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Compass Box launches ‘transparency’ campaign

Compass Box has launched the Scotch Whisky Transparency campaign after being called out for breaking EU regulations by revealing the age components of two of its whiskies.

Compass Box Whisky has launched the Scotch Whisky Transparency campaign

In October last year, Compass Box published and then removed the full recipes for This is Not a Luxury Whisky and Flaming Heart on its website, which included details of the distilleries involved, the cask types, the ages and their proportions in the final blend.

Following a complaint from an anonymous brand owner, the Scotch Whisky Association (SWA) informed the company of the breach of EU legislation.

Now, Compass Box is calling for change with its Scotch Whisky Transparency Campaign by giving Scotch producers the “freedom but not the obligation” to publish the age of all components included in their whiskies.

John Glaser, founder of Compass Box, wrote on the website: “It turns out that Scotch whisky is one of the few products where it is prohibited by law to be fully open with consumers.

“This is an issue that affects every corner of the Scotch world (from single malt distillers to blenders) and limits the ability of the producer to share pertinent information with their customers.

“We believe the current regulations should change. That Scotch whisky producers should have the freedom to offer their customers complete, unbiased and clear information on the age of every component used in their whiskies.

“That those customers have the right to know exactly what they’re drinking.”

The campaign explains that under current EU laws, Scotch producers currently have one of two options when it comes to age statements – displaying the youngest age in the blend on packaging and marketing materials, or including no age information thus releasing a no-age-statement (NAS) expression.

Full disclosure

As such, Compass Box is suggesting EU legislation should be amended to include a third option allowing producers “full disclosure” and the option to choose, if they wish, to provide “complete, unbiased and clear information on every component in their product – with or without a headline age statement outlining the age of the youngest spirit.”

“We believe that Scotch producers should be given the freedom but not the obligation to include the age of all the components that go into their whiskies to bring them into line with the vast majority of other industries where total transparency is not only permitted but encouraged,” the campaign website continued.

“We believe such a change would be positive in two ways: it would give greater clarity about what has gone into the whiskies they’re buying – allowing them to make more informed choices.

“It would benefit the Scotch industry itself by taking a positive step to satisfy the growing consumer demand for transparency, opening up more opportunities for creative blending across different aged components, and protecting Scotch’s current reputation for quality.”

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