A Matter of Taste, Not Time

04 Dec 2019
4 min read
Swiss whisky brand Seven Seals uses an innovative formula to produce flavor-filled whiskies and malts fit for whisky lovers and aficionados alike, without the need for extensive maturation periods. FOUR finds out more…

A skill handed down over generations from father to son and expert to apprentice, the craft of whisky production has been continually tried and tested, eventually evolving into the much-loved single malt as we know it today. Crossing paths with such whisky connoisseurs and sharing in their knowledge is how the Seven Seals founders were able to perfect their art of producing whisky. In the Seven Seals process, time is seen as one of the least important factors, while flavor is the element that reigns supreme.

Taking cognizance of the fact that whisky’s aging barrels have a massive impact on the end-product, and acknowledging that with the current demand for barrels, their quality has decreased, which in turn negatively affects the whisky, Seven Seals have re-imagined the whisky-making process to minimize the need for barrels.

In addition, with new legislation coming into effect, the availability of good-quality barrels will be limited, and this severe bottleneck in barrel supplies will result in a decreased whisky quality. Thus, over the past few years, various new distillers boasting innovative maturation process have entered the whisky market, and Seven Seals is one of them.

New production processes have indicated that time spent in the barrel is not the only factor that defines whisky’s flavor and superiority. Heat, high pressure and various mechanical influences have been seen to successfully accelerate the flavor-absorption process in the barrel. Speeding up the maturing process has two major advantages: on the one hand, the many barrels that spend decades in storage can be put back into circulation faster and, on the other, the cost of storage is significantly reduced.

Seven Seals aims to reap the benefits from quicker maturing times, while maintaining the quality of whisky production through innovation – and take it one step further. After two years of intensive development, Seven Seals has achieved their goal, presenting with great pride the first single malts produced according to the Seven Seals method according tothe unique formula:

Finishing: Ennoblement × Celerity + Quality = 7S

Using the above formula, Seven Seals has crafted two single malts and have won the 2019 Swiss Whisky Award for innovation. Here are their award-winning creations:

Peated Single Malt Port Wood Finish: a single malt with subtle, complex aromas, and a characteristic smoky, peaty flavor that will leave you longing for more. Full-bodied dried-fruit flavors paired with hints of honey and oriental spices will delight the palate. The flavors linger through to the mild, remarkably long finish.

Single Malt Port Wood Finish: a combination of different malts from the same distillery results in the outstandingly dynamic and complex character of this single malt. A harmonious symphony of flavor underpinned by a hint of peat smoke, honey and a plethora of dried fruit defines this malt’s tasting notes. Setting off a firework of flavor with every sip, this malt culminates with a whiff of various spices and a long finish.

Single Malt Whisky Sherry Wood Finish: taking your palate on a stroll through a Christmas market, this whisky brims with the lively aromas of toffee, gingerbread, roasted almonds, candy and festive spices. Blending harmoniously on the palate, these flavors end-off with a lingering note of toffee and walnuts, and a hint of orange in the finish.

Oliver Schneider, the Head of Marketing & Sales at Seven Seals, tells us more about the brand…

Can you tell us a bit about Seven Seals Whisky?

Seven Seals Distillery AG is a small committed company in the innovative Spirits production and marketing. The main focus of the company is on Whisky production. The company is headquartered in Stans (NW) in Switzerland and is committed to innovation in the production of spirits – especially in whisky.

What do you think was one of the biggest surprises or lessons you learned along the way in the whisky business?

That people pay so much attention to the age of a drink and give so much weight to a number on a bottle. A number on a bottle or an age indication does not say whether a drink is good or better than a younger one or one without an age indication.

In your opinion, what makes your brand and its whisky so special?

Oh, a lot of things. The invented single malts are milder than conventional whiskies, even in cask strength (64% alcohol by volume) compared to standard 43% branded products. The annoying aftertaste of tanning agents is not present in our single malts. Our process avoids high capital commitment due to excessive storage time. The inventive process makes whisky production (as well as the production of other “brown” spirits such as rum, cognac, etc.) more elegant, predictable, cost-effective, hygienic, environmentally friendly and leads to better products overall.

What interesting trends/themes are going on in the world of whisky distilling?

If you look back 20 years, there were about 110 whisky producers worldwide. The development of the last years produced a thousand distilleries. In Switzerland alone about 50 different whiskies are produced. Most of the whiskies produced come from beer brewers and distillers.

But no matter who produces whiskies – the basic distillate must always be in the barrel, so the demand for barrels has exploded in recent years. Seven Seals wants to counteract this trend. With our process we can use five times more barrels than all our friends in whisky production. Why? A whisky must mature at least 3 years in the barrel, that it may call itself whisky.

Tell us more about your philosophy of “Taste Matters” – as opposed to “Time Matters” during the maturation process and why this makes your whisky’s taste profile so unique?

As I said before the annoying aftertaste of tanning agents is not present at our single malts. Our process is scalable and highly adaptable to the direction of aromatization. The manufacturer does not have to decide today what he wants to sell in 10 years.

The superiority of our process in terms of material results are only from the fact that it makes use of generally known knowledge of physics, which eliminates the traditional process of maturing.

As a result of the barrel shortage in whisky production, Seven Seals has developed their own innovative formula to maintain the quality of their whisky production despite this shortage – tell us more about this…

We’re called “Seven Seals” because of the book with seven seals. This is our secret, which we will keep secret for some time. ?

To find out more, visit Seven Seals’ website or email them.