Kirkjuvagr Gin, pronounced ‘kirk-u-vaar’, was launched by Orkney residents Stephen and Aly Kemp in 2016, it is hand crafted in small batches using traditional copper stills. Kirkjuvagr means “Church Bay” in Old Norse. Back when Orkney was emerging as a seat of power in the Viking Empire, the Norsemen would sail their longships into Kirkjuvagr, which over the centuries grew into Orkney’s capital, Kirkwall.
When creating Kirkjuvagr, on the shores of Kirkwall Bay, they thought it fitting to seek out a connection to their Viking ancestors that ran deeper than just the name itself. They then discovered a local legend that spoke of a variety of Angelica brought to the islands by Norsemen centuries ago, which can still be found growing wild today.
Naturally, this very Angelica is now one of the defining ingredients in this gin, complementing a distinctive blend of local botanicals, including Ramanas Rose, Burnet Rose and Borage. Uniquely, they’ve also used traditional Orkney bere barley in their recipe.
In name, Kirkjuvagr Orkney Gin reflects the rich history of their islands and the boldness of those ancient seafarers. In character though, it’s utterly contemporary and has been crafted with the modern, discerning gin enthusiast in mind.
And the symbol on the top of the bottle? That’s a Vegvisir, or Viking compass. Its power helped the Norsemen find their way.