Why our bottles are labelled 'this is not whisky'

The EU reason 

The EU tightly governs certain definitions and labelling rights for spirit drinks. This means that a bottle of spirit has to adhere to specific conditions before it can be labelled and sold as a bottle of whisky within the EU. One of these conditions is that the fresh distillate aka new make must age on wooden casks for a minimum of three years before it can be recognized as whisky. As our spirits have matured for 7-25 days, we are around 1000 days short from being able to label it as whisky. But why does the three-year-rule exist? Does it ensure quality? And who does it benefit? 

The historical reason

To find out where the three-year-rule comes from we have to go to the UK in the early 1900s during the WWI. British Prime Minister, David Lloyd George, was a fierce abstainer from alcohol and looked to eradicative British spirit production. A total prohibition was not politically feasible, so he settled on a law stating that alcohol must be matured in oak casks for a minimum of three years. A long maturation period was not common practice and he believed this would essentially destroy the spirit business. Three years later he was partly right as very few producers had survived three years of sales and logistical burdens. A side effect was that whisky quality rose significantly causing the law to stay in place but only for whisky producers. Later on, the EU as you know adopted the regulation.

The scientific reason

Yes, the three-year-rule did positively impact the whisky quality in the 20th century. However, it is a lot more doubtful that a minimum maturation period is significantly improving whisky quality today. Whisky quality is dependent on many factors and new make does not magically becomes great whisky by sitting in a wooden cask for three years. All whisky makers know that a dry wooden barrel won't do anything good for the new make no matter how many years it sits there. Adding the same new make to a dry 700 L oak barrel for three years and to a 100 L virgin oak barrel for one year will produce two different spirits. One will be a whisky, but will not have any sweet oaky flavours that good whisky has. Number two can't be called whisky, but will due to the quality of the cask (smaller and younger) have the taste, colour and nose that characterizes a whisky.

The capitalistic reason

The whisky industry lives by the legend that older is more expensive. Yes, angels share contribute to losses and therefore higher prices. But aging whisky in big warehouses is not "costing" money, it is an investment. Putting whisky in a barrel only generates money. It's costly for small producers because they can't bind several years worth of production in unsold goods and don't have deep pockets to pay for wages and rent as a startup. So our point is that a consumer should judge a whisky's price point by the amount of effort that went into making it. We spend a lot in heating, electricity, equipment, quality control and development. So we think and believe that we are on par with the other great whisky producers.

Our reason

So our bottles are not whiskies, because we skipped the waiting game and went our own way to develop a malt spirit with a focus on quality rather a faux quality stamp.