Review: Harahorn Norwegian Small Batch Gin

20180203_163229This is my first Norwegian Gin!

I’m not sure why I haven’t tried any Norwegian gins before, but it might be that they don’t produce so many in Norway as they do in Sweden or Denmark.

This gin was recommended to me when I visited a Danish wine- and liquor store and I became really curious.

The bottle is beautiful, blue color with a gradient to darker in the bottom. Steel colored top on the cork and very nice details, engraved text and the front with a hare with horns. Curly text and a Norwegian flag.

I didn’t know anything about the gin or the distillery, I had seen it on social media and people seemed to like it, but other than that there was much to discover.

Harahorn Gin is named after a mountain in the Norwegian area Hemsedal, the name originates from a fable animal, a hare with moose horn. The design of the bottle has clearly taken inspiration from both the fable and the environment it originates from.

This is a quality gin that is produced in a craft way in small batches of 400 litres. They weigh all the ingredients carefully and do all labor manually. They use botanicals from different parts of Norway, like juniper berries from Røros, blueberries from Nordmarka, rhubarb and bladderwrack from Grimstad, angelica from Oppdal and wild marjoram from Sunndal.

It’s the combination of juniper and blueberries that creates the unique Norwegian taste.
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Harahorn Gin is produced by “Det Norske Brenneri” who is famous for their quality products. The company was founded under the name “Puntervold/Agder Brenneri” when the Norweigan monopoly of alcohol production abolished in 2005. Six years later they change the name.

When Harahorn was launched in 2015 it was praised from the start. During the spring of 2016 Harahorn won a Gold medal at San Francisco World Spirits Competition.

I believe that Norway is a bit behind their neighbors Sweden and, even more, Denmark, when it comes to this type of distilling in terms of production, but interesting things are starting to happen. They have, just like Sweden, a monopoly for alcohol sales and high taxes, which makes it harder to sell and produce gin, but also to arrange tastings and events.

But several good brands have appeared, and I will try to review more Norwegian gin in the future. I believe that Norway is having a Gin boom as well.

Tasting Notes

Nose

  • Full, rich, warm. I feel juniper, pepper. It feels very dry.

Neat

  • Complex and rich, very even with a long aftertaste. A gin that works really well as a sipping gin. Absolutely dry with some tastes of berries, and at the end the mint is distinct.

Martini

  • 5cl Gin, 1cl Noilly Prat. Garnish with three blue berries soaked in vermouth.
  • It’s a nice one, a special character with tones that are quite hard to identify. It´s ok, but not so exciting. The taste bloom up late with juniper, berries and something that I can´t put my finger on.  A good, simple Dry Martini with a unique character.

Gin and Tonic

  • A powerful and tasty gin that shouldn’t have to much competition from the tonic, I use 1724 Tonic and garnish with some blueberries and maybe a twig of mint.
  • Very nice and tasty. All botanicals shine through and matches the tonic perfectly.

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The Take Home

4/5 stars, a really exciting and different gin. It´s very nice neat and it works beautiful as gin and tonic, but doesn´t  works so well for a Dry Martini. I will enjoy my bottle for gin and tonics where I think it works best!

Cheers!

Jens

Details

Our Guest Contributor

img-20160919-wa0001I used to be a chef, but now I am the head of a web agency. Living together with my girlfriend Emma and our Italian Greyhound in Göteborg Sweden.

I still have a big interest in good food and good beverages with gin and a good Dry Martini as my biggest passions. 

I prefer my Martinis stirred, ice cold and with zest while enjoying Frank Sinatra, a good view and the company of my girlfriend. 

You can follow Jens Josefsson on instagram here.

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