ISFJORD Arctic Gin Review

ISFJORD Premium Arctic Gin bottleI recently wrote a review of ISFJORD Vodka on my companion website, The Vodka Guy. It’s incredibly good vodka, due in no small part to the water that’s used, which the Danish distillers bring all the way from Greenland. It’s from icebergs that break off from the Greenland Ice Cap, north of the Arctic Circle at a place called Ilulissat (see the map below if you’re curious where it is.)

The distillers say that it’s impossible to get water that’s purer than this, having been sealed off from the elements for 180,000 years until it’s ready to break off… whereupon the local icemen catch it and turn it into the purest water which, back in 2007, ISFJORD discovered made pretty amazing spirits.

ISFJORD Spirits haven’t been available in the UK for very long but now they’re being imported by a specialist spirit importer, JBE Imports, whose portfolio is very small but incredibly classy, and increasingly widely available (see below).

Gathering Ice Inside the Arctic Circle at Ilulissat, Greenland
Gathering Ice Inside the Arctic Circle at Ilulissat, Greenland

ISFJORD’s gin starts off with the same water the vodka uses, but blends in twelve botanicals including juniper, lemon grass, orange, angelica root and cardamom. These bring the blend of spiciness and fruitiness that you want. It’s also bottled at 44% ABV, just like the vodka, giving it slightly more of an alcoholic kick.

Where is Ilulissat? Google Maps Knows.

All those elements are there on the nose in a fine balancing act – not overwhelmed by juniper, but there are clear orange notes with the spiciness of the cardamom and I’m sure other spices too, like maybe cloves or ginger? The company website recommends a slice of orange rather than lemon or lime (or even apple) for your G&T, and orange is the dominant note, if there is one.

Tasting the gin was a joy (as various award panels have also decided). The orange was even more noticeable, for me, and the juniper was way back in the mix. This is how I like my gins to be. I’m funny that way – I like gin, less keen on juniper. Well, not strong juniper, anyway.

Can you tell it’s made from pure Arctic water that’s 180,000 years old? Maybe not quite that specific, but you can tell that it is incredibly smooth and the base liquor provides a very clean background on which those botanicals can come out and play. I love the fresh fruitiness of the orange, and the subtlety of the spice behind it.

ISFJORD Gin Cocktail Recipe
If you want something a little more complicated than a gin and tonic, here’s a recipe for ISFJORD Gin created by Simone Marvulli of the excellent Holborn Dining Room in London – which I’ve visited and which claims to have London’s largest gin bar.

Buying ISFJORD Artcic Gin
This lovely ISFJORD Gin is available from Master of Malt who will ship around the world.

If you live in the UK you can also conveniently buy it on Amazon: