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Wednesday, 12 June 2013


Before leaving Iceland I decided to buy an alcoholic souvenir from the airport duty free shop. The gentleman quickly recommended Brennivín as it is widely accepted as Iceland's national drink (It was quite cheap too... about $20 USD). On the bottle label it is branded as "The Original Icelandic Schnapps" containing 37.5% alcohol. The only 'Schnapps' I have tasted before Brennivín was Peach Schnapps... and they are not even remotely similar.

Per Wikipedia, Brennivín is often referred to as "Black Death" due to its potency and its unique taste. It is made from from fermented grain or potato mash and flavored with caraway, cumin, angelica, and other botanical ingredients.

First impression: 
Brennivín smelled like rubbing alcohol mixed with various spices.  When I took the first shot I felt my taste buds being overwhelmed by an intense flavor similar to black licorice.  Brennivín was amongst the worst alcoholic beverage I have tasted to date.

After speaking to an Icelandic friend I found out that Brennivín is supposed to be served chilled.  I gave it another try and although the experience was better than my first impression (resembled vodka at first, but the after taste was just as potent).  I could only sip 1/2 shot...

Brennivín is the worst alcohol I have had to date (a sentiment shared by my friends as well). How do you like Brennivín? and do Icelanders actually drink Brennivín for real? (please let me know in the comments below)

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