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Is The Athenaeum Speyside Whisky Correctly Labelled? — Dramming
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Is The Athenaeum Speyside Whisky Correctly Labelled?

by Oliver Klimek on January 30, 2015

A few days ago I read an article on the Spirits Business website about the new house whisky of the Athenaeum Hotel in London. There is also an article on Visit Britain from December about the same whisky. The whisky was bottled by The Great Whisky Company.

The Whisky is called “the athenaeum Speyside Blended Malt Scotch Whisky”. Both articles mention that the whisky also contains Highland whisky: “… with an additional Highland whisky” in the words of the Spirits Business and “a blend of predominantly Speyside malts with Highland malt” in the Visit Britain article.

Now the Speyside whisky region is entirely confined within the Highland region, and distillers in Speyside are free to use either denomination. A prominent example is Macallan which geographically is as Speyside as you can get, but the distillery prefers to use “Highland” on the label. But the wording of both articles strongly suggests that there is also whisky included that was made outside the Speyside region.

It is my understanding of the 2009 Scotch Whisky Regulations that if a whisky is prominently labelled as  “Speyside Whisky”, it must contain only whisky distilled in the Speyside region as defined in the regulations.

It is not my intention to accuse a whisky producer of doing something that might actually be legal. After all the 2009 regulations contain a few exceptions to this rule. So the question in the title is indeed not meant rhetorically. But legal or not, at the very least this is confusing, and this is why I would like to have it clarified.

Here is the section of the 2009 Scotch Whisky Regulations that applies, as found on the UK Government website:


Excecptions are governed by Schedule 3:


The applicable exception would be section 3 which deals with blends. But I can not see how this should apply to the Athenaeum Speyside Whisky.

Maybe someone else can shed light on this, but to me it looks as if this bottling might actually be labelled incorrectly, if the statement is true that it also contains whisky not distilled in Speyside.

I asked The Great Whisky Company for an explanation by email, in a first reply they said they were going to look into this issue.

Update 10/02/2015: The Great Whisky Co. have checked back with their supplier and can confirm that the Athenaeum Speyside whisky only contains whisky distilled in the Speysde region.

{ 1 comment… read it below or add one }

Cigar Inspector February 8, 2015 at 10:52 pm

I’d also love to find out what’s going on here. I hope they respond to you with an explanation.


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