The new gin was created by Orkney Distilling Limited, which is run by Kirkwall couple Stephen and Aly Kemp, after months of research and trials using a blend of Orcadian botanicals.
Demand for the Kirkjuvagr has already been exceptionally high, with bars, shops and restaurants throughout Orkney and the mainland keen to supply the gin.
Kirkjuvagr is being hailed as “unmistakably Orcadian” in character, with its branding drawing on strong Norse and seafaring themes. The name means “Church Bay” in Old Norse, reflecting the Kemps’ desire to create a premium product that paid homage to the history of Orkney while appealing to the contemporary market.
Stephen Kemp said: “We’ve spent a very long time perfecting the recipe for Kirkjuvagr and are exceptionally pleased with the end result.
“We’ve worked closely with the Agronomy Institute of the University of the Highlands and Islands in Kirkwall to come up with a blend of local botanicals that we think will set Kirkjuvagr apart from other gins and we’d like to thank the team at the Institute for their input. All the feedback we’ve had so far in trial tastings has been incredibly positive, so we’re confident we’ve created a product that sits well amongst other premium spirit brands.”
Angelica, a plant found in only a couple of locations in Orkney, is one of the key ingredients in the new gin, alongside ramanas rose, burnet rose, borage and traditional Orcadian bere barley.
Stephen said: “The Angelica’s Norse connection gave us a nice link to our Viking ancestors and we thought it was essential to use it in our recipe.
“We’ve also enjoyed incorporating it into our branding, the quality of which reflects the premium nature of Kirkjuvagr Gin. We’re particularly pleased with the final appearance of the packaging. It’s distinctive and instantly recognisable as an Orcadian product, but it’s one that will sit well in bars, shops and restaurants throughout the country.”
Full production of Kirkjuvagr would move to Kirkwall once Orkney Distilling Limited’s new Ayre Road distillery and visitor centre is completed next year.
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