New Scotch whisky rules covering every aspect of the distilling, bottling and labelling have come into force today (23 November).

Introduced by the UK Government, the regulations are designed to "reinforce the integrity of Scotch" and provide legal protection for Scotch Whisky from imitations, said the Scotch Whisky Association.

From today, single malt whisky can only be bottled in Scotland. Other measures include tighter rules on the use of distillery names on bottle labels, and better protection of traditional regional names such as 'Highland' and 'Lowland'.

Consistent labelling terms and rules are also designed to ensure consumers receive clear information about what they are buying, the SWA said.

"Protection and promotion of Scotch Whisky is at the heart of the new UK regulations, which are in the best interests of whisky consumers, distillers, and the wider economy," said Paul Walsh, chairman of the SWA and also CEO of Diageo.

"Working with the UK Government and officials in Scotland, these regulations are a major step forward and form the definitive statement of the rules on making, bottling, and labelling Scotch Whisky. The new rules have been welcomed across the industry, benefiting small and large distillers alike, and supporting the growth of both Single and Blended whiskies," Walsh insisted.

The SWA recently defended the new regulations following criticism from some corners of the industry.

Loch Lomond Distillery, in Scotland, said last week that it may be forced to "cut jobs and abandon efforts to reduce energy use" because of new rules defining how traditional malt whisky is made.