Tuesday, January 31, 2006

Whiskey: Kosher or not?

It seems the argument is starting up again among many orthodox rabbis as to whether or not whiskey is kosher. Rabbis in Israel say the issue is that whiskey is aged in oak barrels which were previously used to produce wine. The aging in old barrels gives the whiskey an extra taste which is not present in new barrels according to the rabbis for the ban on whiskey.

Rabbi Akiva Padwa from the London Beth Din's kashrut division, ruled that most of the whiskey brands are kosher, but that some brands undergo a special "finish" in barrels previously used to produce wine. The taste of the wine can still be felt in the drink, thus making it non-kosher, the rabbi said.


Classmate-Wearing-Yarmulka said...

The article is misleading...

Most scotches are aged in oak barrels that used to contain bourbon, and there is no issue about the kashurus of bourbon.

A minority of scotches are aged in sherrry casks, there are plenty of opinions on this manner, some say it's fine, some say it's not, and some say it's fine if the scotch is is only "finished" in sherry casks, but spent most of its time in oak casks.

Yitzchak Goodman said...

According to the CRC website

Blended Whiskeys are acceptable only with certification, unless appearing on the list below:

Bushmills Irish – (all except Green label)
Canadian – Canadian Club (regular only - not Classic, Premium or Special Reserve)
Crown Royal (all)
Gibsons (MK on label)
Irish – Jamison (all varieties)
Seagram’s (VO and 7 Canadian Blend only, not American Blend)

Straight Bourbon is usually safe.

Jewish Blogmeister said...

I'm not going to argue but I must point out not that everything the CRC does or writes is gold from a kashrut perspective. On thier recommended list of hashgachos is the Vaad Harabanim of Flatbush which according to many (including people in the biz) is not very reliable.

Yitzchak Goodman said...

Their website does a good job of assembling information from other Kashrus agencies. Much of the research on liquors was done by the OU. And the CRC itself has a good reputation "in the biz."