France is planning to usurp Scotland’s reputation as the home of the world’s best whisky, fired by a growing national obsession with the drink.

According to a study by retail consultants Bonial, the French drink more whisky than any other country – an average of 2.15 litres a year, compared to 1.8 litres in second-placed Uruguay and the US in third on 1.4 litres, The Times reported.

The French Federation of Spirits has also found that whisky accounts for nearly 40 per cent of the spirits market in France, compared to 25 per cent for pastis and just 0.5 per cent for cognac.

While 90 per cent of the whisky sold in France is from Scotland, the surge in popularity of the drink in recent years means experts who once worked on grape-derived alcohol are switching to the fledgling French whisky trade.

Nicolas Julhès, head of the Distillerie de Paris, said: “Within 15 years the world’s best whiskies will be French.

“We will be able to stop copying the Scots to bring a real French style. We have the greatest specialists on the ageing [of alcohol] who have always worked in wine and cognac.”

The rest of the top 10 whisky drinking nations, according to the Bonial study, were: Australia (1.3 litres), Spain (1.29 litres), United Arab Emirates (1.27 litres), the UK (1.25 litres), Ireland (1.24 litres) and India (1.24 litres).

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