Press Release 2000 

WHICH WHISKY?

A University of St Andrews researcher has produced a set of guidelines which could take the confusion out of whisky-buying.

Dr David Wishart from the Department of Management has compiled a consumer-friendly classification which categorises different single malt whiskies depending on their flavour and will unveil them at a seminar in Edinburgh on Wednesday 26 April.

Whisky Classified 2000, which can be viewed at WhiskyClassified.com, has received a warm welcome.  Having been sent to nearly 200 distillers, consumer organisations, whisky retailers and experts, 94% of those responding thought the classification was reasonable and would be useful guide for consumers.  It is sponsored by 34 distillers, listed below.

A provisional classification was compiled in 1998 by Clustan Limited, of which David Wishart is a Director.  After seeking comments on it and consulting industry via a University of St Andrews Department of Management survey, the final version is based on tasting notes for over 80 single malts.

The whiskies were described by 12 flavour categories including "Smoky", "Medicinal", "Winey", "Fruity", "Spicy" and "Nutty".  The final result is 10 distinctive single malt whisky styles ranging from Cluster A, which covers strongly sherried malts, to Cluster J which includes the heavily-peated, pungent Islay malts.

Dr Wishart believes the classification will make an important difference to both retailers and consumers.

He said, "My whisky classification is mainly aimed at the consumer.  In any good off-licence, you will find a myriad of malt whiskies covering a wide range of whisky styles, from Macallan to Laphroaig.   The classification is designed to help new or casual whisky drinkers find their way round this maze.  If you like a particular malt, then those in the same cluster should also be of interest to your palate. 

"My classification may also be useful to distillers, to classify new distillations or to design marketing campaigns."

Dr Wishart has been interested in classification since working on his PhD dissertation in Numerical Taxonomy at St Andrews from 1966 to 1970.  A statistical software package called Clustan has been developed by Dr Wishart and is widely used throughout the world in fields such as biology, medicine, genomics, psychology and marketing.

The event, which will include a talk and tasting, will be hosted by The Royal Society for the Arts (RSA) at the Clydesdale Bank Plaza, 50 Lothian Road, Edinburgh at 6.30pm on Wednesday 26 April 2000.  Tickets, which cost 8, are available from Colin McCallum on telephone 0141 559 6100 or via email.

Whisky Classified 2000 is supported by the distillers of Aberlour, Auchentoshan, Aultmore, Balvenie, Ben Nevis, Benriach, Benromach, Bowmore, Bunnahabhain, Bushmills, Dalmore, Deanston, Edradour, Glendronach, Glenfarclas, Glenfiddich, Glen Garioch, Glengoyne, Glen Moray, Glenrothes, Glenturret, Highland Park, Isle of Jura, Laphroaig, Ledaig, Longmorn, Macallan, Old Pulteney, Royal Brackla, Scapa, Strathisla, Tobermory, Tomatin and Tomintoul.

Issued by Beattie Media on behalf of the University of St Andrews.  For more information please contact Claire Grainger on 01334 462530, 07887 650072 or by email

This Press Release was issued by the University of St Andrews on Tuesday 25 April, 2000.