Scandinavian whiskies – July 2023

Welcome to a land of volcanoes and glaciers, rugged coastlines and deep fjords, Viking legends and the aurora borealis.

It's a vibrant time for distilleries from the Jutland Peninsula to the Arctic Circle and across to Iceland, the land of fire and ice. The spectrum of this region's whisky flavours is as diverse as the Nordic landscape itself.

The modern era of Nordic whisky making began with Mackmyra, established in Sweden in 1999.

There are now about 50 distilleries (?) making whisky across the region. Roughly half of them are in Sweden, with the rest spread across Norway, Finland and Denmark – plus one in Iceland and two in the Faroe Islands.

“Skål” comes from, some say that it is derived from when the Vikings used to share a drink from a bowl, since skål translates into the Swedish word for bowl, maybe like a ‘skull’ centuries ago but no-one seems to know if this is true or not.

Not only do you have to proclaim “Skål”, you also have to look someone in the eyes before you drink, and of course after you drink, before you put you glass back down. Just to be polite.