The Angel’s Share is a phenomenon in which around two per cent of whisky
evaporates into the atmosphere every year. Distilleries have long tried to
curb the impact of the maturation loss, and now MPs from the Scottish Green
Party have raised concerns about its potential environmental impact.
The Press and Journal report that despite Scotch whisky experts and the
government insists there are no detrimental impacts to the environment due
to Angel’s Share, Scottish Green MSP Ross Greer challenged the Scottish
Government on its lack of data surrounding maturation loss, following
concerns raised to him by an industrial chemist.
He said the chemist had been working with distilleries on issues such as
maturation loss and was interested in the Scottish Government’s position on
“There’s a real lack of data in this area and little clarity from
government on what is expected, so I was happy to lodge some questions with
ministers and clear things up,” added Greer.
The oak casks in which whisky is aged are responsible for the loss due to
evaporation, and an 18-year-old whiskey cask can lose up to half of its
original volume as ethanol evaporates and escapes through the porous wood.
A spokesperson for the Scotch Whisky Association said: “Some loss of spirit
from casks during maturation is a natural part of the whisky-making process.
“Losses of ethanol average around 2 per cent per year and, as the Scottish
Government points out, is neither harmful to health nor impactful on the
environment due to its rapid dispersal.”
The spokesperson added that spirit evaporation contributes to the final
character of the whisky, but the industry continues to invest in research
and work with the Scottish Environment Protection Agency (SEPA) to improve
efficiency and minimise the Angel’s Share.
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