Several distilleries over the years have laid claim to the accolade of the world's most northerly whisky producer, the current flag-bearer, and likely the last is the Aurora Spirit distillery. It is located far within the Arctic Circle, not far from the town of Lyngseidet in Norway. Surrounded by the Lyngen Alps, nearby fjords and with views of the the arctic wilderness and Northern Lights, the setting is truly stunning. As if the environs were not enough, the workings of the distillery are no less intriguing. It was built within a disused NATO Cold War base, and the maturation of its whisky takes place within its network of underground tunnels.
The distillery's spirits are bottled under the Bivrost brand and the distillery plans to launch its first permanent range in 2025. Until then will launch a series of limited editions, two per year as part of a collectible series based on the nine worlds of Norse mythology. The first release, Niflheim, was a triple matured expression, drawn from a vatting of bourbon, sherry and virgin oak casks. Nidavellir was the second of the inaugural 2020 releases.
The spirit was initially aged for 32 months in ex-Heaven Hill bourbon casks before finishing in ex-Islay whisky casks. The latter were sourced from a New Zealand winery which had previously aged its Pinot Noir in them for 12 months. 100 of these casks were then used to mature Islay whisky, six of which were then purchased by Aurora Spirit and used to finish this whisky for 5 to 6 months. Nidavellir has been distilled using a wash of pilsner malt from Planet and Popino nordic barley, created with water sourced from the distillery's local spring, which receives melted glacier water from the Lyngen alpine range. The spirit is triple distilled in Aurora Spirit's bespoke copper pot and column still, which produces a new make spirit of 75% ABV after 8 to 10 hours.
The release was a total of 2,496 bottles