Linie Aquavit spends four months on the open oceans maturing in oak barrels formerly used to hold Oloroso sherry. A big part of the brand and the mystique is that you can find information about when your bottle of Aquavit was at sea on the reverse of the front label.
Purportedly, Linie Aquavit claims theirs is the oldest continuously produced brand of aquavit in the world. It began in 1807 when Aquavit was exported from Norway to North America. But folks were just not into it. So it was sent back.
But what is different about shipping in the early 19th century was that it was all done in barrels. So by the time it had arrived back in Norway it had spent several months in barrels. And guess what? The Norwegians loved it.
Linie Aquavit is distilled from potatoes, before undergoing a final distillation with herbs and spices. Coloring is added after distillation.
Caraway and oak are present on the nose. It has a dusty, woody presence with a heavy influence of licorice.
The palate of Linie Aquavit is caraway driven, but there’s plenty more. Quiet at first, caraway and dill seed emerge mid-palate. Caraway mid-palate isn’t very oily or thick— more of a crisp rye bread sort of note. Hints of anise hover mid-palate in the background.
Towards the finish the licorice comes on a little bit, along with some coriander and fennel. A slight amount of oakiness and tannin is present— but unlike some aged gins which also use former Sherry barrels— Linie Aquavit is light with only faint hints of sherry on the finish. They’re nice though, with no oxidized character either. It’s just subtle enough there to make this Aquavit really stand out.
Overall, Linie Aquavit
Though its reputation precedes it, Linie Aquavit manages to still stand out in the Aquavit marketplace. The barrel is far from an afterthought or the “happy accident” of the brand story. It’s deliberate and well constructed. The barrel is subtle and adds character without detracting from the caraway-forward perspective.
Ideal for sipping just on its own, Linie Aquavit sets a high bar for aged Aquavit. My only wish is that they need not color it to make it look older. But it’s a good product that stands even with mild critique.