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Kalevala Gin

Kalevala Gin

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Background
Kalevala is one of those spirits which has a magical, ethereal quality to it.

Created in the region of North-Karelia, Finland, the gin and its story are steeped in history. Finland is well-known for its long, snow-laden winters and its abundant, lush summers and Karelia is no exception. Located on the eastern border between Finland and Russia, the area is famous for both its bootlegging activities during Finland’s short period of prohibition and its ties to a vast Finnish legend – the Kalevala.

The Kalevala, after which the gin takes its name, is Finland’s finest piece of literature. An epic comprising 50 musical poems which centre on love, great battles and an important machine which gets lost at sea: the Sampo. The Sampo is believed to have been a machine which created wealth and happiness. Fittingly, owner and distiller of Kalevala gin, Moritz Würstenberg, chose to name his still after this impressive machine. His Sampo creates magical spirits of legendary status.

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The Kalevala, after which the gin takes its name, is Finland’s finest piece of literature. An epic comprising 50 musical poems which centre on love, great battles and an important machine which gets lost at sea: the Sampo. The Sampo is believed to have been a machine which created wealth and happiness. Fittingly, owner and distiller of Kalevala gin, Moritz Würstenberg, chose to name his still after this impressive machine. His Sampo creates magical spirits of legendary status.

Moritz trained as a biochemical engineer before stumbling into a career in distillation. Moritz is half-German, half-Finnish and grew up in Germany. However, his mother’s family have owned a holiday house in the town of Kitee since the 1970s and Moritz spent many a childhood summer enjoying and exploring the area. For much of his life, Moritz was not a gin drinker. It was through his scientific studies, where he learnt the intricacies of crafting spirits that he fell in love with the art of distillation. Once he had decided to follow this path, Moritz was drawn back to the family holiday house and began his gin journey there. With personal, historical and mythical links to the region, it was the perfect place.

Production
It took a while for production to commence properly as Finland has very strict rules on alcohol and licencing. Moritz was the first in Finland to be granted an experimental licence in 2010. He then gained his full licence in 2012 and Kalevala gin was born.

Kalevala gin is produced in small batches in Sampo, the copper pot still. Moritz purchased Sampo as an used still from Germany and had him lovingly refurbished. Organic botanicals are used with a focus on locally-sourced ingredients. Sea buckthorn in particular is incredibly popular in Scandinavia due to its health properties.

Most of the botanicals are macerated for up to 36 hours prior to distillation, whilst some of the more delicate ones are added 12 hours before. The gin is brought down to the bottled strength of 46.3% using water sourced from their own well. Each batch produces around 500 bottles.

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Botanicals
Juniper
Sea Buckthorn
Mint
Rosemary
Rosebud
Raspberry Leaves
One Secret Botanical

Moritz has adapted his family’s home so that he and his wife, Tanya, can live there whilst the outbuildings house the distillery. They’ve set up a shop and are continually investing in equipment to expand the business. Most of the bottling and labelling is still done by hand.

Kalevala won silver medals at both the 2016 San Francisco World Spirits Competition and the International Wine and Spirits Competition. Looking to the future, a navy strength gin is imminent as well as a special product to celebrate Finland’s 100 years of independence.

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Tasting Note
Aromas:
Bright, crisp and fresh. Rose petal and pink berry tones with gentle pink peppercorns. A deep earthy hint resonates underneath with good depth and concentration. Delicate lifted floral notes over the top.

Palate: A rich and silky texture with good weight. Round berries, juniper and angelica supported by a touch of peach blossom. Gentle green juniper stalk and a soft warmth on the finish. Elegant juicy citrus throughout.

With Tonic: Bright lifted citrus leaf with gentle raspberry and a full juniper core. Good weight and a full texture. Green stalk blends with citrus leaf and blossom notes over a solid juniper finish.

Garnish: Pink Grapefruit

Conclusion
If you get the chance to taste Kalevala, do. It is outstanding.

www.kalevalagin.com

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