I offer the following both because it is interesting in its own right, and to suggest maybe something of this sort would be a good idea for our own whiskey industry.

Last week the Scotch Whisky Association (SWA) announced its proposals for revamping the laws regarding the categorization and labeling of Scotch whisky.

The new SWA proposals are thought to be the most extensive in nearly a century.

If the new proposals are adopted there will be only five legal definitions for different styles of Scotch: Single Malt, Single Grain (both from a single distillery), Blended Scotch, Blended Malt and Blended Grain. Definitions such as 'pure malt' or 'vatted malt' would be outlawed, both replaced by 'Blended Malt.'

The proposed legislation also aims to outlaw the use of geographical descriptors for whiskies that are not from that area, such as 'Islay Cask Finish.'

The proposals are currently before the Scottish Executive and the UK government, and the SWA hopes they will become law by 2007. There is likely to be a one-year grace period to allow sell-through of old stock.