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Chivas plays in ‘flavoured Scotch’ with Ballantine’s Brasil

Chivas Brothers has made the bold move of combining Ballantine’s blended Scotch whisky with lime flavouring for new release Ballantine’s Brasil.

Ballantine’s Brasil is a blend of Ballantine’s Scotch whisky with lime flavours

Labelled clearly as a “spirit drink” on the front label, Ballantine’s Brasil is a 35% abv blend of Ballantine’s with lime that’s described as “both smooth and consistent, with the sweet and creamy flavours of Scotch balancing the refreshing lime taste”.

Presented in a clear version of the brand’s signature bottle with lime green design cues, Ballantine’s Brasil is being launched later this month in the Czech Republic and the Netherlands, before a global roll-out in February 2014 at an RRP of €14.

Peter Moore, global brand director for Ballantine’s, said: “There is a huge opportunity for spirit drinks that are made with whisky, as it’s an exceptionally dynamic new category that is already demonstrating a strong rate of growth.”

The addition of flavours to Scotch whisky is a contentious issue, as under Scotch Whisky Association (SWA) and EU guidelines, it is prohibited to add anything other than caramel colouring and water to Scotch.

However, the SWA has said there is no problem if the product is clearly labelled and marketed in a way that clearly distinguishes it from Scotch whisky.

“There is no restriction on using Scotch Whisky as a base for new products,” said Rosemary Gallagher, spokeswoman for the SWA. “Well known Scotch whisky liqueurs have been sold for many years. What is essential is that the labelling and marketing of new products based on Scotch whisky make it clear for consumers that they are not Scotch whiskies. Ballantine’s Brasil is clearly labelled as a “spirit drink” which is the compulsory sales description if the product does not fall into the category of liqueur.”

Moore added: “Ballantine’s Brasil is a venture into new territory for us, but we’re excited to have a product that can take advantage of this opportunity and one that can truly inspire those who have not yet found their perfect way to enjoy a Scotch whisky drink.”

The flavoured spirits market is experiencing accelerating growth, particularly in the US. According to the Distilled Spirits Council of the United States (DISCUS), over 40% of all spirits in the US have an additional flavoured extension, with over 220 flavours now available.

Dewar’s Highlander Honey

Earlier this year Bacardi was caught up in a dispute over its new Dewar’s Highlander Honey, which describes itself as a “Blended Scotch whisky infused with natural flavors” on the front label, and only stating it is a spirit drink on the back.

The label adheres to US regulations, but in its current state would be prohibited by the EU.

“It’s difficult… but at the core, Highlander Honey is Dewar’s blended Scotch whisky infused with Scottish honey and natural flavours and that’s really what the product is, and that’s what the label says,” Arvind Krishnan, Dewar’s vice-president and brand managing director told The Spirits Business earlier this year.

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