Harahorn Gin is produced in small batches— 300 liters at a time— at Norway’s second largest distillery, Det Norske Brenneri.
The gin is distilled from a base of potatoes (similar to Norwegian aquavit, which is also produced at Norske Brenneri) and features nearly two dozen botanicals. However, the signature ones tell the story of Norwegian agriculture. The blueberries, seaweed and rhubarb are all sourced locally. Norwegian juniper from Røros adds a local touch to gin’s core ingredient.
What is it about the Jackelope that inspires so many gin distillers? Harahorn is the Scandinavian name for the rabbit with antlers. Similar to the jackelope in the States, the legend of the Harahorn looms large in hunters’ stories.
Aroma: Harahorn Gin is bright with juniper. Despite, the contemporary botanical bill, green juniper and unctuous angelica root stars.
Flavor: Long and complex, Harahorn Gin unfolds on the palate showcasing tradition and some of the more unusual botanicals. Early, juniper with hints of anise, coriander and other spice. It segues into a rich, citrusy heart. Lemon zest becomes slightly jammy. The combination of blueberry, rhubarb, citrus and others suggest blackberry jam, nectarine and blueberry syrup.
Just when you think it’s going to be very contemporary, the juniper comes in strongly as the spirit recedes on the palate. Bright, bold, green and herbaceous juniper. Slight hints of coolness and menthol appear on the edge of the palate.
Finish: Warm, dry and long. The combination of juniper and blueberries gently holds on for quite a long time.
Harahorn Gin is best treated as a contemporary style gin behind the bar. Mixed, the juniper nose becomes muted or overpowered by other cocktail ingredients. In drinks, that juniper heart will come through but not before those fruit and berry notes do.
It’s a delicious Martini gin, though a little warm.
The contemporary notes mix well with floral in small amounts (Arsenic and Old Lace) or large (Aviation). Harahorn Gin is not overwhelmingly herbal, but it pairs well with herbal spirits, especially Chartreuse: think Alaska Cocktail or Last Word.
Mixed, I like it with a light or citrus tonic water. But it can withstand strong mixers like cola or juice.
Overall, Harahorn Gin
Harahorn is a fun and delicious gin that seemingly combines the best of both worlds. Contemporary enough to taste like nothing else. Classic enough to be heavy with juniper.