A couple weeks back I had the amazing opportunity to try some Norwegian Linie Aquavit (Norwegian Linje Akevitt) thanks to the lovely guys from the Visit Norway in Hamburg while attending the Social Travel Summit. This inspired me to start writing a series I've been considering for a while about cultural curiosities from different countries. So, tune in on the first and third Wednesday of each month for a new dosis of Cultural Curiosities from around the globe!
Anyhow, how on earth tasting a liquor could have inspired such a quest? Well, it was not the spirit per se that inspired me, although with its 41.5% alc may aswell have!, but the history behind it.
Let's get started by saying that, even tho I tried (and will talk) about the Norwegian Aquavit, this flavoured potato liquor is produced all over Scandinavia since the 15th century, although it wasn't always produced in the same way. Its flavour comes principally from spices and herbs (mainly caraway) matured in oak casks previously used for sherry, and is consumed in different manners in the various countries. In Norway, a dark beer will precede the luke-warm liquor, whereas in Germany or Sweden it will be cooled down and drank on its own. But its main property, besides inhebrating strong, is helping ease digestion of heavy foods, so typically traditional in the cold nordic countries. Christmas dinner anyone?
But hey! that's not all, I still haven't even told you all about it. Besides the traditional Scandinavian Aquavit, the Norwegians have their unique version of this liquor. Yes, you've guessed it right! Here's where Linie (Norwegian "Linje") comes into action. It was not just a random name picked. The whole story revolves around that word. On top of their 1 to 12 years maduration process in an oak cask, some send it to do so at sea! Where unpredictable weather conditions, variable pressures, and wave movements give a richer flavour to the Aquavit, or so do they say. But, why do they do that?
Well, the story says that a long long long time ago (meaning 1805) a ship carrying some casks for trade to a far far away land (Indonesia). Having failed at selling all their product, the poor poor ship returned home with the remaining 5 barrels. They navigated back through the same route as they went, so crossing the equator, sail, sail away into the sunset, twice, until they finally got back. To the producers' surprise, the Aquavit's taste had exponentially improved, with a richer smoothness to the senses! And for that reason they (some) decided to incorporate that to their poduction process, sending each and every one of their barrels on a transpacific quest to the land down under and back! What an adventure! Is it bad that I'm jealous of a bunch of oak barrels?
LINIE says that Some journeys change you forever, and we truly believe that. That’s why we send each and every drop of Linie aquavit on a sea voyage across the globe to be matured at sea, rolling around in oak casks under extremely varying weather conditions.
Liquor or not, these guys know what they're talking about. Travelling changes you forever! Don't you agree? :)
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Labels: cultural curiosities, linie akevitt, norway