Pernod Ricard has hit a Chinese newspaper with legal action after being accused of selling sub-standard Scotch whisky in China.

The French drinks giant, alongside its whisky arm Chivas Brothers, has launched a lawsuit against International Finance News. In January, the newspaper claimed that the Chivas Regal 12-Year-Old whisky sold in China was in fact a blend of younger and inferior whiskies.

Chivas Brothers dismissed the allegations today (24 May) as "false and irresponsible". The company added: "We emphasise once again that Chivas Regal 12-Year-Old is a premium quality brand blended with malt and grain Scotch whiskies, each of which has been aged for 12 years."

Chivas said that the making of Chivas 12-Year-Old was subject to "strict" UK and EU regulations and that the whisky sold in China "complied fully" with those - and Chinese - regulations.

A hearing is understood to be scheduled for the middle of June.