Iceland is a beautiful country which is known for its stunning nature, including glaciers, volcanoes and waterfalls. Barley does grow here, so you have everything you need to distill whisky! That's probably what the founders of Eimverk Distillery had realized, when they started making plans to open the first Single Malt distillery on this sparely populated island. Terroir does matter, after all.
Located just outside Reykjavík, you can easily reach the distillery grounds by taking bus line 1 to Ásgarður. From there, it is just a few minutes' walk. Compared to Scottish distilleries, Eimverk is really small - but it got the charm of a craft distillery, where things have just started to evolve. Our guide was very passionate, and he took us on a private tour including an extended tasting. Like many young distilleries, Eimverk started producing gin and aquavit to generate some cash flow, while patiently waiting for their malts to mature.
The atmosphere was amazing and we could freely explore the whole distillery, while taking as many pictures as we wanted to. Everything appeared rather small and a bit improvised, but that's actually what made it so interesting. I learned how hellishly expensive sherry butts are and that Eimverk uses virgin oak casks to mature their Flóki Young Malt. The whole production line from barley to bottling street is located under one roof, and we were even allowed to taste their new make spirit straight from the still. Fantastic!
That day, I probably learned more about gin and aquavit than I learned about whisky, but that's highly appreciated. Eimverk's range of gins is truly amazing. In terms of whisky, we tried both Flóki Young Malt and the 'Sheep Dung Smoked Reserve', their equivalent of a peated malt. In the end, we even got a couple of free miniatures - a great value for ISK 2,500. After more than 1.5 hours, we were rather tipsy but absolutely satisfied given the excellent service. This distillery visit ranks in my top 3 and is more than recommended!