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Scotch Whisky
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12 posts in this topic

I am including all the correspondance that I have from the Famous Grouse Scotch whiskey. In a nutshell, Scotch is distilled and then carmel coloring is added to the finished product to provide a nice golden color. That caramel color was always made from corn but is now in the process of being made from wheat. The UK says the residual gluten is below their standard so there will be no labeling. Their standard, however is 200 ppm compared to ours of 20 ppm. The only scotch that never adds coloring that I know of is Macallen, which I am switching too.

Following is the conversation:

Dear Terri,

Spirit caramel E150a is made from a two stage process, first a starch source is converted to a sugar solution which is then converted to caramel colour. The UK supplier of E150a has been using sugar solutions made from maize for many years. However, they are in the process of changing their process so that sugar solutions made from wheat can be converted to caramel.

The possibility of gluten being transferred through the E150a process to the final product has been investigated and in a recent statement the European Food Standards Agency found that there was no evidence of this and products using E150a would be exempt from the allergen labelling requirements.

Regards

Ruth Higgins

Quality Systems Coordinator

The Edrington Group

--------------------------------------------------------------------------------

From: Terri Collins [mailto:thcollins@cox.net]

Sent: 17 October 2007 23:53

To: The Famous Grouse Team

Subject: Re: The Famous Grouse ingredients

Thank you for your answer. I am assuming that Spirit Caramel is the same as caramel coloring here in the US. In our country Caramel coloring is usually always derived from corn but can be derived from other ingredients, including wheat in European countries. Do you know from which grain your Spirit Caramel is derived?

Terri

----- Original Message -----

From: The Famous Grouse Team

To: thcollins@cox.net

Sent: Monday, October 15, 2007 4:34 AM

Subject: The Famous Grouse ingredients

Dear Terri,

Many thanks for your email via The Famous Grouse website.

I am aware of the condition known as CELIAC disease where a person cannot tolerate a protein called gluten found in many cereals. Whilst the raw material for The Famous Grouse production will include barley, maize and wheat there is no gluten in the finished product as it is removed at the distillation stage.

If this is not the allergy and it is oats specific then you can be assured that this cereal is not used in Scotch Whisky production.

There are no additives in The Famous Grouse other than Spirit Caramel, E150; the amount of spirit caramel is very small and has no discernible effect on the product

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My understanding has always been that blended scotches are the ones with the additive. Famous Grouse is blended; Macallan is not. If you read their description, it is that they add the stuff to get a uniform color when they are blending. With single malt, you get what you get.

There are plenty of single malts to choose from. You can choose to investigate further if you wish. I don't think Macallan is special; it is just the one that this particular company also makes.

I drink single malts and haven't had a reaction.

I'm not sure, though, that I read their explanation as saying that any gluten makes it through to the final additive. At least on this web site, all scotch is listed as safe:

http://www.celiac.com/articles/222/1/Glute...ages/Page1.html

I would be interested in hearing if anyone ever had a reaction to a single malt.

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My understanding has always been that blended scotches are the ones with the additive. Famous Grouse is blended; Macallan is not. If you read their description, it is that they add the stuff to get a uniform color when they are blending. With single malt, you get what you get.

There are plenty of single malts to choose from. You can choose to investigate further if you wish. I don't think Macallan is special; it is just the one that this particular company also makes.

I drink single malts and haven't had a reaction.

I'm not sure, though, that I read their explanation as saying that any gluten makes it through to the final additive. At least on this web site, all scotch is listed as safe:

http://www.celiac.com/articles/222/1/Glute...ages/Page1.html

I would be interested in hearing if anyone ever had a reaction to a single malt.

You wouldn't have had a reaction yet, as they are now in the process of changing from corn to wheat. I have written Glenfiddich but did not receive an answer. Like you I prefer single malts, but can't always afford them. However, I will rite Glenlivet and see if they add the color.

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Annoying that Glenfiddich didn't respond. Perhaps I will write them myself.

Let me know what Glenlivet says. I can live with that.

I can't say I've ever had Macallan. Maybe I'll buy that one, at least until I know something more definite about the others.

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Annoying that Glenfiddich didn't respond. Perhaps I will write them myself.

Let me know what Glenlivet says. I can live with that.

I can't say I've ever had Macallan. Maybe I'll buy that one, at least until I know something more definite about the others.

I did buy a bottle of Macellan and I love it. :)

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Here is the answer from the Glenlivet

Terri,

I have asked our Chief Chemist to get back to me with regard to your question and will get back to you as soon as I have feedback from him. In the mean time as a loyal drinker of The Glenlivet may I suggest you try Glenlivet Nadurra which I can assure is 100% natural colour.

Kind Regard

Ian Logan

International Brand Ambassador

Chivas Brothers

Strathisla Distillery

Seafield Avenue

Keith

Banffshire

AB55 5BS

Tel - +44(0)1542 783051

Fax - +44(0)1542 783039

Mob - +44(0)7768 776718

E-mail ian.logan@chivas.com

--------------------------------------------------------------------------------

From: Betty Munro On Behalf Of theglenlivet admin

Sent: 12 November 2007 09:12

To: Ian Logan

Subject: FW: Spirit caramel

-----Original Message-----

From: Terri Collins [mailto:thcollins@cox.net]

Sent: 11 November 2007 16:55

To: theglenlivet admin

Subject: Spirit caramel

Hello,

I am a member of the Glenlivet Society and a huge fan. I have recently come across information that the UK is no longer making Spirit Caramel E150 from maize but is now making it from wheat. I am a Celiac and must aviod all wheat, even as minute as 20 parts per million. Does Glenlivet add spirit caramel to the finished product for a uniform golden color? Or is it all natural like Macallen is? This is so important to me and I would really appreciate an answer.

Thank you,

Terri Collins

Northern Virginia

Chivas Brothers is the Scotch whisky and premium gin business of Pernod Ricard

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Maybe I'll have to go buy bottles of both Macallan and Glenlivet Nadurra ... and taste test. :lol:

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Here is the answer from the chemist at Glenlivet: Any thoughts?

From: Gordon Steele [mailto:Gordon.Steele@swri.co.uk]

Sent: 13 November 2007 11:37

To: Ian Logan

Subject: RE: Spirit caramel

Ian,

This is an area we have been very active in for the last few years with the Allergen labeling regs. Scotch has an exemption from labeling that it is made from cereals i.e. barley and wheat, because EFSA and DG SANCO have accepted that it would be mis-leading to allergen suffering consumers to label as the distillation process removes the allergenic material. This conclusion is also true for celiacs whom are generally less sensitive than people that are allergenically sensitive. The British Food Standards Agency is also of this opinion hence the legal exemption for distilled drinks. Spirit caramel is made from starch from a number of sources and indeed the main supplier is changing from a maize based caramel to a wheat based caramel. It is a decision for the brand holders to decide if they want to continue with this or change to another supplier whom is still using maize. However from the aspect of a celiac sufferer whom has a food intolerance for wheat there is no problem in consuming scotch containing wheat based caramel. As part of the new allergen labeling regs caramels were examined very closely by the European Food Standards Agency and DG SANCO and they concluded on the scientific evidence submitted which included caramel consumption trials by sensitive individuals that there was no risk to celiac sufferers from spirit caramel made from wheat and on this basis no labeling is required as this would give the wrong information to consumers i.e. the may conclude that the scotch contains gluten to which the celiac sufferer is sensitive which is not the case.

Please assure Terri Collins she has nothing to worry about in consuming Scotch irrespective if it contains caramel or not or what the source of caramel originally was. Remember caramel is made from treated starch or malto-dextrins extracted from the grain so does not contain the gluten protein even approaching the concentrations Terri talks about. Indeed the celiac society of the UK states that caramel is gluten free.

Hope this is of help

Gordon

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Here is the answer from the chemist at Glenlivet: Any thoughts?

Yeah, he didn't really answer your question, did he?

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I received a response from Glenfiddich. I specifically asked about the presence of coloring and made it clear that I had problems with things other than gluten. I didn't want to get into an argument about the definition of gluten-free. The response: "Please be assured our products are gluten free."

I just responded, telling them they didn't answer my question. I'll keep you posted B)

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In response to my question, I was sent to their blog, presumably to ask the question a third time. This time I did get an answer:

"I wish there was a simple answer to your question. As you know, caramel colouring (E150) is occasionally used by single malt producers to maintain colour consistency from batch to batch. Unless you live in Germany, where the use of colouring must be mentioned on labels, there is no way of knowing which batch contains caramel colouring and which batch doesn't. The only advice I can give you is to stick to single malts where you can be absolutely sure that no caramel was used. In our case, all our single cask vintages are caramel free (because there is no need for colour consistency with single casks, each cask being logically unique). We rarely use colouring for our other variants but you could never be 100% sure.

I hope this helps a bit."

I suppose the single cask vintages are the expensive ones :o I'll have to check out my local liquor store. As you may know, my county has the screwiest liquor laws in the country -- the county acts as a wholesaler for everything sold here. Beyond restaurants, beer & wine can be sold in private stores, but hard liquor is only available in county stores. Meaning, we can only buy what the county folk think we like.

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I noticed that Clan Thompson put the Glenlivet on their certified gluten free list. I am unaware if they know about the change in the processing of the caramel color. I guess Glenffidich single casks are like that Nadurra made by Glenlivet. $$$$$ I think I'll stick to Macellan and just have it once a week for a treat. I suppose there is no sense in contacting Chevas or Dewars? They probably all add it. :(

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