Honey’s not Scotch, makers say

A proliferation of flavoured whiskeys has hit the market – but some think do it to Scotch is going a step too far.

Honey-flavoured bourbons such as Jack Daniel’s Tennessee Honey, Jim Beam Red Stag and Wild Turkey American Honey are already popular.

In New Zealand, Independent Liquor has launched a honey flavoured bourbon RTD. Last year, Diageo introduced Bushmills Irish Honey last year.

Then last week came the first flavoured Scotch: Dewar’s Highlander Honey, which the company describes as a Scotch whisky “infused with Scottish heather honey filtered through oak cask wood”.

The company, Barcadi, says: “We’re trying to reach out to a younger, newer consumer and speak to them in a language that they’ll identify with – in an environment that they’ll want to be in. Dewar’s Highlander Honey takes that one step forward.”

But there has been some pushback. Whiskycast.com reports that the Scotch Whisky Association is concerned that Highlander Honey may not be a true Scotch.

The SWA’s statement should be savoured in its entirety:

“There is no law preventing the production of new products based on Scotch Whisky. The important thing is that they are la e production of new products based on Scotch Whisky.

"The important thing is that they are labelled and marketed in a way that clearly distinguishes them from Scotch Whisky.

“We do have concerns that the labelling and promotion of Dewar’s Highlander Honey could distinguish the product more clearly from Scotch Whisky.

"Under EU law it has to be sold under the sales description ‘Spirit Drink’ and it would assist if that description was more conspicuous on the labelling to help make it clear it is not Scotch Whisky.

“Promotion of the product should also not suggest it is Scotch Whisky. Any issues about labelling and promotion used by members are resolved through discussion with the Scotch Whisky Association.”

No doubt, Bacardi’s attorneys will come up with the proper wording to mollify the Scotch police. But it’s nice to see authority figures trying to maintain some sort of standard for spirit makers.

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