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My Handcrafted Opinions on Whiskies, Distilleries and Other Related Stuff

Lysholm Linie Aquavit

My justification for inclusion of a Norwegian aquavit, not that I need one, is that all whisky is technically aquavit...as in the "the water of life".  In fact the first reference to whisky in Scotland was in fact a reference to Aqua Vitae.  Think of today's whiskies as a product of evolution and Norway's aquavit as the isolated shrew that cut off from rest of world that evolved into a unique species of it's own.  On a recent trip to Norway (one of the increasingly few countries that doesn't produce it's own whisky) I discovered an interesting story about this particular brand of their national drink aquavit that I shall now tell.  Are you sitting comfortably?  Then I will begin. The story goes that a home sick Norwegian in Australia ordered a large consignmment of aquavit to be shipped to him.  The aquavit was loaded into sherry casks and shipped from the northern hemisphere, across the equator (or linie in Norwegian)  to Australia.  Unfortunately by the time it arrived the consignee had passed away and the captain had no other buyers for aquavit in Australia and turned around and took it back to Norway, crossing the linie one more time.  Now when they opened the casks back in the Norway they found the aquavit was the best anyone had ever tried.  This was attributed to the long time spent in sherry casks (it takes a long time to sail to Australia and back), change in climate, cold to warm to cold again and the the gentle rocking to ensure lots of wood to spirit contact.  So now this Linie product is still matured in the same way, loaded into sherry casks and shipped to Australia and back in ships before bottling and guaranteed to have crossed the linie twice.  In fact each bottle includes the details of the vessel and voyage the contents took.  Very cool, as cool as a Norwegian winter's day you might say if you were in search of a easy metaphor.   This sample was bottled at 41.5% ABV.  The nose is very fresh and light; herbal and minty with no sign of any sherry influence.  Rather delicious.  The taste starts with more mint and herbs, fresh grassy and even something like onion (not as bad as it sounds... caramalized onion maybe) and with time a little sweetness like caramel and milk chocolate (perhaps the sherry cask influence).  None of the harshness I was expecting.  The finish has more mint and lingers like toothpaste in the morning and some fruit and caramel notes can be detected.  Overall lacks the complexity or depth of a typical single malt, a bit one dimensional, and the role of sherry casks seems to be to round off rough edges rather than impart flavor (probably lots of refilling going on?) but still interesting and a nice change.

Additional Info

  • Country of Origin: Other
  • Type: Other
  • In '101 Whiskies to Try Before you Die': No
  • In '101 World Whiskies to Try Before You Die': Nope

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