New legal regulations covering Scotch whisky have been lined up to become law later this month in the UK.

Scottish Secretary Jim Murphy confirmed yesterday (5 November) that the measures, which will include the outlawing of the bottling of single malt outside Scotland, will be passed into law on 23 November.

The regulations include:

  • The compulsory use of category descriptions, such as 'Blended Scotch Whisky';
  • Presentation rules, which are intended to promote understanding of every category of Scotch whisky, Single and Blended, to consumers;
  • Additional protection for Scotch from unfair competition and deceptive practices within a legal framework;
  • Rules to require the bottling of single malt Scotch in Scotland;
  • Protection for the traditional regional names associated with Scotch whisky production and clear rules on product age statements;
  • Introduction of an enforcement mechanism, with HM Revenue & Customs designated as the Scotch whisky verification authority;
  • Use of the word 'Pure' is to be banned, as it has led to confusion as 'Pure Malt' may come across as being superior - the term has been used to disguise the fact that the product is a blend of malts rather than a single malt;
  • A tightening up of the use of distillery and regional names.

"It is vital that we protect our key industries," said Murphy. "We cannot allow others to trade off our good name and to pass off inferior whisky as being produced in Scotland. These regulations will help protect whisky customers across the globe."

The move has been welcomed by trade body the Scotch Whisky Association. "Additional protection helps safeguard Scotch from unfair and deceptive practices," said SWA chief executive Gavin Hewitt. "The new labelling rules provide a unique opportunity to promote consumer understanding of Scotch worldwide. These regulations have the strong backing of the Scotch whisky industry."