Distilleries in Scotland are now able to age their whisky in a greater variety of casks. Following a change to the law made by the Scotch Whisky Association (SWA), whisky can now be aged in casks like ex-Tequila and Calvados.
The change in the Scotch Whisky Technical File gives specific guidance on which casks can be used to mature or ‘finish’ Scotch whisky:
‘The spirit must be matured in new oak casks and/or in oak casks which have only been used to mature wine (still or fortified) and/or beer/ale and/or spirits with the exception of:
- wine, beer/ale or spirits produced from, or made with, stone fruits
- beer/ale to which fruit, flavouring or sweetening has been added after fermentation
- spirits to which fruit, flavouring or sweetening has been added after distillation
and where such previous maturation is part of the
traditional processes for those wines, beers/ales or spirits.
Regardless of the type of cask used, the resulting product must have the traditional colour, taste and aroma characteristics of Scotch Whisky.’
This change has been amendment has been passed at law after the UK’s Department for the Environment, Food and Rural Affairs (DEFRA) lodged an application with the European Commission.
The amendment means the cask possibilities are now relatively limitless which will one day correlate to the end user tasting flavours never before available. This also applies to casks once having been used to age gin as long as stone fruits do not feature in the list of botanical ingredients – although the SWA says ‘a number of tests’ need to applied to individual products, with guidance offered on a case-by-case basis.
Travelling Whisky Reviews will research further and give you an in depth idea of what to expect in 2023 and beyond. For now, watch this space.