Without a doubt, my hometown of Hamburg has a pretty vibrant whisky scene. We got amazing bars such as Christiansen’s or The Rabbithole, great liquor stores like Weinquelle Lühmann or Spirituosen Wolf and regular tasting events held by the likes of The Whisky Jack or Herr Lutz. Once a year, we are even the host city of Hanse Spirit, the biggest spirit fair in Northern Germany. But one thing we do not have and that is an own whisky distillery. So if you are looking for a “whisky made in Hamburg”, you will end up empty-handed. Unless you are willing to bend the rules a bit. Just get into your car, drive 20 miles to the South and pop in on a minute craft distillery by the name of Nordik Edelbrennerei. As they operate out of the village of Jork, they do technically not produce a real Hamburgian whisky either. What they do produce, however, is a very enjoyable drop that is distilled and matured almost at our beautiful city’s doorstep!
When I called the distillery minute before, I did not downplay it. Located in the upper floor of a farmhouse, it does not take long to see everything there is to see – the shop, the reception area, the production facilities and the tasting room. But that should not keep you from visiting Nordik Edelbrennerei at all. First and foremost, you will receive a warm welcome and be able to check everything out from up close. And second, the craft distillery resides in such a beautiful rural area that the way there is already an experience in its own. When my girlfriend and I took course for the “Altes Land” (as the region is called by the natives), we did so on a gorgeous summer’s day. The sun was up high, the sky was baby blue and the apple trees on each side of the road were carrying fruits. As we drove on, we passed many a picturesque sight and beautiful scene. Now in winter, the fields are of course no longer green and the plants have ceased blossoming. But I bet the vast lands and idyllic surroundings are quite a sight at that time of the year, too.
Like most whisky makers in Germany, Nordik Edelbrennerei only distills aqua vitae on the side. With advocaat, fruit brandy and gin being their most popular products, they do not fill more than a handful of casks of single malt per year. They currently have three expressions on offer, all of which are 4 years old. One was matured in a 100 liter American white oak cask, another was kept in a 100 liter Oloroso sherry cask and the last one ripened in a 250 liter port cask. I tried them all during my visit and was really fond of what I smelled and tasted. As I was the driver that day, I could not have more than a tiny sip of each though. Thus, I am all the more looking forward to opening the bottle I bought and giving the spirit the attention it deserves.
At several dates throughout the year, Nordik Edelbrennerei also offers whisky tastings in their nicely furnished tasting room right next to the production facilities. In the course of these tastings, they treat their guests to their own releases as well as guest whiskies, which could either be of Scottish origin or come from other German distilleries. I have not attended any of these events yet, but I am quite intrigued to do so. If you take into consideration that holiday apartments do not cost you an arm and a leg in the “Altes Land” during the off-season, combining a tasting at Nordik Edelbrennerei with a weekend-long retreat to the countryside sounds like a pretty swell idea!
Name: Nordik Edelbrennerei
Type: Whisky & spirit distillery
Address: Nordik Edelbrennerei, Osterjork 140, 21635 Jork, Germany
Opening hours: 10am till 1pm and 2pm till 5pm (Tue to Fri), 11am till 5pm (Sat to Sun)
Official Website: https://www.nordik-edelbrennerei.de/