Finnish vodka relaunched with new look and new variants

Koskenkorva Original vodka

Finnish vodka Koskenkorva is being relaunched globally with new bottles and advertising alongside three new variants including one aged in “sauna barrel”.

Distributed in the UK by Indie Brands, the brand has undergone a major revamp to better reflect its provenance in a village in western Finland, its heritage and its “straightforward, honest” style.

Owner Altia has also developed three new flavours, Blueberry Juniper, Lemon Lime Yarrow and Sauna Barrel – vodka with a soft spicy character from being aged for six months in charred oak barrels.

Altia’s category brand manager Suvi Reinikkala said: “We want to keep the legend of Koskenkorva as it is in Finland but also look abroad. We want to make it the most trusted and most respected vodka brand in the world.”

Kirsi Puntila, Altia’s marketing and spirits category director, added: “Consumers are looking for products which have a strong story and heritage, like Koskenkorva does. We are not a bling-bling vodka for rappers, we are a product made with integrity and a touch of humour.”

Koskenkorva Vodka was launched in 1953 and has been the leading vodka brand in Finland since the 1960s, while Brown-Forman’s Finlandia – also produced by Altia – has been mainly for export.

Koskenkorva Original vodka, which continues with the same recipe, is made in the village of Koskenkorva from locally grown barley using continuous distillation. It is diluted with local spring water and bottled at 37.5% ABV. The three new variants are also bottled at 37.5% ABV.

Koskenkorva range

The new bottles, which will be available in the UK later this year through Indie brands, were designed by Niclas Engsäll from leading Swedish agency Grow, who wanted the new branding to be a visual representation of the heritage of Koskenkorva Vodka.

It is simple and stylish with a vintage look and “artisanal” touches such as a wooden cork and a wavy irregularity to the inner side of the glass. A new stamp has been added to the label, which reinforces the fact that Koskenkorva has been crafted since 1953 alongside simple wording that emphasises it is made in a village.

Kirsi said: “We were looking for a designer from the Nordic countries and even from the United Kingdom for some considerable time. Finally, we found Niclas who immediately understood what we were looking for. We think it is great that the new Koskenkorva is a result of real Nordic cooperation.”

A new communications platform, including a new website and advertisements, has been launched for the brand, focusing on the farm, the barley and farmers.

A number of signature recipes have been created by bartender Mikael Karttunen from Altia Academy to promote the vodka and its three variants for cocktails, led by the Village Mar-tea-ni. See below.

Koskenkorva Vodka was awarded a gold medal in the International Spirits Challenge 2016. Last year, it won awards as the best premium vodka and the best Scandinavian vodka in the Global Vodka Masters competition.

Also part of the Koskenkorva portfolio, but exclusively for the Finnish market, is the historic Koskenkorva Viina – meaning “spirit of Koskenkorva” – which has 38% ABV and is sweetened with a small amount of sugar.

Altia also produces Valhalla, a Koskenkorva Vodka-based herbal liqueur, as well as other Koskenkorva Vodka flavours which will be phased out or reviewed.

Koskenkorva Village Mar-Tea-Ni

Village Mar-tea-ni (pictured above)
40ml Any flavour of Koskenkorva Vodka
10ml Lemon juice
20ml Honey syrup
1/2 barspoon Loose leaf Earl Grey tea
Combine ingredients and shake vigorously. Fine strain into a cocktail glass.

Backyard Smash
40ml Koskenkorva Blueberry Juniper
20ml Lemon juice
15ml Sugar
4 Basil leaves
1 tablespoon Blueberries
Egg white (optional)
Muddle blueberries in a shaker with the liquids and add egg white. Shake vigorously with ice and double strain into a jar filled with ice. Garnish with a basil sprig and blueberries.

40ml Koskenkorva Lemon Lime Yarrow
15ml Fresh lime juice
20ml Fresh orange juice
20ml Sugar syrup
4 pieces Yellow cherry tomato
10 pieces Basil leaf
Salt and pepper
Soda water
Muddle the cherry tomatoes in a shaker with vodka. Add other ingredients and shake vigorously with ice. Fine strain into a jar filled with ice, top up with soda water and stir. Garnish with basil leaves and cherry tomatoes.

Farmer’s Julep
30ml Koskenkorva Sauna Barrel
20ml Sweet vermouth
15ml Cola syrup
Dash absinthe
Mint leaves
For the cola syrup, simmer cola in a saucepan until about one-fifth of the liquid is left. Let the syrup cool down and bottle for storage.
To make the drink, put mint leaves in the cup, rub them gently with a muddler, add crushed ice. Pour ingredients over ice and churn. Top with crushed ice and garnish with a mint sprig.

Wild Negroni (pictured below)
20ml Koskenkorva Blueberry Juniper
20ml Aperol
20ml Sweet vermouth
Measure ingredients in a Perlini shaker. Fill with ice, shake and carbonate. Strain in on the rocks and garnish with orange peel. If you don’t have a Perlini, you can leave out the bubbles or use a soda siphon instead to carbonate the drink.

Koskenkorva Vodka Wild Negroni

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