Gammel Opland’s recipe dates back to the Oplandske Spritfabrik distillery in 1872. Similar to many other Norwegian Aquavits, after distillation, it undergoes a period of aging in Sherry barrels. In this case— 24 months.
The nose is sweet with hints of oxidized wine, orange zest and dill seeds. It’s balanced with a lot of diverse botanical and barrel character.
Caraway is quite muted on the palate. Albeit present, Gammel Opland wears a more complex botanical blend. Citrus zest— bitter and sweet orange is present early on the tip of the tongue. Mid-palate, hints of birch bark and slightly warm baking spices. The finish is where the caraway comes through most strongly. In this case it has bold facets of dill seed, a hint of vanillin, cinnamon red hots, and a moderate length finish with facets of caraway and straw.
The Sherry barrel is quiet in Gammel Opland. It contributes more vanilla and raw oak notes than it does wine or sherry. That being said, for a botanically driven aquavit that still retains a lot of character after 24 months in barrels— there’s a lot here to commend.
Overall, Gammel Opland
For fans of an aquavit with less oppressive caraway, but still with that dominant flavor— Gammel Opland is worth seeking out. Nicely balanced, it’s less of a capital “a” aquavit and more of a gently contemporary style aquavit that while clearly recognizable as one, it plays off a more diverse botanical blend to nice effect.