The difference between top shelf whiskey and well whiskey can make your wallet and your taste buds take a hit. But drinking a nice, smooth whiskey neat can now be achieved by pouring yourself a glass of the cheapest whiskey your budget can buy. Time and Oak, a new start-up company in Oregon, helps whiskey drinkers age their favorite bottle in just 24 hours with a laser-etched, charred wooden stick packaged as “Whiskey Elements.”

The oak sticks “age” the drink and filter out its impurities to make cheap whiskey taste expensive. It is intended to be chemically similar to aged whiskey. They achieve this effect via “accelerated transpiration through capillary action,” wrote Tony Peniche, founder of the company, on the Kickstarter page.

Peniche and his team made “Whiskey Elements” by cutting the wood horizontally. They cut grooves in the oak sticks to increase the overall-surface area that touches the liquid. This provides a “shorter distance for whiskey to travel through its repetitive exposure to the capillaries” to ensure the whiskey matures faster and becomes a much higher quality.

Time and Oak met with numerous labs and chemists to have them test popular bottles of top shelf whiskey — all over 10 years old and each over $100/bottle — for chemical contents with cheaper versions treated with the oak stick. The cheap whiskeys contained high levels of methoxy-phenyl-oxime, a chemical commonly found in pig and mouse feces, and acetaldehyde, a compound blamed for hangovers, according to Royal Society of Chemistry. The aged top-shelf whiskeys contained almost none of these chemicals.

When the researchers added the oak sticks to the cheap whiskey and then waited 24 hours before testing them again, the results were “amazing.” The oak sticks were found to replicate the taste of a top-shelf whiskey. “They showed characteristics found in top-shelf aged whiskeys with notably higher levels of the chemicals responsible for good flavors and smells, as well as a significant reduction in methoxy-phenyl-oxime and acetaldehyde,” Peniche wrote.

The folks over at Gizmodo decided to conduct an experiment of their own to test the effectiveness of Whiskey Elements. Adam Clark Estes, Gizmodo reporter, dropped the oak sticks into two bottles of whiskey: one very cheap bottle of Jim Beam and one less cheap bottle of Jack Daniels. Estes waited the necessary amount of time to let the whiskey “age” and did a blind taste test with his coworkers by having each one taste four whiskeys: two Jim Beams and two Jack Daniels with and without the stick.

Gizmodo’s results found people preferred the cheap whiskey without the Whiskey Elements inside. Regular Jack Daniels was a favorite followed by regular Jim Beam as a close second. However, an unnamed colleague actually liked the Jack-and-stick best.

Realistically, an oak stick won’t turn your cheap bottle of whiskey into a rich Macallan, but it’s a fantasy to entertain that has already surpassed its pledged goal of $18,000 with $195,982 and 5,005 backers. Whiskey Elements will set you back $12 to pre-order plus shipping. You can also opt for natural flavored sticks, including vanilla, cherry, maple, smokey, and peaty to infuse into spirits.

Time and Oak reminds you “IT'S YOUR WHISKEY, DRINK IT THE WAY YOU WANT."