Icelandic Whisky Seeks Protected Status

FLóki Whisky

Icelandic distillery Eimverk has applied for protected status for the product name “Icelandic whisky.” Bændablaðið reports that the application was received by Iceland’s Food and Veterinary Authority (MAST) in September and is being processed. If granted, the designation would limit which products could be labelled “Icelandic whisky,” reserving the term only for those produced in Iceland with local ingredients.

Eimverk distillery, founded in 2009, produces Icelandic liquors from local ingredients. Their single-malt Flóki whisky is produced locally in small batches using only Icelandic barley and Icelandic spring water.

Read more on Eimverk distillery’s Flóki whisky production

In December 2014, the Icelandic parliament enacted the Product Names Protection Act, which allows for the protection of product names on the basis of origin, territory, or traditional uniqueness. Such laws, often manifested as Designation of Origin, are widespread in Europe, where they are often applied to artisanal products such as French champagne and Spanish ham.

If it received protected status, Icelandic whisky would be the third product to do so. Icelandic traditional sweaters, known as lopapeysur, received that status earlier this year and Icelandic lamb was granted the distinction in 2019.

The Spirit of Exploration

whisky barrels

There are some very good reasons not to make whisky in Iceland. Small local market, a law in place that prohibits advertising alcohol, a tradition for drinking vodka and a local type of barley deemed useless for alcohol distillation. Instead of leaving it altogether to Scotland, Ireland and the usual suspects, family-owned Eimverk Distillery accepted this multifaceted challenge and is now making a micro-batch whisky with some impressive results.

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