Aalborg Taffel Akvavit

After my Gilde Jule Aquavit post, I was offered some Danish Akvavit to review. Far be it from me to turn down free intoxicants…

This is the booze in question:


This time, I decided to use my Glencairn whisky glass as I reckon it will enable me to get the full effect of the aroma. I recall I’d been told by my most generous booze donor that the traditional way to drink this is at room temperature, though this is often eschewed and drunk freezing cold, knocked back in one. Now, I don’t feel it would be a particularly worthwhile review if I did that alone, so I intend to drink some unadulterated at room temperature, then with some water added to see if any further flavours are released, then finally straight out of a -20°C freezer. The bottle is 10 cl so I’ll drink (roughly) a quarter pure, a quarter with water then the final half after it’s been in the freezer for a few days. Onto the sampling…

I poured half the bottle into my glass. It appears completely colourless and to all intents and purposes, exactly like water. Less viscous than the Gilde Jule, and drains from the sides of the glass quickly. Whether it’s the effects of using a nosing glass I don’t know, but this smells sweeter than the Gilde Jule. Yet again the alcohol is very noticeable, but I think it’s more in the background than before. A definite solvent tone to it though, likely from the limonene and carvone from the caraway used to flavour the spirit.

First sip is warm, but does not burn, surprisingly. It makes me think of how the air tastes when you open a tangerine. This is much less oily in mouthfeel than the Gilde Jule. Aftertaste seems quite minimal. I take a large sip this time and still only a slight tingle on the tongue. It is warming once swallowed, but definitely not a burn. I get two stages of flavour in my mouth with this-starting out fruity then melting into a more woody, solventy vapour sensation. This is very good; much more enjoyable than the Gilde Jule to my taste.

With a little water added, the initial fruit is less pronounced with the woody note starting earlier. No change in the smell. This is actually far less pleasant diluted-I certainly won’t be adding water again. It’s almost like aniseed or liquorice without any sweetness whatsoever. It gives a sensation at the back of the tongue that I didn’t like. I must admit I knocked back the rest of the diluted spirit just to get it over and done with.

At room temperature, this certainly seems a sipping spirit that needs to be drunk full strength. I imagine the alcohol level adds to the texture. It’s more an ‘enjoyable sensation’ with an aftertaste, undiluted. I’m almost tempted to only try another 25 ml from the freezer, and just enjoy the remainder full strength at room temperature!

Watch this space…


As an afterthought, I rinsed and dried the glass and tried some of the Gilde Jule again to compare. It is just as watery as the Aalborg Taffel, but seemed to stick to the walls of the glass more. A much oilier mouthfeel than the Aalborg. Still giving that caramel odour, but it doesn’t smell sweet, more smoky. They both have their place, but I reckon I’d get a much more brutal hangover from the Gilde Jule…

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3 Responses to Aalborg Taffel Akvavit

  1. bogner says:

    wow! nice review – I’m almost sad I wasn’t able to supply you with a larger bottle 🙂 actually an eyeopener to have an ‘outsider’ review a spirit that I’ve known and liked for so many years, but that I probably don’t appreciate as much as it deserves 🙂 on a sidenote, would you smoke a cigar with this, since it can be ‘sipped’ too? never thought of akvavit as a cigar-friendly drink ..

  2. Dave says:

    Hey that’s cool-I’ve found somewhere in the UK that sells it! Would you agree with the tastes I perceived?

    I’d certainly try it with a cigar because of the woody taste, though my drink pairings are all experimental or because someone else said they were good… Have you tried the two together?

  3. bogner says:

    I think you found taste I didn’t know were there – I have a whole new view on Akvavit now .. so I might give it a go as an enjoyable drink rather than something I just toss down ..

    Never had the guts to try snaps with a cigar, but I might now – and I think you’re right, it’s got a woody taste, so it might not be too shabby with a smoke

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