400 years ago, Gripsholm, Sweden was known for a different kind of cannon. In 1580, King Karl IV of Sweden built the Åkers Styckebruk foundry in Gripsholm to produce cannons for the Swedish army – and the distillery to make vodka for its workers. Reputed for quality, orders for the cannons of Åkers Styckebruk came from as far as Russia, America, Brazil and even China. Naturally, the high demand for cannons saw an increase in vodka production as well.
By 1775, King Gustaf III had monopolized alcohol production to fund his many wars and even borrowed money from the owner of Åkers Styckebruk, Joachim Von Wahrendorff. Unable to pay his debt back to Von Wahredorff, King Gustaf made Gripsholm a Royal Distillery.
Freed from state regulation it became the largest distillery in Sweden, producing over a million liters a year and employing nearly 300 workers. In 1792 Gripsholm fell prey to royal whim – King Gustaf was shot and his successor Gustav IV Adolf outlawed the private production of spirits. Having no debt to the distillery himself, he preferred to reap the revenue of a state monopoly. Gripsholm was closed for over 200 years until Sweden lifted the monopoly in the 1990’s and Kanon Vodka owner and founder Peter Hjelm set out to revive the Gripsholm legacy. Construction began in 2008. In 2010, with a production process founded in a tradition started 400 years ago, the first cases of Kanon Organic Vodka were shipped to New York.
400 years ago distilling with wheat from a local source was self evident. Kanon took that as their starting point. The entire production process, from wheat to bottle, is done inside a three-mile radius. They use water exclusively from their own artesian aquifer, and wheat sourced directly from local farmers who grow according to EU and USDA organic standards.
In addition, Kanon’s leading-edge technology is pushing industry standards. The entire distillery is run on electricity sourced from wind and waterpower. Their offices are heated from steam produced in the fermentation process. The by-products are reused in other industries or recycled into bio-fuel for local buses. Even the bottles are made from recycled glass, and are 100% recyclable. It doesn’t get much greener than that.
Kanon Organic Vodka (80 proof)
Nose: Loads of fresh, vibrant rainwater essence. Quite a lot of character with an olfactory body touched with mint, pepper, and vanilla.
Taste: Extremely smooth, yet with a lovely deep essence of authenticity and small batch mentality. The best of both worlds.
Finish: Medium long with tantalizing interplay between the sweet wheat distillate and the brooding minerality of the local water.
Overall: One of the best vodkas to come to America in several years. This is an amazing vodka if you can find it. It adds so much more to any cocktail than the usual multi-distillation vodkas on the market. Buy a case, you won’t regret it.
GSN Rating: A+
For more information go to: Kanon Vodka