(a) which has been produced at a distillery in Scotland from water and malted barley (to which only whole grains of other cereals may be added) all of which have been—
(i) processed at that distillery into a mash;
(ii) converted to a fermentable substrate only by endogenous enzyme systems; and
(iii) fermented only by the addition of yeast;
(b) which has been distilled at an alcoholic strength by volume of less than 94.8 per cent so that the distillate has an aroma and taste derived from the raw materials used in, and the method of, its production;
(c) which has been matured in an excise warehouse in Scotland in oak casks of a capacity not exceeding 700 litres, the period of that maturation being not less than 3 years;
(d) which retains the colour, aroma and taste derived from the raw materials used in, and the method of, its production and maturation; and
(e) to which no substance other than water and spirit caramel has been added.
Minimum alcoholic strength of Scotch whisky
For the purposes of section 2(1)(b) of the Act there is hereby specified the alcoholic strength of 40 per cent by volume (being also the minimum alcoholic strength by volume prescribed in relation to whisky/whiskey by Article 3(1) of Council Regulation (EEC) No 1576/89 laying down general rules on the definition, description and presentation of spirit drinks).
On November 22, 2009, new legislations were implemented:
i) Five categories of Scotch Whisky are defined for the first time; Single Malt Scotch Whisky, Single Grain Scotch Whisky, Blended Malt Scotch Whisky, Blended Grain Scotch Whisky, and Blended Scotch Whisky.
ii) A requirement to only bottle Single Malt Scotch Whisky in Scotland.
iii) A ban on the use of the term "Pure Malt".
iv) A ban on the use of a distillery name as a brand name on any Scotch Whisky which has not been wholly distilled in the named distillery.
v) Protection of five traditional whisky regions of production; Highland, Lowland, Speyside, Islay, and Campbeltown.
vi) A requirement that Scotch Whisky must be wholly matured in Scotland.
Canadian Whisky, Canadian Rye Whisky or Rye Whisky
(i) be a potable alcoholic distillate, or a mixture of potable alcoholic distillates, obtained from a mash of cereal grain or cereal grain products saccharified by the diastase of malt or by other enzymes and fermented by the action of yeast or a mixture of yeast and other micro-organisms,
(ii) be aged in small wood for not less than three years,
(iii) possess the aroma, taste and character generally attributed to Canadian whisky,
(iv) be manufactured in accordance with the requirements of the Excise Act and the regulations made thereunder,
(v) be mashed, distilled and aged in Canada, and
(vi) contain not less than 40 per cent alcohol by volume; and
(b) may contain caramel and flavouring.
P. Brossard© 2009