Let's try some Christmas aquavit
I am again ready to boldly (perhaps blindly) go where I have not gone before (perhaps wisely). Here are my reviews of three Christmas aquavits that will all go on sale in Norway starting tomorrow morning. The first two are produced by Norwegian distillers that also make whisky; Arcus and Det Norske Brenneri. The third and final one is from a small Swedish producer that I have no prior knowledge of.
I should probably say a few words about aquavit. It is a distilled spirit that is mainly produced in Scandinavia, where it has been a tradition for centuries. Aquavit is distilled from grain and potatoes, and is flavoured with a variety of herbs. The main spice should be caraway or dill. It is must be bottled at a minimum of 37.5% ABV.
Løiten Jule-aquavit 2018, NAS, 41.5 %
First off a Christmas aquavit from the dominating player in the Norwegian aquavit market, Arcus Norway AS. This is a first, in what appears to be a new annual series, distilled from potatoes. A 50 cl bottle of Løiten Jule-aquavit 2018 will sell for NOK 319.90 (10489402).
Nose: Somewhat bitter and not all that sweet on the nose. An abundance of green herbs and rich spices. The caraway is there, but not dominant. Cardamom, nuts and hints of citrus.
Taste: Medium body. Green and herbal, now with more sweetness than on the nose. Lots of Christmas feel here, but I also detect notes of cucumber.
Finish: Medium long finish. A light and sweet ginger like character now.
Comments: I imagine this is a good match with Christmas dinner.
Nissedram, NAS, 41.8 %
The second dram is the Nissedram, produced by Det Norske Brenneri AS. This product is also distilled from potatoes. You can buy a 50 cl bottle pf Nissedram at NOK 349.50 (10490202).
Nose: Lots of sweet licorice, star anise, mandarins and the sweet, sweet smell of Christmas. Lovely spices, including a mellow note of caraway.
Taste: Sweet, full-bodied and dangerously easy to drink. Quite light on the spices. Hints of citrus.
Finish: Medium long finish. Soft notes of pepper mixed in with the more Christmas-y spices towards the end.
Comments: A delicious aquavit, especially for those that perhaps are a bit sceptical to this spicy dram. Hardcore aquavit nerds might find it a bit too mild. A great alternativ both as an apéritif and a digestif.
Snälleröds Uppsala Akvavit, NAS, 38 %
The third aquavit is a Swedish one. The Snälleröds Uppsala Akvavit is sold in 70 cl bottles and the price is NOK 289,90 (10496301).
Nose: Comes across as very light at first. I have to really go looking for the aromas here. With time I detect the usual spices like caraway and cardamom, but also notes of leather and polish. Citrus and an edge of something .. bitter-ish.
Taste: Thin, if not skinny. Light on spices and sweetness. Hard to really pinpoint any specific flavors.
Finish: Medium to short finish. No further development.
Comments: Doesn't really manage to match the two other aquavits here.
Sláinte! - Thomas