The Kyrö Distillery’s success story is beyond compare. Five young men made their first whisky mashes in their parents’ garage a few years ago. They persuaded a master blender in London to taste the distillate, and after tasting it, he grew silent with bewilderment and finally said, ‘I love this stuff!’ This was a defining moment for the young men who decided to start working on their product in earnest and founded their own rye whisky distillery in an old dairy in Isokyrö, Ostrobothnia.
“Because the first batch of whisky takes years to mature, we decided to use the time learning to make our own rye gin,” says Miko Heinilä, one of the founding members of the distillery.
They had a clear vision for developing the taste of the Napue rye gin: they wanted to create a gin so Finnish in essence that its aromas were redolent of the exact moment when you step out of a sauna in the countryside on a summer night and a mist begins to form at the edge of the forest. They kept fine-tuning the taste until they finally had a fresh – and, as it would turn out, the world’s best – recipe in their hands.
“We use 12 traditional dry herbs in Napue, as well as fresh sea buckthorn, cranberry, birch leaves and meadowsweet, which are collected from the countryside surrounding the distillery.”
The makers found the end result convincing and they decided to send their gin to England to the world’s oldest elite competition in the field, the International Wine & Spirit Competition. In the end, out of 150 candidates, Napue won the whole gin category and outstripped all the experienced manufacturers with long traditions. Heinilä is still a little dizzy with the events following the competition: word about their little company has spread like wildfire all over the world and the demand for their products has exploded. In this company story, everything fell into place as if by chance.
“So far this has been a completely absurd experience,” Heinilä laughs.
The world’s best gin & tonic
- Choose a glass with a wide bowl so that the bubbles tickle your nose as you drink
- Fill it to the brim with ice
- Add 4 cl of Napue Gin, 12 cl of high-quality tonic (such as Fever Tree Indian tonic)
- Add a sprig of rosemary and some cranberries
- Drink and enjoy