The nose on this dram opens with lemon floor wax used by thoughtful friends to glaze an igloo for its depressed owner. The wood on the nose comes through, but it’s some wild wood. Was this aged in elm barrels? Linden tree barrels? It smells like it could have been aged in these, plus traditional pine barrels. OK…[checking the notes] it seems the Niflheim is a marriage of whisky matured in Sherry casks, virgin oak casks, and ex-Bourbon barrels. So we weren’t that far off the mark, which is really nice for a change. But three different casks in such a new whisky–that’s a gutsy move! The result is that this nose presents like a whisky version of a Turducken or of Matryoshka dolls. There are also notes of caramel fruit leather used for vegan moose saddles. But the question remains: does “vegan” there qualify the moose (or is it meese?!?) or the saddles? This nose is bold enough that it will let you entertain the latter possibility.
Niflheim. Niflheim. The word rolls over my tongue as the whisky rolls over my palate. It sounds like a small kingdom’s princeling leader. Makes John think of “tipple time.” What’s that? [checks the notes again] Ah, it actually means “world of fog.” Bill points out that it’s far preferable to Muspelheim, and I immediately get up to see if my copy of Heimskringla is still on my bookshelf. It is, but I wonder if it’s a mere replica as I enjoy the creaminess of the mouth of this dram.
Adding water is a good move and adds some extra appeal to the mouth. So much so, in fact, that two of the three of us start to believe this whisky could become as popular in the US as Swedish Death Cleansing, were it to be introduced there.
The finish (without water) burns with the heat of a preheated iron in a Jackie Chan fight scene. But there’s also luscious fruit on the finish, and a ton of floral notes chasing the medium-level spice burn around the entire surface of my tongue. Add some water, and it makes me think that crème de cantaloup soup could be a thing.
On the scale of stories involving young Norwegians–
The Bivrost Niflheim Arctic Single Malt Whisky is that of the Birkebein Party—They were so poor they wore shoes made from birch bark, but they formed a rebel group that safely escorted the two year-old Haakon Haakonsson from Lillehammer to Trondheim. Their efforts are commemorated to this day in cross-country ski races in Norway, Canada, and the US. Haakon helped end the civil war era in Norway, and later became known as “Haakon the Old.” We hope one day to taste a Bivrost release called “The Old.”
–Our thanks to Aurora Spirits for the sample!