WHEN it comes to ranking Scotland's most revered assets, it seems the contents of a quaich are more valued than tartan, television or Tam O'Shanter.

A new survey has found Scotch whisky, traditionally drunk from a quaich or two-handled cup, is the country's most recognisable international asset.

As many revellers prepare to welcome 2013 this evening with a dram, whisky has topped a YouGov opinion poll to find Scotland's best commodity recognised the world over.

Loading article content

Scotch whisky came top with 26%, ahead of other Scottish icons such as tartan (8%), scenery (24%), Robert Burns (3%) and inventions (4%).

Rural Affairs Secretary Richard Lochhead said: "Scotch whisky is a truly iconic product and one that has an enviable reputation both at home and abroad. Its contribution to Scotland – in terms of jobs, tourism and exports – is truly impressive.

"We are renowned for producing the world's finest whiskies and that is very much testament to the skills of the people who work across the industry –whether it be producing the spirit or bottling and packing.

"Scotland's whisky sector is an international success story and, with exports at an all-time high, I'm sure it will continue to go from strength to strength."

The whisky industry makes up a growing proportion of exports, with 140 million cases exported worldwide every year.

In 2011, whisky exports were worth a record £4.23 billion, 23% up on 2010, with strong growth in Asia including 44% increases in both Singapore and China.

The Scotch whisky industry employs around 10,300 people and 20 million casks are currently maturing in warehouses.