A SCOTS whisky company has had an "irresponsible "advertising campaign banned for linking the consumption of alcohol with mountaineering.

The Advertising Standards has barred a Facebook and website ad for the single malt Scotch whisky River Rock after a complaint in which the ads were described as "irresponsible" because they linked alcohol with an activity in which drinking would be unsafe One advert, a post on River Rock's Facebook page, was headed Whisky & the Wilderness.

The text stated: "What better way to celebrate the launch of batch #2 than with a whisky tasting at 3500ft? Read our blog about last December’s memorable tasting …”.

It was accompanied with images of people mountaineering. A bottle of whisky was shown with the mountaineers in one of the images.

A second ad, a page on the riverrockwhisky.org website stated: "What better way to mark the launch of River Rock batch #2 than by summiting 3500 feet for a wild whisky tasting with good friends? "

The ASA considered consumers were likely to interpret that to mean whisky had been consumed at that altitude.

HeraldScotland:

A River Rock promotion as it was presented on the website's Whisky and the Wilderness feature on Tuesday, and which was first published in January

It referenced launching the second batch of the whisky with a "mountaineering adventure" on the Black Mount group of mountains which stands on the border of the Argyll and Bute and Highland council areas.

It described how they were to "summit" Stob Ghabhar which was "characterised by its narrow rocky ridges and steep sides".

It went on: "As with all good adventures, the conditions and landscape were ever changing and as the weather started to close in, it was waterproofs on and ice axes out for the snowy ascent. Snaking up single file with the snow and mist closing in. Thick snow at the summit, with 100ft vertical drops and narrow ridges made for a rewarding and memorable whisky tasting ...".

The ad featured various images of the mountaineers climbing the mountain.

One image showed a bottle of River Rock being poured into small tumblers. Another showed someone pouring whisky into a fellow mountaineer's cup.

The final paragraph stated: “The evening culminated in a welcome dram around the fire and a toast to good friends”, and was accompanied by an image of the group standing around a fire with mugs in their hands and one person pouring whisky into another person’s cup.

The ASA said that while it acknowledged the final paragraph referenced the mountaineers in the car park after they had descended the mountain, "that did not negate the strong impression that whisky had been consumed on the mountain, after which the participants would need to descend during treacherous weather conditions and on difficult terrain".

The ASA said that advertising rules state that promotions must not link alcohol with activities or locations in which drinking would be unsafe.

It permitted alcohol ads to feature sporting or physical activities, but stated that ads must not imply those activities were undertaken after the consumption of alcohol.

HeraldScotland:

A River Rock promotion as it was presented on the website's Whisky and the Wilderness feature on Tuesday, and which was first published in January

It said: "The ads must not appear again in their current form. We told RR Whisky Ltd to ensure their ads were not irresponsible in future, for example, by linking alcohol with activities or locations in which drinking would be unsafe or by suggesting that sporting or other physical activities had been undertaken after the consumption of alcohol."

The liquor was produced by Fife-based RR Whisky Ltd which said it did not believe the ads showed people drinking in a situation that would be unsafe or stated that dangerous activities should be undertaken whilst, or after, drinking their product.

And although the ads featured images of mountains, and people walking, the company did not believe the ads implied or stated that the people featured had consumed whisky.

They pointed out that images of bottles and pouring shots were commonly used in whisky marketing and conveyed a sense of the place the whisky was made.

The firm said a shot of pouring whisky had involved people in an outdoor, safe environment with a waterfall background and insisted the ads did not state or encourage people to drink whisky at the top of a mountain.

They maintained that the only drinking shots and whisky tasting took place after the walk.

They recognised that in posing the question “What better way to celebrate the launch of batch #2 than with a whisky tasting at 3500ft?” they may have inadvertently implied that the drinking took place there. In fact the tasting took place back at the car park area after the walk and they believed the imagery used clearly demonstrated that.

A company spokeswoman said River Rock had updated its content to "ensure it was clear to the reader that the whisky was consumed at the end of the day the images were taken".

The spokeswoman added: "The mountaineering images are still allowed be used to promote River Rock as long as the wording is always clear that no alcohol was consumed before or during outdoor activities."

A trio of whisky experts with more than 70 years of combine experience shaping some of Scotland's finest single malt brands launched the whisky in the autumn of last year in a move they said was aimed at "making whisky more welcoming".

River Rock single malt Scotch whisky is the brainchild of three former Edrington directors, Mark Geary, Laura Anderson and Bill Farrar, who have worked on leading single malt whisky brands including The Macallan, Highland Park and The Glenrothes.

The brand aimed to challenge the “elitist image” that can sometimes be associated with malt whisky.

And in launching it was said to be inspired by a passion for the outdoors and a commitment to protect the environment.