Svöl, meaning cool or cold, was one of the eleven rivers that predate the creation of the world in Norse Mythology. The Viking runic compass symbol is on the bottle cap labels, while the bottle’s designs feature images of the Stockholm Archipelago in Sweden and the chalk cliffs of Møns Klint in Denmark.
Dating back to the 15th century, aquavit is traditionally made with a grain or potato distillate base that is infused and re-distilled with a variety of herbs and spices, always including caraway. Over the years, distinct regional styles of aquavit have developed in each Scandinavian country. In Denmark and Sweden, aquavits are made with un-aged grain distillates; Danish aquavits tend to be caraway-dominant with notes of citrus, while Swedish varieties often feature dill and fennel as lead flavors alongside caraway. Svöl’s Danish-Style Aquavit features caraway from Finland as its dominant flavor, which is then rounded out by other botanicals such as Icelandic angelica root and pine bark, rose hip, and gooseberry. Meanwhile, Svöl’s Swedish-Style Aquavit features fresh dill, which is cold-infused for 24 hours to ensure the bright fresh taste, and fennel that’s been cracked and roasted to release its flavor and aromas of lovage and lemon peel.
Svöl Aquavit is founded by Peter Nevenglosky, who is dedicated to paying homage to aquavit’s centuries of history. To ensure the integrity of the flavor profiles, Nevenglosky tapped Gunnar Gíslason, former Executive Chef at Agern in New York and owner of Dill Restaurant in Reykjavik, Iceland, to select and source botanicals from around the world; Jonas Andersen, business development manager for Great Northern Food Hall and Agern, also consulted on the botanical combinations and aromatics. Noted distilling expert Allen Katz developed the distillation and botanical extraction techniques at his New York Distilling Co in Brooklyn, NY, where Svöl Aquavit is made in a 1,000-liter copper still, beginning by mixing a unique blend of full grain New York rye, corn and barley spirit with a neutral grain spirit.
“Aquavit holds a unique position as a less-known, yet highly versatile cocktail spirit,” says Nevenglosky, who is also the founder of Drifter Spirits, the distribution network which represents Svöl Aquavit and Avuá Cachaça in the United States. “Our team of industry experts dedicated three years to category research, experimented with more than 50 botanicals from around the world, and ran hundreds of tests on stills of various sizes to achieve maximum concentration of flavor. Svöl Aquavit offers something new in the aquavit universe and we look forward to professional and home bartenders joining us on this journey of discovery.”
Svöl Swedish Aquavit (80 proof)
Nose: The dill is quite forward and overlies a slightly more reticent caraway and fennel pairing. This smells like a hearty slice of dill bread.
Taste: The dill is transformed into something entirely new with the herbal blend. A somewhat numbing effect on the tongue, almost akin to a spruce infusion. Deep, rich and very savory.
Finish: Long and with a powerful flavor that goes on for several minutes. Interestingly, the dill flavor comes through more strongly at the tail end.
Overall: A very traditionally flavored Swedish style aquavit designed to cut through the strong flavors of your meal. I recommend serving small pours in schnapps glassware.
GSN Rating: A-
Svöl Danish Aquavit (80 proof)
Nose: Nice entry of caraway and citrus peel on the nose. Softer and more disparate herbs connect to create an enticing palette.
Taste: Dry and soft with a mellow and flavorful lemony caraway flavor. The overall impression is of quiet strength.
Finish: Medium long, with the lemon being the final note before the fade.
Overall: A gentle aquavit which pairs well with meals and creative Nordic cocktails. The balance is fine and savory.
GSN Rating: A
For more information go to: Svöl Aquavit