Rolling on with our recent trend of bringing new brands to the UK market (and beyond), we are pleased to introduce you to the Spirits of Hven. A Swedish whisky distillery which produces gin and vodka in a most nontraditional way (most gin does not take 2 years to produce), Hven is located on a tiny island that was home to astronomer Tycho Brahe in the 16th Century.
When I imagined the journey to an island off the coast of Sweden in early March, I pictured snow, ice, and travelling in a boat exactly like like the one below.
Exactly as I had imagined it...
Perhaps I’ll give the sun deck a miss, though.
On the island of Hven, situated in the Oresund Strait between Denmark and Sweden, live about 300 people. Everyone knows everyone else. Of course, this is exactly where you’d expect to find one of the first distilleries in Sweden producing whisky, and only one of three pot still distilleries in the country.
The small island of Hven
Hven was once home to Tycho Brahe...
...Hven is now home to about 300 people
The distillery itself is a small, but rapidly growing, facility. When I arrived, they had already broken ground on their (rather significant) expansion.
A sunny day at the distillery
After a big lunch to stave off the cold weather, I was quickly handed a lab coat and ushered into the distilling room where all the magic happens. Henric Molin, Hven’s Master Distiller, began to explain the painstaking precision with which Hven produces their spirits. As my eyes widened at the sight of their beautiful stills, Henric proceeded to explain to me how various molecules react to heat, pressure, and time.
Master of his craft.
Suddenly, I’m transported to my university days and the Chemistry course I took. Twice. He goes on to describe the reactions between different compounds and using words that all seem to end in “phate” and “osis”. Suffice it to say, this is where science meets craft, and Henric has a mastery of both.
The spirit safe at Hven
This attention to detail is carried through everything Hven do. For many distillers, it takes less than 24 hours to make vodka and gin. For Hven, it takes up to 2 YEARS. Both their Organic Vodka and Gin spend anywhere between 6 and 24 months in oak casks before being redistilled and bottled into what we now know and love. This process leads to a totally unique flavour profile that really must be tasted to be believed.
Spirit of Hven Organic Vodka – 40% – £29.95
Tasting Note for Spirit of Hven Organic Vodka
Nose: Buttery vanilla, dried grass.
Palate: Mouth-coating and sweet, a slight minerality.
Finish: Sweet barley and black pepper.
Overall: Smooth and flavourful.
Spirit of Hven Organic Gin – 40% – £29.95
Tasting Note for Spirit of Hven Organic Gin
Nose: Elegant with fresh citrus in balance with vanilla and gentle juniper.
Palate: There's a depth of flavour here and a quality that's clearly evident. Warming Sichuan pepper and anise aren't overpowering.
Finish: Citrusy, oily, long and smooth aftertaste.
Overall: A little slice of heaven on earth.
At their heart of Hven is whisky production, and their whisky is produced from grain to glass with sustainability in mind. The Spirit of Hven Seven Stars No.1 Dubhe is the first of seven limited edition single malt whiskies that will be released from the Hven distillery each year through 2019. Every step in the production is done on site: steeping, malting, drying, milling, mashing, fermenting, distilling, and finally, maturation. Hven uses a combination of barley grown on the island, as well as some sourced from Europe. The spirit is aged in a combination of American, French and Spanish oak, each of which lends different flavours to final product. The whisky is then bottled at 45% ABV and shipped to our fine shores.
Spirit of Hven Single Malt Whisky – 45% – £89.98
Tasting Note for Spirit of Hven Seven Stars No.1 Dubhe Single Malt Whisky
Nose: Vanilla, Maraschino, red apple and drying grass that's just catching in the sun.
Palate: Black pepper, greengages, vanilla, a dusting of cocoa just before a wave of peat and oak.
Finish: Warm and slightly drying.
Overall: A truly celestial dram.
Having visited this place and seen the magic of the distillery and the charm of the people who run it, we absolutely had to make these available for you, our wonderful customers. We hope you enjoy them as much as we do.