Have you ever tried Icelandic Schnapps before? How about Icelandic Schnapps flavoured with moss?
No? Then let me introduce you to Fjallagrasa Icelandic Schnapps – the liqueur flavoured with Cetaria Islandica, a type of lichen that grows in Iceland.
This was one of the most interesting bottles of liqueur my husband and I purchased in Reykjavik. Needless to say, once we took a good look at the bottle, we had to buy it.
The company describes this schnapps as a true Viking drink, although I’m not sure exactly how far back this recipe goes. But the Icelandic people have used lichen for centuries in herbal remedies and teas.
Interestingly, the company that makes this schnapps, Natura Islandica, also manufactures herbal and vitamin supplements, cold medicine, and skin products under the ICEHERBS brand. In fact, Icelandic moss is still an ingredient in sore throat lozenges. It apparently helps to soothe and loosen throat mucus. Scientific studies also suggest that the components in Icelandic moss prevent the growth of bacteria and some viruses.
Fjallagrasa Icelandic Schnapps is all natural, with no artificial colours, flavours or enhancers. The moss is picked by hand and steeped in alcohol to leech out the flavours and colour of the moss.
Did you notice the bottom of the bottle? Yes, they did add extra moss to each bottle to continuously infuse the liqueur with extra flavour and colour.
Here’s a better look:
It’s not the most beautiful ingredient floating around in a liqueur bottle, but it’s definitely a conversation starter!
Okay, so it looks interesting enough – but what does it taste like? I’ll try to describe it to my best ability, but it’s honestly unlike anything I’ve tasted before.
The scent is earthy, but I also got what I can only describe as a slight dried apple fragrance. The flavour is a bit tangy with mineral notes, and a strong alcoholic burn. (To be fair, it IS 38%.) That earthy fragrance also comes through in the taste, but it’s also a little bit sweet and woody all at once. It’s definitely something we could only have a little bit of at a time.
I think we both wanted to like it more than we did, but that damp earth flavour is hard to get used to. This isn’t something I’ll ever end up craving – especially when there are so many other amazing liqueurs made in Iceland. I can’t even suggest using it in a cocktail, because it’s such a unique product that using it as a mixer would do it a great disservice, even if you don’t like the flavour. But if you know of a mixed drink recipe that would make this Icelandic schnapps more appealing, let me know in the comments!