Of all the places to produce gin, perhaps Greenland isn’t the most obvious choice.
And yet it holds one of the purest of the necessary ingredients, water. It’s easy to dismiss water, but it can add a lot to a spirit. It’s essential (unless you really like drinking 100% alcohol, which I wouldn’t recommend) and the texture and flavour of the water can have an impact. It’s one of the reasons Martin Miller’s sends it’s gin out to Iceland for dilution, why Langton’s has it’s own borehole in the Lake District, and why Isfjord uses water from Greenland in it’s spirits.
In 2007 the distillers behind Isfjord discovered the impact that incredibly pure water can have by using water from icebergs from the Greenland Ice Cap in their process. The water has been preserved as ice for around 180,000 years – and completely devoid of pollutants, it’s the cleanest, purest water on earth.
Using this water, they have distilled two spirits. First, a vodka using blonde wheat, the vodka is distilled five times, before being let down with the Arctic water to 44%.
The vodka still, for it’s number of distillations, has a creamy nuttiness to it, and a gentle sweetness, which actually would make it ideal for sipping, or for a Martini – let alone in a cocktail. The water’s impact is obvious in the mouthfeel. It’s soft in your mouth – literally so, making it dangerously easy drinking.
The second spirit is gin. Isfjord Gin is made using 12 botanicals, but as many distillers are, they are coy about those that they use. What we are told is that they use juniper, lemongrass, angelica, cardamom and orange, before the Arctic water is again used to let it down to 44%.
Surprisingly, for it’s soft nature, this is almost a little too pure, too clean. It benefits from a little rinse of your glass with vermouth, or simply some time with some ice to make it a little more comfortable on the palate – or of course a little tonic.
Juniper is the predominant flavour, as you’d almost expect, giving it a pine background, but it’s not overly heavy, bringing in the floral citrus notes of the lemongrass and orange, earthiness of angelica and perfume of cardamom – again not a strong flavour as might be expected, or experienced with some of the other gins on the market at the moment.
Both these spirits have just hit the UK and they both offer an incredibly smooth, clean spirit that would lend itself to a huge range of drinks. Personally I wouldn’t want to lose any of the softness from this incredible water – so I’m thinking a wet Martini, orange as a garnish rather than lemon to meet the botanicals, and I’ll see you at the bar.