ONE of Scotland’s top whisky suppliers has become embroiled in a heated dispute over its decision to stock English whisky.
Royal Mile Whiskies in Edinburgh are to sell the English Whisky Company’s Chapter I next month after preview bottles proved a big hit.
But despite the approval of top noses, purists say they are appalled at the move, with one adding the firm have “betrayed Scotland” by stocking the Norfolk-distilled drink.
Arthur Motley, Royal Mile Whisky’s buyer, said: “We got some negative feedback, mostly from American Scots, said things like, ‘how could you?’ and ‘you’ve betrayed Scotland’.
“Some people were riled, but hopefully most of the comments were meant in a light-hearted way.”The firm that produces the ‘single malt spirit’ – which is emblazoned with the St George’s Cross – has also caused a stir by announcing that they will release a “commemorative bottling” if England win the World Cup in South Africa next year.
Ian Hudghton, the SNP MEP who has campaigned to ensure the phrase “Scotch whisky” can only be applied to Scottish products, labelled the newcomer, “not the real McCoy.”
John Kaylor at the Tartan Army added the drive for English Scotch was baffling.
He said: “It’s flattering that the English want to copy us, but what’s next, Shakespeare shortbread and the Lake Windermere monster?
“No true Tartan Army member would ever wet their lips with English whisky.”
But one whisky expert has said that the new tipple is worthy of sitting alongside Scots single malts.
Jim Murray, respected author of tipple tome, The Whisky Bible, said that the southern invader was a respectable offering.
He said: “Even without the peat, we have a gloriously characterful new make.
“This first dedicated English distillery for over a century is likely to gain a name for exceptional quality.
He added: “If any Scots start looking over their shoulder and get worried by this, then they must be hopelessly insecure.
“This is only one small distillery and it certainly won’t make a dent on the combined might of the Scotch whisky industry.”
A spokesman for the Scotch Whisky Association said that the group welcomed the move, saying: “The fact that countries outside of Scotland, including England, are keen to produce whisky is testament to whisky’s continued success around the globe – we wish out friends in Norfolk well.”
Andrew Nelstrop, co-owner of the English Whisky Company, reckons they have carved out a place for themselves already, with their distinctive tangy toffee flavour.
He said: “Much to our surprise and delight, our whisky has already attracted a lot of interest in Scotland.
“We are shipping about 500 bottles a month up to Scotland and we expect that to grow.
“There are a lot of Burns suppers going on in England now and we are hoping to supply them with genuine English whisky come January.”