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Icelandic London Dry Gin

The burgeoning interest in craft spirits has propelled innovative distilleries worldwide to reinterpret classic spirits, and Iceland is no exception. Despite its geographical detachment from the UK, the birthplace of gin, Iceland has embraced the art of gin production, with a special focus on London Dry Gin. This spirit, known for its crisp botanical profile and strict production standards, has found a unique expression in the land of fire and ice.

A New Frontier in Gin Distillation

Iceland might seem an unconventional player in the world of gin, traditionally dominated by countries like the United Kingdom and the Netherlands. However, its pristine environment, abundant with unique botanicals and pure glacial water, provides an ideal setting for distillation. The country's approach to creating London Dry Gin involves adhering to the spirit's traditional definition while infusing it with a distinctly Icelandic character.

Water: The Foundation of Purity

One of Iceland’s most remarkable natural resources is its water, filtered through layers of volcanic rock, contributing unmatched purity and neutrality to the base spirit. This water doesn’t just mix with the gin; it merges with the botanicals' symphony, carrying their notes without interfering with their harmony. Distilleries take pride in this natural feature, often marketing their gin with a notable emphasis on the glacial origins of its primary ingredient.

Botanicals: Where Tradition Meets Locality

The cornerstone of any London Dry Gin is its botanicals, and while juniper must be the dominant flavour, Icelandic distilleries augment traditional recipes with local flora. Arctic berries, wild herbs, seaweed, and even birch are commonly used, offering a unique layer of taste and complexity. These botanicals are handpicked, reflecting the country’s deep respect for nature and sustainability.

The Distillation Process

In making London Dry Gin, the distillation process is where the magic happens. It requires precise control over the ingredients and the distillation process. All flavours in London Dry Gin must be introduced through the distillation and cannot be added afterwards. Icelandic distillers, though far from London's bustling streets, adhere strictly to these regulations. They employ pot stills, carefully controlling the temperature to ensure the botanicals' essential oils are efficiently captured.

Flavor Profile

The result of this meticulous craft is a gin that’s clean and complex. The traditional juniper-forward character is there, but it takes on a new dimension with the Icelandic botanicals. The mouthfeel is often described as smooth, almost creamy, a testament to the softness of the water. The finish, meanwhile, tends to leave a lingering trace of the island’s unique flora — a reminder of the gin's origin.

Notable Brands

Among the brands that have achieved recognition is Himbrimi Gin, an Old Tom style, though not a London Dry, it embodies the Icelandic spirit through its use of wild botanicals. For a purer London Dry experience, there’s Ísafold Gin, produced by Reykjavik Distillery, which captures the essence of Iceland’s landscape in a bottle. Another notable mention is Vor Gin, produced by Eimverk Distillery, known for its use of organic Icelandic barley and handpicked botanicals.

Mixology and Serving

In Iceland, gin is enjoyed in several ways. It’s often sipped neat, allowing the taster to appreciate the spirit's nuanced complexity fully. However, it’s also popular in cocktails, where its unique botanicals offer an interesting twist to classic recipes. The traditional gin and tonic, garnished with fresh herbs or berries, is a favourite way to enjoy these Icelandic iterations.

Impact and Future

Iceland's take on London Dry Gin reflects a broader trend in the spirits industry, where global standards meet local flavours. The country’s distilleries have not only risen to the challenge of producing a world-class gin but have also managed to infuse it with a sense of place.

While the industry in Iceland is relatively young, the global trend towards craft spirits and local production bodes well for its future. The island’s unique resources, combined with its distillers' respect for both tradition and innovation, suggest that Icelandic London Dry Gin is set to become a noteworthy player on the world stage.London Dry Gin from Iceland is a testament to the country's ability to combine its rich natural resources with the stringent standards of this spirit's production. The outcome is a gin that’s not just a beverage but an experience - a journey through Iceland’s rugged landscapes, its icy waters, and its unique heritage.

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