Norse god slain by festive plant

Norse god slain by festive plant

There was this young Norse god called Baldr, see? His dad was Norse god boss Odin, his mum, Frigg, Queen of Asgard (look it up, or just watch the film).

Baldr was a popular guy, loved by everything and everyone. Despite all this adulation, Baldr began freaking out about dying, with scary premonitions and everything.

Like any good goddess mum would do, Frigg pulled a few strings and got all the creatures on Earth to promise never to harm her nervy son.

The rest of the gods passed the time – it was a tough gig back then – throwing stuff at Baldr to show how hard he now was.

But, just like in an episode of The Only Way is Viking, troublemaking Asgard traitor, Loki (again, watch the film) twigged that mistletoe hadn’t got the message about not harming Baldr.

So, Loki tricked the blind god Höðr – who was also Baldr’s brother (you couldn’t make this stuff up) - into launching an arrow/spear/something sharp made of mistletoe at the posturing Baldr, who died instantly.

Naturally, Frigg was distraught, so much so that her tears turned into the white berries we now see on the non-mythological version of mistletoe.

From that day on, the plant would come to symbolise love, hence its status as a leafy licence for Christmas kissing*

In our view, Baldr should just have chilled out with a glass of Kirkjuvagr Orkney Gin and stopped worrying so much.

We’d recommend that same course of action to all our followers, whether Norse gods or not. You can buy some here, or pick it up at your quality local retailer.

Loki? He should have been banged up years ago.

Mistletoe – it’s for Christmas kissing, not killing gods.

*Other versions of this story are available. Ours might not be completely accurate, given it’s based on mythology, not gin distilling.

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The Orkney Distillery's First Birthday!

The Orkney Distillery's First Birthday!

We can’t quite believe that it’s been a year since we opened the doors to The Orkney Distillery and Visitor Centre here in Kirkwall. What a year it has been! We’ve hosted thousands of people on distillery tours, developed and launched four new gins and hosted amazing events ranging from the St Magnus International Festival to an evening with the Consul General of Japan.

We’d like to take this opportunity to thank everyone who has visited us over the last year - we love meeting so many interesting people from around the world who are as passionate about gin as we are.  Also, a big thank you to our wonderful team who demonstrate huge commitment that ensures we deliver a fantastic experience for all our customers.

If you’re here in Kirkwall on Friday, then pop by for some very exciting birthday fun. We’ll have special cupcakes and cocktails available, live music from the amazing Eric Linklater in the evening plus free tours of the production area every hour from 10am – 5pm. Keep an eye on our Facebook page for more details. We hope to see lots of you to join us in raising a glass!

Scottish Gin Awards Finalists

Scottish Gin Awards Finalists

The 2019 Scottish Gin Award finalists were announced yesterday, and we are delighted to share the news that we have made the final in two categories: Scottish Destination of the Year and High Strength Gin of the Year for our Kirkjuvagr Arkh-Angell Gin.

The Orkney Distilling team are immensely proud to be nominated and recognised as one of Scotland’s best gin destinations, a week before the distillery celebrates its first birthday.

As we enter our second year of operations at our distillery in Kirkwall, we have been overwhelmed with the support and feedback received by locals and visitors alike. We are tremendously proud of our distillery and it is fantastic to meet gin lovers who have travelled from near and far to experience one of our tours or experiences.

Haven’t yet visited us? Our distillery tours and gin making experiences are the ideal attraction for gin enthusiasts visiting Orkney. The distillery tours run at 11am and 2pm each day (except Sundays) with extra tours added for peak times. During the tour, you will learn about the distilling process with one of our friendly tour guides, and you’ll also get an opportunity to sample our gins whilst overlooking Kirkwall’s harbour.

Interested in visiting the home of Kirkjuvagr Gin? Click the button below to book your tour.

Beyla Honey and Raspberry Old Tom Gin - Available to buy now

Beyla Honey and Raspberry Old Tom Gin - Available to buy now

Let us tickle you pink – Beyla is now available to buy online. ⠀

Named after the Norse Goddess of Bees and influenced by our Island’s flavours, Beyla uses the finest Orkney honey, alongside fresh Scottish raspberries to create this unique Old Tom Style pink gin. ⠀

We are sure that is going to be a summer favourite…the future is rosy!⠀

All of our products can be sent to a UK address directly, with a gift message included.

Beyla - the future is rosy

Beyla - the future is rosy

It has been a really exciting time at the the Orkney Distillery as we gear up to launch a fifth gin to our range. Our latest addition will be an Old Tom style pink gin that combines rare Orcadian honey with fresh Scottish raspberries.  
Beyla – named after the Norse goddess of bees – continues our distinctive brand themes, which draw inspiration from the Viking and seafaring heritage of the islands.
The Orcadian honey being used in Beyla comes from bees that frequent the gardens of the Agronomy Institute in Kirkwall, where we grow key botanicals used in the production of our gins.
“Orkney provenance is hugely important to us, across all elements of our business, from the inspiration for our branding to our locally grown botanicals,” said Orkney Distilling’s managing director, Stephen Kemp. “In Norse mythology, Beyla was the goddess of bees, with a strong connection to the earth, and we share that bond with the Orkney landscape.”
“When we learned that one of our friends, who is a local beekeeper, was producing honey from bees flying a path over, and frequenting, our botanical crops, we jumped at the chance to incorporate it into our latest gin. It just deepens the significance of the product in terms of how it connects with our brand themes and ideals. We also believe customers appreciate the authentic provenance and quality of our ingredients.”
Fresh Scottish raspberries bring extra fruitiness and colour to the 40-per-cent (ABV) Beyla - developed from our signature Kirkjuvagr Gin - while balancing the sweetness brought by the island honey. 
Beyla will be officially launched to coincide with World Gin Day, on Saturday 8 June. The gin will be available from Orkney Distilling’s online shop, our distillery and visitor centre and from quality independent retailers across the country. 
Keep your eyes on our social media channels throughout the week for an opportunity to get your hands on one of the first bottles released! 

Harvesting botanicals at the Orkney Distillery

A couple of days ago, we took advantage of the sunshine and began harvesting the first ever crop of Angelica Archangelica from our planted bed right outside the Orkney Distillery here in Kirkwall!

A key botanical for all of our gins, it was when developing the original Kirkjuvagr Orkney Gin recipe that we discovered a local legend that spoke of a variety of Angelica brought to the islands by Norse sailors centuries ago.

This Angelica can still be found growing wild, on the Island of Westray today, indeed our healthy crop of plants were grown from seed taken from Westray by the UHI’s Agronomy Institute.

In gin making, we use the root of the angelica plant, and so Nikki can be seen here painstakingly unearthing every strand of root from the soil, before taking it inside for a thorough clean with fresh water. From there it will be dried and shredded in preparation for use as a botanical ingredient.

Eat and Drink Festival Success

Eat and Drink Festival Success

Our Head Distiller Louis travelled down to Glasgow last weekend to showcase Kirkjuvagr Orkney Gin at the renowned Eat & Drink Festival. The event was a great success with people travelling from all over Scotland and beyond to sample the fine array of foodie delights and premium drinks. We loved meeting so many people who are passionate about craft products - thank you to everyone who came and saw us on the stand.

Louis is off again this weekend down to the Taste of Grampian Food & Drink Festival in Inverurie so come and see us there for a sample and a chat about our gins, we’re on stand 320.