Korpimaan Kyynel is a new vodka, or viina as we call it, made from 100% Finnish rye and barley. The idea for this vodka came from the moonshining traditions in the Finnish wilderness. Around 65% of Finland’s land is covered in forests, making it an exceptional place to hide and make moonshine.
Prohibition in Finland in 1919–1932, as well as high taxes, caused a flurry of moonshiners. Finnish moonshine was made from grains, sugar or potatoes, and the spirit was distilled three times. This home-made vodka had many names, pontikka (based on poor-quality French wine from Pontacq), kotipolttoinen (home-burnt), tuliliemi (fire sauce or firewater) and korpikuusen kyyneleet (tears of the wilderness). It is the last of these that this new Finnish vodka’s name is based on, and it translates as ‘tears of the wild forest’.
The distillation of Korpimaan Kyynel vodka takes place in Teurastamo, the old slaughterhouse in Helsinki, which is now a home for busy restaurants and bars. The distillation method has been kept a secret, but I managed to find out that it is distilled in small batches with the great care of the master distiller. They use a unique combination of both vodka- and old-school moonshine distilling methods. I believe it is the skills of the distillers, and the fresh ingredients, that give the vodka its unique character.
It’s best served neat at room temperature to bring out the beautiful subtle flavours of red apple and cinnamon – an apple pie or crumble comes to mind… Others have described the flavour as fresh rye bread and lingonberries. It is amazing considering there’s no added flavourings or sugar! Korpimaan Kyynel is made from water, rye, barley and yeast. Nothing else. Mind-blowingly delicious!
Even if you are not used to drinking spirits neat, I recommend you try this one! To make a long drink, the recommended serve is with plenty of ice, Fever-Tree Tonic Water or Mediterranean Tonic, and fresh lime. Go easy on the lime, though, as I feel it can take away from the vodka itself. Try using lightly crushed lingonberries instead.
Drink responsibly. The Finns might not, but you should!
Korpimaan Kyynel is currently only available in Finland, but I have teamed up with the owners, Mari and Tuomas, to give you a chance to win a bottle of this special brew and to be one of the first people in the UK to try it! Competition closes 2nd February 2017!