Always a favorite in its native Scandinavia, Aquavit has seen its popularity grow on the international stage in recent years. Still, brand recognition in places like the United States, much of Europe, and Asia remains in the minds of aficionados. For those curious to try the finest examples, here are the five best Aquavit in the world according to the International Spirits Challenge 2020:
|Opland Edel Madeira Casks Aquavit||Arcus Norway AS||Double Gold|
|Aalborg Dild Akvavit||Arcus Norway AS||Double Gold|
|Lysholm Linie Double Cask Port Aquavit||Arcus Norway AS||Double Gold|
|Gilde Non Plus Ultra Aquavit||Arcus Norway AS||Double Gold|
|Løiten Linie Aquavit||Arcus Norway AS||Double Gold|
All five of the top Aquavit happen to come from the same company, Arcus Norway AS. The Nordic spirits giant, known formally as Arcus Gruppen AS, makes basically every spirit under the sun as well as wine. But with that kind of power comes the ability to fund unique Aquavit like the five that took home Double Gold at the International Spirits Challenge 2020
Opland Edel Madeira Casks Aquavit
Opland Edel Madeira matures in two types of casks. First for more than four years in old Sherry oak casks, before being finished in old Madeira casks. The long cask maturation provides the Aquavit with extra rounding and character. Opland Edel is the perfect sipping aquavit. Best enjoyed at room temperature.
Aalborg Dild Akvavit
The Aalborg ‘Dild’ variation of the Danish spirit “features the fresh, earthy, herbal flavours of dill and just a smidgeon of citrus,” according to Master of Malt.
Lysholm Linie Double Cask Port Aquavit
According to the distillery, “LINIE Double Cask is an extension of the LINIE brand, created more than 200 years after the original. What differentiates Double Cask from the original LINIE Aquavit is its second maturation process. After completing the traditional LINIE maturation for 4 months at sea in sherry oak casks, it is given an extra twelve months for ageing in carefully selected port casks.
“The extra maturation of LINIE Double Cask Port creates an additional smoothness. It also adds an extra complexity and taste dimension with hints of dried fruit and sweet vanilla to the original LINIE Aquavit’s notes of caraway and star anise.”
Gilde Non Plus Ultra Aquavit
“Gilde Non Plus Ultra, at twelve years, is the longest aged aquavit in all of Norway and has a unique sherry and oak influence as a result,” notes the Seattle Spirits Society. With member Jason noting it has a “Fruity nose. Smells like overripe cantaloupe. Heavy anise flavor, light syrupy mouthfeel. Would pair nicely with a heavy meal.”
Løiten Linie Aquavit
According to the distillery, “The original botanical recipe of LINIE Aquavit has remained unchanged since its creation, more than 200 years ago. LINIE is a potato-based spirit, distilled in pot stills with a special blend of Nordic herbs and spices to give it its distinct flavour. The young spirit is placed in Spanish Oloroso sherry casks to develop further. Ultimately the casks are sent on a sea journey across the world to mature. The result is an extraordinarily smooth and well balanced aquavit with leading notes of caraway and star anise – and finer hints of vanilla and sherry.”