Last week, Malmaison Edinburgh hosted the launch of a new Norwegian Distillery brand, Bivrost, in the UK. Guests got the opportunity to taste arctic canapés and sample Bivrost® spirits with northern light saturated glacier water, and arctic berries.
At a latitude of 69° inside the arctic circle, Aurora Spirit is the most northerly distillery in the world, just east of Tromsø.
Aurora Spirit is also one of the newest distilleries in the world, having been founded in 2015, with also a visitor attraction that opened in summer 2016. The name Aurora Spirit comes from the Aurora Borealis – the northern lights, which dance over the distillery – and ‘Spirit’ as related to both state of mind or personality, as well as the alcohol.
What do a Scotsman, doctor, scuba diver and hairdresser have in common?
A couple of years ago, a group of friends, Hans (the doctor), Tor (the scuba diver) and his wife Anne-Lise (the hairdresser), gathered in a cottage in Arctic Lyngen to discuss their common interest in the local food & drink industry. They came to the agreement that there was a lack of local quality drinks, and tourists visiting Arctic Norway drank only foreign products. After visiting Scotland, Hans was astonished by the similarities with both countries, but one thing was different – Scotland has Whisky. That was the moment he pictured the idea of building an Arctic distillery, that would not only create a local drink, but a tourist attraction with a name associated with Arctic Norway.
Chairman Hans-Olav Holtermann Eriksen
The project was funded by Innovation Norway and the team has quickly gained new connections, working closely with Colin Houston of the Scottish Highlands.
Guest enjoyed artctic music as well as entertainment from Vikings reading the Norse text of Havamal-Odins wisdom and advice – transated in English for the Bivrost launch
Chez Mal Bar bartenders prepared special cocktails using Bivrost spirits
Friends and family came over from Norway specially for the launch
Delicious canapes prepared by the team at Malmaison
The brand name, Bivrost, was chosen for a reason. Bivrost comes from old Norse language and is one of the names used for the Northern Lights. Bivrost was believed to be a bridge between heaven and earth, guarded by the fierce god Heimdallr.
The company has received very positive feedback from the guests, who sampled the Bivrost gin, Vodka and Aquavit.
The purest spirits
Aurora Spirit make some of the purest drinks in the world, using melted and purified glacier water, mixing it with locally harvested botanicals. This is water that was frozen more than 5,000 years ago, forming large glaciers high in the alps. Over the last 100 years these glaciers have gradually begun to melt, providing the main ingredient in Bivrost alcoholic beverages.
Image source: AuroraSpirit
Aurora Spirit’s distillery and visitor centre is located at Årøybukt in Lyngen, previously a NATO coastal fort during the Cold War. The distillery is in beautiful surroundings near the fjord, with natural shelter and beautiful views of the majestic Lyngen Alps and the island of Årøya, which has an interesting cultural and military history.
The visitor experience centre offers visitors the chance to enjoy some of Norway’s scenery and best arctic experiences including dog sledding, snowmobile safari, hot tubs, snow shoe experiences, mountain treks, accommodation, Sami cultural experiences and fast RIB trips on the fjord.
Locally sourced ingredients
Aurora Spirit products are based on pure Arctic ingredients. They source only local ingredients including plants, juniper, lingo berries, cloudberries, crowberries, and mountain herbs, which contain high levels of omega-3 and are rich in antioxidants. The short Arctic summer, with 24-hour daylight provides special characteristics to all raw materials used to make Bivrost. The summer midnight sun ripens the berries in double quick time and produces berries bursting with intense fruit flavours.
Innovative distilling methods
Aurora Spirit products are distilled in one of the most modern distilleries in Europe, iPad controlled and online. Technology is no substitute, however, for the skilled handcraft they rely on when making Bivrost products.
Based on the unique expertise of the renowned engineer Leif Nerhammar, AuroraSpirit has developed a still designed for making several types of alcohol. With combination of pot and column stills, they can make vodka, gin, aquavit and whisky. The still has a mash volume of 1200 litres and allows the distiller several thousand settings, making the production a piece of artisan art.
Company has many unique selling points: they are the world’s northernmost brewery, there are handicrafts, isbravann and arctic berries
BIVROST® GIN (500ml / Alc 44%vol)
Arctic botanicals, berries and spices are gently infused with glacial melt water and distilled to create a unique and distinctive flavour. Classic juniper with a distinct Arctic edge. Enjoy as a cocktail gin or a complexly flavoured gin and tonic – garnish with a slice of lime or add some ginger for a kick!
AROMA: Bivrost® Gin is a silky gin with fine flavour and elegant balance. Delicate aromas and flavours of arctic berries, roots, spices and juniper combine with a clean, medium body and a medium‐length citrus and spicy finish.
BIVROST® AQUAVIT (500ml / Alc 40%vol)
Young, clear spirit infused with exotic spices, created with a fusion of modern and traditional Norwegian distilling techniques. Classic with an Arctic twist. Serve straight from the freezer into an iced glass and enjoy with gravlax or smoked salmon…or however you like it.
AROMA: Bivrost® Aquavit is a delicate and sophisticated medium‐to‐full body aquavit with hints of florals and citrus fruits, with a very long and warming spicy finish.
BIVROST® VODKA (500ml / Alc 40%vol)
Handcrafted and distilled in 14 stages, to create perhaps the purest Arctic spirit, enjoy as a cocktail mixer or straight from the freezer for that unique Arctic experience – a real winter warmer.
AROMA: Bivrost® Vodka is a fresh and clean spirit with a smooth and silky finish, suitable for mixing your favourite drink or simply enjoyed on its own.
Export and international trading
AuroraSpirit UK Ltd.
The Birches, Littleburn
Ross-shire, IV8 8PE