Two barrels of single-malt Scotch whiskey have set sail with Hurtigruten on a voyage of discovery. During their year onboard the expedition ship Fram, the seafaring barrels of Scotch will clock up more nautical miles than the passengers embarking on the Norwegian line’s polar cruises.
The only downside is that unlike their adventurous fellow cruisers – who will return home full to the brim with tales to tell – by the time the cruising casks disembark they will be empty.
As Scotland shares a Viking heritage with Norway, the decades-old single malt whiskey is an appropriate choice to take along. Hurtigruten says the idea is to enhance the quality of the Scotch, which will be bottled en route and sold as a unique liquid souvenir.
The pair of 150-liter oak barrels set off on their epic journey from Hamburg in October and bottling is due to take place in July. Crossing four seafaring lines – the northern and southern polar circles, the zero meridian and the equator – the whiskey will have travelled 78,000 miles before being bottled.
A Hurtigruten spokesman said: “The assumption is that the continuous rolling movements, temperature changes and sea air, will further improve the quality of the single malt.”
To say nothing of warming up the passengers as they travel into the chilly regions.
Hurtigruten reckons the barrels will produce 400 bottles. Bearing the label “MS Fram Expedition Whisky,” it will be sold with a commemorative diary and certificate. Passengers who can’t wait to try it before getting home will also be able to sample the whiskey at the bar.
The cruise line is keeping the name of the distiller close to its chest, but says it has a “near multi-century history” of producing some of the world’s finest whiskies.
Currently sailing to the Antarctic, Fram is offering two spring voyages focusing on the topic of whisky and its origins – an 11-night British Isles sailing and a 12-night itinerary called The Viking Route, visiting Scotland, the Faroe Islands and Iceland. Both cruises start in Bergen and there will be Scottish lecturer and whisky experts onboard.
Skal as they would say in Norwegian, or slainte in Scottish Gaelic: We’ll drink to that.