The spirit that travels the world before it’s bottled. Linie Aquavit review

If I were to begin to explain Linie Aquavit to someone then I’d say, “Imagine if a bottle of gin and a bottle of whisky were to have an affair and go on a cruise and then have a baby on their return …that would be Aquavit”.

Welcome to Fun Fact Friday. I love a random bit of knowledge, so each week I will lead you down a drinks rabbit hole and share with you something that I’ve learnt. When I heard the story of how Linie Aquavit came to be then I knew I had to share it.

Aquavit has been around for centuries in some shape or other. From Germany to Scandinavia there are stories of Aqua Vitae (water of life), a blend of spirits and herbs that are believed to cure man’s ills, and in more recent centuries have been drunk to aid digestion. Linie is the oldest Aquavit brand in the world and when you read the story of its origins I hope you will be impressed.

The story of Linie begins in Norway in 1805 when Catharina Lysholm decided to tie up a few casks of the families Aquavit aboard a ship holding other cargo bound for what is now Indonesia. Hoping to secure some sales. Unfortunately the locals preferred the more commonly drunk rum and so turned down the Aquavit. It sailed home after two years still in it’s old sherry casks. Upon opening, however, they were in for a pleasant suprise. For, like many things in the spirits industry a rare quirk of fate had happened. The spirit was now greatly improved in flavour and colour. Somehow the sea voyage had done something to the spirit to increase the maturation time. They tried everything to recreate the sea conditions on land but to no avail. It turns out that the plunging and rolling of the waves along with the changes in temperature on board the ship had caused the casks to expand and contract. This forced the spirit to squeeze into the wooden barrels pores much like a teabag. Pulling back out the goodness from the wood and rapidly changing the spirit.

From 1830 the potato based spirit which is distilled in pot stills with a special blend of Nordic herbs and spices is placed in Spanish Oloroso Sherry cask while young and is sent on a four month sea journey. It travels the globe visiting 35 counties and crossing the Equator twice. Once returned to Norway, it is then bottled and the date of its voyage is printed on every bottle. Linie comes from the word line and is homage to the Equator that the casks cross to make this wonderful spirit.

I absolutely loved this story and more so the fact that the spirit still travels the world to this day. Back in 2018 the distillery behind Linie, Arcus, broadcast live one of the sea journeys of the casks. It was immensely popular and has helped the aging brand continue in this new era of social media.

Linie Aquavit is bottled at 41.5%

Potato based pot distilled spirit.

Caraway, aniseed and orange peel are amongst the botanicals used.

Nose – Spiced like Jagermeister much less intense.

On the tongue – Oak, complex. No getting away from the caraway. Much smoother than expected and less medicinal. Herbal and warming.

Aftertaste – Spiced and light. The licorice notes linger then mellow.

Thoughts – I enjoyed this greatly with tonic for a long drink and exceptional in a negroni with Campari and Conratto Bianco. Excited to see what else can be done with this spirit

What do you make of it? Is it something you would like to try?

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