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Is Scottish whisky dumbing down?

By Dominic Roskrow

In a new series for the World Whisky Review we raise a controversial subject and invite you to offer an opinion. We'll choose three of the best replies and reward them with a bottle of world whisky.

First up it’s Australian independent bottler Tim Puett who asks:
Are the Scots dumbing down?

This may be an impertinent question coming from a Tasmanian, but has the average quality of Scottish Malt whiskies recently declined due to increased demand and an associated lack of basic resources to meet that demand, such as wood, grain, and even product?

This may be an impertinent question coming from a Tasmanian, but...

Is it possible that whiskies are being 'pumped out' without age statements from obscure barrel types and of significantly lesser quality? Is it the case that older stock is being flogged off as single malt and so there is no longer older stock available for blending?

Don’t get me wrong, there are still some great malts being produced. But I’ve been disappointed with some of the commercial releases lately.

Are Scottish malt whiskies losing their personality, driven out by rationalisation, basic resource availability, and financial return? The questions I pose are also asked by others (I do order the majority of my drinking whiskies directly from Scotland). It may be possible that due to our isolation and low population, we are not exposed to the range and quality available elsewhere and we only receive the more commercial cheaper product.

I’m not comparing Australian whisky to Scotland, we are but a small pimple on the butt of an elephant. Scotland has 1000 years of whisky history and Australia has but 19.

There is definitely a place for boutique whiskies in Australia, but we know we will never threaten Scotland. What we will do, however, is enhance the variation, range and mystique of malt whisky by providing something that is new and different.

What's your view?

We want to hear from you, we'll pick the best three responses and send those members a bottle of world whisky.