A scotch whisky distiller, when asked recently if he made any blends, was gloriously sniffy and dismissive of blended whisky. It would have been interesting to see and hear what he would have made of the Johnnie Walker Directors Blends, which I got to taste last Thursday (November 28) in London.
Now a top 20 market for the scotch whisky category with exports estimated to be worth around £100 million, the Scotch Whisky Association has said there should be “more co-operation and stronger criminal sanctions".
The SWA suggests the need for a firmer definition of scotch in China “in line with European Union standards”, which it said would “prevent unfair competition from inferior spirits being sold as whisky”.
The statements came during SWA representatives’ visit to Asia to further promote scotch whisky and strengthen trade links.
Gavin Hewitt, SWA chief executive, said: “We have a very good working relationship with the Chinese authorities who demonstrate their commitment to protecting the reputation of scotch whisky. However, there is always more work to be done.
“Young, affluent Chinese consumers are increasingly developing a taste for scotch whisky which they recognise as a quality, international product.
“While in China we will mark the SWA’s 100th anniversary and celebrate the strong heritage of scotch whisky, something that has a great resonance with Chinese consumers.”
Despite calls to clamp down on “fake” scotch the SWA also noted Chinese authorities’ “respect for international trade rules” and that there had been a great deal of cooperation in “enforcing rules and regulations around protection and helping maintain scotch whisky’s reputation for quality”.
Scotch whisky was registered as a geographical indication (GI) of origin in China in 2010.