Maturing Whisky in casks is a science of its own. Owing to the Arctic temperature, we use relatively small casks for faster maturation. We store our Whisky in a lot of different cask types (Sherry, Bourbon, Sauterne, Madeira, Viring oak and more). As we are producing the Norwegian aquavit, we also have the option of using Aquavit casks for maturation.
We store our casks in NATO bunkers, 8 metres from the Arctic sea. The whole area around the distillery was an old coastal fort, built by the occupying German forces during the Second World War. The temperature and the humidity in our storage facilities are excellent. We get decent temperature variation throughout the year.
The Arctic Circle
The Arctic Circle is the most northerly of the abstract five major circles of latitude as shown on maps of the Earth. It marks the northernmost point at which the noon sun is just visible on the northern winter solstice and the southernmost point at which the Midnight Sun is just visible on the northern summer solstice. The region north of this circle is known as the Arctic.
What is the Arctic?
The Arctic is a polar region located at the northernmost part of Earth. Land within the Arctic region has seasonally varying snow and ice cover and the Arctic seas contain seasonal sea ice in many places. The Arctic region is a unique area among Earth’s ecosystems. The botanicals, animals and indigenous peoples of the Arctic have adapted to its cold and extreme conditions.
The first New make was produced and laid on a small test cask, 22. november 2016. By definition it therefore reached the required age of Whisky on the 23. november 2019. We are thrilled!
Next up is to mature the rest that is needed for the first commercial release of Bivrost Whisky, in May 2020.
Bivrost - Niflheim Limited Edition, in stores in:
Bivrost® Whisky is handcrafted under the glow of the Northern Lights, at the foot of the majestic Lyngen Alps. Melting water from glaciers is purified and combined with wash from Mack brewery ensure a unique product of Arctic Norway. Our first batch was put in cask in November 2016 and will be ready November 2019. We will launch the first batches on the market in spring 2020.
Mack brewery delivers our wash, made by pur specification. Mack are close to us and have some of the best competence and experience in Norway for making beer (which also relates to Whisky). Their production plant is situated 70 km south of us, in the village of Nordkjosbotn. Our head distiller has worked as a brewer at Mack for more than 20 years and knows all possibilities related to making our wash. He works closely with the production team at Mack to secure the right quality for our wash. The trailer from Mack delivers about 9,000 litres of wash each time, which we distill 1,200 litres per batch. We use brewers’ yeast during the fermentation process, which ensures sweetness and roundness to the wash and ultimately the new make.
Our still (“GERD”) was delivered from Germany. “Kothe Destillationstechnik” is a traditional German company specializing in copper and steel processing. Based on the unique competence of the renowned engineer Leif Nerhammar, Aurora Spirit has developed a still designed for making several types of alcohol. With our combination of pot and column stills, we can make vodka, gin, aquavit and whisky. Owing to solid quality and energy saving compounds, the still has a long working life and low energy consumption. A water bath or steam heats mashes and fluids in a solid, purpose-built copper still. A smooth internal surface is realised by means of a welded construction without appendages. The characteristic of a Kothe still is the combination of efficiency, stability and shape.
The still has a mash volume of 1,200 litres and allows the distiller several thousand settings, making the production a piece of artisan art.
Believe it or not, but the Arctic climate has its clear advantages. The temperature variations between summer and winter, and between day and night, are dramatic. In the winter, we can experience temperatures below -20 C, and in the summer temperatures above +20 C – that’s a 40 degree variation!
These constant changes in the seasons affect development of our cask spirits. On hot days, the pressure increases in the cask, the spirits expand and penetrate deeper into the oak. When the temperature drops, the spirits has soaked in flavours from the oak. This interaction between spirits and oak is essential for cask maturation.
As we are a small artisan production facility, we mature whisky in smaller casks. By using a smaller cask, more wood per litre will be in contact with the whisky and thus it will develop character more rapidly. We use a range of different casks for storage, including Sherry, Bourbon, Sauterne, Madeira, etc.
We store our casks in old and very secret NATO tunnels. This will reduce evaporation and lower the “angels’ share” (or “Odin’s share – as we like to call it!).