Terrior and Aquavit

In the world of wine, the term terrior is a hot subject. A wine has terrior, when its taste and aroma reflects its origins in a unique and recognisable way. In other words, the climate and soil conditions that have produced the grapes have done so with such intensity that they have left their mark on the finished product.

The wine must have a taste that only the actual field can produce, so that it has a unique character, that no other field can produce. Such wines are in demand. Authentic character is in short supply. There is a difference between an industrial product and a natural product.

Terrior is a completely new concept in the world of liquor. The majority of liquors are made from raw ingredients that come from many different locations. Often very different distillates are blended together, which makes the concept of terrior meaningless, since this potential has been lost with the making of the finished product. Or, to put it another way: In the world of liquors, the standard procedure is to make a product that is 100% uniform from bottle to bottle, and from year to year.

But why should it be impossible to make a liquor that reflects its place of origin? This would make the product so much more interesting – so much more authentic. This is why Den Ny Spritfabrik has started an initiative, to try to make the first aquavit that has terrior. The aim is to make a special Nordic dill aquavit, where Denmark, Norway and Sweden each provides something unique when it comes to dill.

But how do the special characteristics arise? There are many sources – not least the soil, climate and the type of dill. We believe that dill that is cultivated further north, has more personality compared to dill that is not. Therefore, we will carry out trial cultivations at the plant’s northern limits in Norway and Sweden. It is fascinating to think that dill, which originated in the Middle East, still has the ability to grow and flower and seed in countries far to the north. We always try to grow the plant at the limits of what is possible, and in the world of wines, it is the most difficult of cultivation sites that produce the most exciting wines. For example, Chardonnay has been cultivated in Champagne and Pinot Noir cultivated in Bourgogne, which has given them their finesse and completely special delicate aromas, because the grapes here are planted at the northern limits of what can mature, and thereby makes something quite special. It has resulted in unique wine, where the climate has the maximum impact. Why should it be any different for dill?

With our Danish trials, we know that there are five significant aromatic compounds in the dill, and it is not just the amount of these compounds in the finished distillate that gives aquavit its taste. It is to a high degree, the ratio of these compounds that determines the quality. We also know that there is a difference from year to year, depending on the climate. That there is a seasonal characteristic, as with wine.

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