Retailers have been asked to stop placing orders for a controversial whisky which caused outrage in Italy by evoking the Sicilian mafia.

As previously reported by The Herald, Cosa Nostra is branded as a Scotch whisky and sold in a bottle shaped like a machine gun with the words ‘post proelia premia’ – ‘after the battles come the rewards’ – emblazoned at the top.

Coldiretti, the association of agricultural entrepreneurs and farmers, along with Fileria Italia, an agriculture and industry alliance, hit out at the product and others which use mafia imagery and accused them of "trivialising and quasi-normalising a phenomenon which has brought pain and grief across our country".

Cosa Nostra is produced by a group called Bartex Wine & Spirits based in Poland, from a whisky named Glen Gate which is sold in the Eastern European country.

Read More: Mafia-inspired 'Scotch' whisky with machine gun bottle causes Italian outrage

After being approached by The Herald, the Scotch Whisky Association confirmed it was investigating the matter, and a complaint was made to the Portman Group which operates  a code of practice on the naming, packaging and promotion of alcoholic drinks.

That complaint has been upheld, with retailers now asked to stop placing orders for Cosa Nostra whisky.

Under rule 3.2(b) of the code a drink, it's packaging and any promotional material cannot "suggest any association with bravado, or with violent, aggressive, dangerous, anti-social or illegal behaviour".

A complaint was upheld under that rule, with the independent panel finding the product’s bottle was in the shape of a Thompson ‘Tommy’ gun, creating a direct link between the drink and a dangerous weapon.

Read More: Cosa Nostra whisky under investigation by Scotch Whisky Association

The drink’s name, Cosa Nostra, being the name of a well-known faction of the Italian Mafia combined with multiple references on the product’s primary and secondary packaging, "emphasised the product’s link to violent behaviour and the glamourisation of criminal activity", the panel found.

The drink was also found to be in breach of rule 3.3 which states "drink’s name, its packaging and any promotional material or activity should not cause serious or widespread offence".

Bartex, the maker of Cosa Nostra whisky, had previously been subject to a rare 'retailer alert bulletin' for selling a vodka called 'Red Army' in the shape of a Kalashnikov.

The Herald:

It was one of only seven issued between 2015 and 2020 and is the most serious sanciton the Portman Group can apply.

The group has been given the same sanction in light of failure to comply, with retailers requested to cease stocking the product.

Commenting on the decision, the Chair of the Independent Complaints Panel, Nicola Williams, said: “In light of rising gun crime in the UK, it is deeply irresponsible of an alcohol producer to glamorise firearms and market a product in this form.

"There were multiple and clear signs this product was in direct breach of the code and unfortunately follows a complaint for a similar product by the same producer which the Panel upheld in 2014. I hope Bartex Bartol takes note that such products are completely unacceptable.”