I contacted the Scotch whisky Association and was advised that should there be a suspicion that a person or company was offering for sale a bottle of whisky that may not be what it is claimed to be on the label, then
"as with any other product offers, it would presumably be for Trading
Standards Officers to deal with enforcement issues."
The distillery or company is responsible for making an age statement. If they make an error on that one, then they will have a very big problem. Because there's allways somebody who will double check them(in this case the people mentioned by Gate the Trading Standard Officers). The distillery or bottler or company have to show the necessary paper work, wich includes distilling date, maturation period, cask numbers etc. It's those papers who will prove its provenance, and a possible forgery? Well anything is possible, but you have to be damn good one to misled the Trading Standard Officers, and believe it or not they allways get the forger....
The age you'll find is allways the minimum age, because in order to get consistency there might be some older stuff in it, wich is not a bad thing(just sell me a 12Y old Bowmore, and put a lot of 21Y old in it, that would be very very nice, but only in my dreams I guess).
Hope this answers your questions...
I can't come up with any, but what I really ment was that: even if you're a clever forger, some one will catch you in the end, because sooner or later you'll make a mistake. We have a saying here: Even if the lie is to fast, the truth will get the lie anyway. Maybe I brought you on the wrong track, I should have brought it in a another way of speaking.
I hope, that I cleared it up for you Iain.
[This message has been edited by Huurman (edited 19 March 2003).]
Just a touching faith in an unnamed "someone" and his or her blind devotion to tracking down counterfeits and forgeries. Hmmm...
I believe Trading Standards do not investigate cases unless invited to do so by someone with a complaint, and so they do not actually have any control over bottling.
So the answer to Mattiasss' question (who guarantees that the whisky in the bottle is what it says on the label) is still awaiting a proper answer.
I suspect that the consumer has to place his or her trust in the integrity of the bottler. Can anyone offer more info?
If Customs and Excise are responsible, how would they be able to monitor bottling to ensure only certain casks are used for the appropriate bottlings?
But leaves the question: who is the person(company) who will check its age etc?
Leaves me the question: How the Trading Standard Officers are fitting in here in this matter?
Something to find out, or have I allready put the answer here? I will dig in to this after the weekend, see my data base or check with the company who is doing what. I will grab in to it like a Pitbull, or a Dobermann, I don't know wich one is nicer?
Denmark, Copenhagen, The Whisky Messen this weekend will be first for me
Is it the case that no third party has a legal responsibility for guaranteeing that the minimum age of the whisky in the bottle is as stated on the label, and that we have to take the bottlers on trust in this matter?
If not, who undertakes the responsibilty for ensuring that the age info is accurate? Practically, only Customs & Excise officers would have the opportunity to fulfil such a role, but they do not accept responsibility for supervising bottling operations?
I have never seen a C&E age guarantee on a label. C&E's responsibilities are presumably confined to ensuring that duty is paid to UK government on all whisky leaving a bonded warehouse.
Anyone in the know, please correct any misleading assumptions written above!
(and I'll write to ask the helpful folks at SWA)
"the bottler is responsible for ensuring that the goods he is producing
comply with the law." [ie the relevant UK and EU laws, I assume]
The legal responsibility for ensuring that the age of the whisky in the bottle is accurately indicated on the label or in any pr, marketing etc material therefore lies with the whisky bottler, not with Customs and Excise or any other party. There is no legal requirement for third party verification, and presumably it doesn't happen (or it would surely be alluded to on labels or in pr/marketing/advertising material for a particular bottling of Scotch).
To sum it up - you have to accept the word of the bottler that the whisky is what is claimed, just as you have to accept the word of any other manufacturer that a product is or does what is claimed for it.
If you have proof that a product does not conform to the claims of the manufacturer then presumably the manufacturer can be prosecuted (by Trading Standards in UK? I'm not sure). Although I'm not sure how an ordinary whisky consumer could prove the age of a particular whisky or whiskies once the product has been bottled, and I have never heard of such a case.
Erik - what have you been able to sniff out, in your pitbullish fashion?
I'm sorry that I was a away from this topic for a while, You have done a good job, sounds logical to me too. I didn't make any time availlable so far, because I was quite busy lately. I found some other info too, but that doesn't contribute to this topic, because it's practically the same what you came up with.
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