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The 5 Best Icelandic Vodka Brands

Charl Joost
Last Updated: February 17th, 2023

Each country has its variations and brands of alcoholic drinks. Most are produced and distilled within that country using locally sourced ingredients in recognizable towns across the country.

Iceland follows that same trend. Several brands originated in Iceland that now produces and distribute vodka worldwide.

We will go through what Icelandic vodka brands are made from and how they are produced, along with some alternative options.

Hopefully, in the end, you will know a bit more about Icelandic vodka and which brand you should try next.

Top Icelandic Vodka Brands

  1. Brennivín Vodka
  2. Reyka Vodka
  3. Ursus Vodka
  4. Black Death Vodka
  5. Icelandic Mountain Vodka

Deeper Look at the Top Icelandic Vodka Brands

There are five main brands of vodka that originated in Iceland. We will look deeper at each brand and its offerings, along with the history behind them.

A look at how they are made, the alcohol content, and the average price will be discussed. Hopefully, this will give you more information about the available vodka brands out there and help you decide on which vodka brand to try next.

Brennivín Vodka

brennivín vodka
Image: Brennivin

Brennivín Vodka was established in 1935 when the Icelandic prohibition was temporarily lifted. Brennivín is produced in Borgarnes in Iceland which is a coastal village in Iceland.

The production of their vodka is sustainable, with the distillery being powered by geothermal energy from the surrounding underground volcanoes. This focus on sustainable vodka-making is fundamental to the brand, with its primary focus being delivering quality vodka products to consumers without affecting the surrounding areas.

This vodka is made using a fermented grain mash made from potatoes. That grain mash is then combined with Icelandic water that is soft and has a high pH balance. It is flavored with only caraway.

The vodka is sold at an alcohol by volume (ABV) of 40% (80 proof) with an average price per liter of $41. Brennivín Vodka is sold in only the original flavor, with 20 milliliters (shooter), 500 milliliters, 700 milliliters, and 1-liter sizes available.

Brennivín is traditionally drunk as a shot with beer or as a base for flavored cocktails. Vodka is usually used as a substitute for gin in cocktails or as a substitute for light rum in tropical alcoholic drinks.

Reyka Vodka

reyka vodka
Image: Reyka

Reyka Vodka was established in 2005 and is manufactured by the distillery, William Grant & Sons. it is distilled using a Carter-Head still that has a high copper level. This gives the vodka a smoothness after one distillation which ensures it is smooth and the ideal drink. The distillation is done in Borgarnes in Iceland.

Reyka uses water from a glacial spring in Iceland in the production of its vodka. The water runs through a 4000-year-old lava field that naturally purifies the water, resulting in a clean and pure vodka. The grain mash used to make the vodka is produced from a combination of wheat and barley.

A sustainable vodka-making process is used to ensure the brand maintains sustainable operations. Geothermal heat is used to produce energy on which the brand creates its vodka and operates its distillery.

The vodka is distilled in small batches, ensuring quality control is maintained across all vodka production. Each distillation process takes six hours and produces approximately two hundred cases of vodka.

Reyka vodka is sold at an alcohol by volume (ABV) of 40% at an average price of $15 per bottle. The price point put this vodka at an affordable price making it a good option to drink as a shot or as the base for a flavored cocktail.

Ursus Vodka

ursus vodka

While Ursus vodka was produced in Hoorn, Netherlands until 2006, it originated in Iceland. The recipe to create this product was developed using a traditional distiller family in Iceland in the early 20th century.

In 1995, distillation was moved to Hoorn, Netherlands. The Distillery de Hoorn BV took over producing the vodka.

In 2004, Diageo took over the production of Ursus Vodka. The brand was launched by Diageo with a range of colored and flavored vodkas.

This vodka goes through a triple distillation process with flavors including Green Apple, Punch, and Blue Raspberry. These flavored vodkas are sold at an alcohol by volume (ABV) of 30% (60 proof) at an average price of $11 per 750 ml bottle.

The brand has an original recipe available at an alcohol by volume (ABV) of 40% (80 proof) which is sold as a 1-liter bottle for approximately $14 per bottle. The price point makes this an ideal vodka for spirit-based mixers and cocktails, or to drink as a shot.

Black Death

black death
Image: Black Death Drinks

In 1906, Black Death Vodka was established in Siglunes, North Iceland. The recipe to develop this vodka originated from that of moonshine which was refined to create the iconic recipe now used.

This was done by the ancestors of Valgeir T. Sigurosson who fished, raised livestock like cattle, and traded the moonshine with passing fishing boats.

Valgeir relocated to Luxembourg in 1975 where he began selling Black Death vodka at his bar known as The Cockpit Inn. He has since retired to his home in Siglufjörour where he lives in the same home where the moonshine was produced over 100 years ago.

It was launched globally in 1987 with an average of 120 million bottles and cans sold globally in 1995. After being banned by the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, and Firearms in the 1990s, it returned to the United States in 2017.

This vodka is produced using French Sugar Beet as a base ingredient. It goes through a triple-distillation process to ensure it is free from impurities and minerals that may affect the final vodka product.

It is free from gluten and is produced using non-GMO ingredients. It is bottled at an alcohol by volume of 37,5% (75 proof) at an average price of $13 per 700 ml bottle.

Icelandic Mountain Vodka

icelandic mountain vodka
Image: Icelandic Mountain Vodka

Icelandic Mountain Vodka is produced using a distillation process that is repeated seven times to ensure the vodka is smooth and free of impurities it is gluten-free, making this a good option if you have a gluten intolerance or gluten allergy.

The vodka is sold in two sizes, 750 milliliters, and 700 milliliters at an alcohol by volume (ABV) of 40% (80 proof). It has an average price of $26 per 750-milliliter bottle.

Aside from their vodka offering, Icelandic Mountain Vodka has premium gin offerings which are sold at an ABV of 43% (86 proof) in 700ml bottles. The gin has an herbal and floral profile and is made using juniper berries, ginger, orange and lemon, coriander, and angelica.

They have four new products coming soon which are inspired by old Icelandic legends of the guardians. The products will go by the names; The Eagle, The Taurus, The Giant (Mountainvodka), and The Dragon. The Giant will be sold at an ABV of 40% (80 proof) and has notes of peach jam, spumoni, and pistachio.

The Eagle is a premium gin that will be sold at an ABV of 43% (86 proof) and will have a unique flavor profile of herbs with an earthy feel to it.

About The Author

Charl Joost

Charl is a trainer, public speaker, and professional writer. While he has been coached to niche down, he has many passions. These include golf, gardening, technology, and a decent cup of coffee or two. Charl loves to learn about new products and tries everything he writes about.

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