Vor Gin is composed of an entirely, and uniquely Icelandic, assortment of botanicals ranging from the trendy (Thyme) to the obscure (kale). It’s base spirit is composed of also Icelandic Barley, and for Vor Barrel Aged Gin, ultimately it is rested in an oak barrel— that I suspect owing to the lack of oak, the barrel may not be locally coopered— but alas, it’s Icelandic and barrel aged. And it’s a gin that we were quite a fan of on its own, so how does it stand up after a gentle rest?
Vor Barrel Aged Gin has a beautiful amber/goldenrod hue, that clouds into a luminescent sun drenched haze when water is added, due to it not having been chill filtered. The nose is rich with licorice, anise, pine branches, and more specifically, fresh cut hardware store wood aroma. The licorice and anise notes take on hints of fennel as well as it warms, calling to mind some Genever-like gins such as Merrylegs.
On the palate, it’s loud: hints of licorice again, building from early to most pronounces mid-palate; resinous pine and grassy juniper, with a robust bark flavor coming on late; strong birch tones especially late, calling to mind Birkir snaps. The finish is thick and earthy, with lots of natural notes, like birch, pine, damp leather, and notes suggestive of fresh pine branches tossed into a roaring fire. Very earthy, and very woody. Juniper and some classic gin notes hover on the edges, though it seems that wood— birch and oak in particular— are the stars.
Vor Barrel Aged Gin makes for an interesting Negroni, though I have to admit, that I really only would think about reaching for this on its own. Neat it has a lot of character, but the addition of any sweetness, say even in an Old Fashioned, seems to create an odd sweet wood flavor. This is a good gin to sip on its own and to ponder volcanoes, glaciers and other traditionally Icelandic things.
Lots of interesting wood notes and some unique botanical touches mean Vor Barrel Aged Gin is an interesting barrel aged gin, which in my opinion, is best for sipping rather than mixing. It’s a divisive spirit, with bold flavors that suggest a young whiskey or a far contemporary Genever style gin; however, on both counts its well done and worthy of a closer look, although for those passing through Keflavik looking to buy a gin which fits in their Duty Free allowance, I think their standard unaged gin is a better buy.