Scotch whisky is increasingly drunk by the Chinese as a mixer with green tea. Demand has nearly doubled, reducing supply to such an extent that percentage price increases going into double figures are on the cards.
In Scotland, distillers buy whisky from each other to make up their blended whiskies, which can contain up to 30 different malts.
Duncan Baldwin, regional director at Angus Dundee Distillers, said: "We have noticed there is not much whisky available to buy any more, and what there is sells at a much higher price.
"The bigger players have realised that sales forecasts for their brands in places such as China mean they need to guard their stocks to furnish this demand. Demand from China is not losing its momentum."
Baldwin said that Angus Dundee, along with other independent distillers, was now considering price increases here in order to reflect supply shortages. "We have to increase our prices due to the supply and demand situation. You cannot survive if you don't adjust your prices accordingly."
Distillers are unsure how long the situation could last. One industry source said: "It looks as though prices may have to go up considerably, and we aren't sure if the situation will stabilise soon."
A spokesman for the Scotch Whisky Association (SWA) confirmed that distillers had pricing concerns.
"We have heard similar statements from distillers. We don't really know what will happen but continued growth in China is expected," he said.
He said that some distillers were looking at long-term solutions for the export demand. "They are increasing capacity at their distilleries to reflect this," he added.
Figures published by the SWA show that the overall value of global Scotch whisky exports rose 4% year-on-year in 2005, reaching £2.36bn. Exports to China were up by 86% on the previous year, to £46m.