KWL Update: Grey Goose Vodka and More

2 Adar I 5771
February 6, 2011

kwl-logoThe following updates provided by Rabbi Shmuel Semelman of Kosher Whiskey & Liquor.

In an effort to add a measure of clarity, JKN adds the following, taken from the KLBD’s “The Really Jewish Food Guide – 2011/5771”.

Anyone interested in purchasing the guide may do so at the KLBD website.

PAGE 26: Using the Product Listings
The information in this guide applies only to products sold in the UK. Products manufactured for export may have different formulations even if coming from the same factory.

PAGE 26: Products which are kosher certified by the London Beth Din
In order to enhance kosher facilities across the UK in recent years, the London Beth Din has adopted the American kosher logo system, in addition to its traditional fully-supervised hechsher…Some products may not bear the KLBD logo on their current packaging. As in the American system, baked products are not necessarily Pat Yisrael, and dairy products may be Chalav Akum.

PAGE 26: Products without certification, approved for the guide
Products listed in the Kashrut Guide which are neither supervised nor bearing the logo have been investigated by our food technologists and approved on this basis. The investigation cover ingredients, any processing aids and shared use of equipment. They are carried out primarily by correspondence, with occasional factory visits where necessary.

The following items are ‘authorized’ (without certification) by KLBD, the Kashrus Division of the London Beis Din.

1. Grey Goose Vodka La Poire – Click here to see the update on the KWL website

2. Crème Cassis Gabriel Boudier – Click here to see the update on the KWL website

3. Ouzo Mini (Aperitif) – Click here to see the update on the KWL website

The following is ‘certified’ by the KLBD
4. Bowmore Islay Single Malt whiskey – Click here to see the update on the KWN website


  • Pithfrompinhas
    February 6, 2011 - 10:26 | Permalink

    I am now more confused than before.

  • josh
    February 6, 2011 - 17:54 | Permalink

    I don’t see how ‘the London Beth Din has adopted the American kosher logo system’. The LBD has either certified or ‘approved’. In the US, there are many hechsherim and maybe many people even tolerate the lone ambiguous ‘K’, but in contrast there are a few good English hechsherim who have certified only a couple of hundreds of products (a small ratio compared the US and South African success) and this ‘approved’ designation in the famous Jewish food guide.

  • February 6, 2011 - 18:08 | Permalink

    All french vodka is aged in wine casks. Many others are also, even though they don’t publicize same. Single malts are also aged in wine casks.

    From 38 + years of experience: Any vodka, drink, shnapps, etc that does not have the certifiers kosher emblem on each bottle should NOT be used, regardless of what the certifier claims, as they have no recourse at all.

    Confused? In kashrus certification there is a saying “If they can’t convince you, they’ll confuse you”, which serves the same purpose as they know you are too embarressed to ask again till you understand.

  • David
    February 6, 2011 - 23:44 | Permalink

    Josh and other confused people:-
    Although I left the UK and made aliya quite a few decades ago, I will summarize briefly what I know and remember.

    Those who kept and keep kashrut properly among anglo Jewry had and have the following options:-

    a) There were a very limited amount of products that were manufactured by frum Jewish factories and had a fully fledged hechsher on them. Nowadays this has expanded, as well as imports from Israel.

    b) The majority of products were known to be kosher by virtual of the fact that they appeared in a booklet put out by the London Bet Din. Nowadays, this booklet is printed and revised every year with real time updates being published on the Internet throughout the year. As a child, I remember the 1969 book and the 1972 book, with maybe a sweet list being put out in between. (Or maybe the 1972 book was the sweet list – just cannot remember.) These products are known as “approved” but they are not “certified”.

    c) Also guide lines were published (in lieu of not having regular lists) on how to understand the ingredient list on the product. For example, “vegetable oil” was kosher ; “edible oil” was suspect of not being kosher; and “edible vegetable oil” confused people (at least I was confused).

    d) Recently the LBD logo system is being used in a limited way. This is similar to OU in the USA, where the logo is printed discretely on the package so kosher consumers would know it is kosher, yet it is just like any other product on the general supermarket shelf. Products with the logo are called “certified”. I do not think it has taken off as much as the OU or OK in America.

    Those who identified themselves as chareidi (“black hat” or whatever the equivalent term was a generation ago), would typically only accept option a and occasionally accept a limited set of products from option b.

    Today, afaik the main standard of kashrut, for those who keep kashrut is still centric on option b, although many more strive for products with hechsher especially as there are products from Israel with hechsher and they are also helping the Israeli economy.

    I would not be surprised if there are still people who do option c and read the ingredient lists and rely on this even if not printed in the book. 9 or so years ago, when visiting the UK, we mistakenly bought a mayonnaise that was not printed in the book and so I consulted with the local Av-Bet-Din and he guided me on this to ascertain whether the product was kosher. (I think the type of the vinegar was the main issue here.)

    Because of the complexity in food manufacturing these days, I understand that option c is the least endorsed, except for possibly the most basic of foods.

  • David
    February 7, 2011 - 00:01 | Permalink

    Yudel Shain -
    Concerning whiskeys etc, that were stored in casks that were previously used for wine:-

    Without remembering the details, I think we are talking about a machloket [halachic argument] between respected poskim. There are those who say that any residual wine is annulled as is a low enough percentage, in any case has a “taam lifgam” i.e. is a spoiled taste and does not do anything significant to enhance the flavor, thus the product can be deemed kosher. And there are those that say that the residual wine is there specifically to enhance the flavor, thus the product is not kosher.

    There are many issues, that over the last generations, Torah observant Jews have become stricter in practice. Among those, for whom Scotch Whiskey is an important part of their culture, this might have to wait another generation for them to follow the stricter opinion.

  • David
    February 7, 2011 - 00:11 | Permalink

    For my feedback of February 6, 2011 at 23:44 I need to apologize to Josh, as I stated:
    “Josh and other confused people” and I now see that Josh does not define himself as confused, and in fact my feedback comes to complement what he says.

    I should have stated:
    “Pithfrompinhas and other confused people”

    Yechiel – If it is not too much hassle to substitute my introductory sentence making this apology redundant, please do this.

  • Yudel Shain
    February 7, 2011 - 17:17 | Permalink

    If the “taam” would be “pogum” the whiskey or vodka manufacturers wouldn’t spend the money to purchase & age the whiskey, etc in the wine casks. Some of them even advertise “aged in wine/sherry casks”. The largest purchasers of used wine barrels are the whiskey manufacturers.

    Wine barrels aren’t cheap ($500.00+@), plus factor in shipping etc

    The entire whiskey industry is based on “secrets passed down”, so they never (and are exempt) from stating the ingredients, yet the one item some will brag about is the “wine barrels”, many others are also using wine barrels but publicizing the fact.

    It has been proven over the years that “lists” are not reliable, a certification on the product includes a legally binding contract with the producer.

  • David
    February 8, 2011 - 12:25 | Permalink

    Tם Yudel Shain:
    Actually the halachic arguments used by those who permit these whiskeys is that the claimed enhancement properties of the wine barrels is just an advertisement brag, but what really allows it to be kosher is that the “flavor” is halachicly considered spoiled – not something the manufacturers are likely to want to publicize.

    Concerning kashrut lists, I think that everyone agrees that a kashrut indication on the package is a better option than relying on lists that can quickly become out of date.

    As previously stated, the Jewish community in Britain have the resources and political/commercial strength to only support this in a limited way. This is another reason why Jews in the UK should make aliya to Israel .

  • Alizah Hochstead
    February 9, 2011 - 09:14 | Permalink

    To confuse the matter even more we have those manufacturers that refinish the casks with fresh wine to insure the aroma/taste of the scotch (or other whiskey..This is not listed on the bottles yet._

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