written by
Bert Gallagher

Reyka Vodka: Distinctive Icelandic Spirit Worth a Sip

Brands of Vodka 13 min read

Reyka Vodka, a premium spirit originating from Iceland, has gained considerable popularity in recent years due to its pristine ingredients and unique distillation process. Produced in the coastal village of Borgarnes, the brand takes advantage of Iceland's incredible natural resources, incorporating the purest glacial spring water and utilizing sustainable energy in its production.

The ultra-pure water, which has traveled through a 4,000-year-old lava field, along with the use of Carter-Head stills, ensures a smooth, crisp, and clean taste. Reyka's master distiller, Þórður Sigurðsson, showcases his expertise and passion not only in his vodka production but also in his dedication to the local community as a fireman and policeman. Combining tradition with innovation, Reyka Vodka captures the essence of Iceland while delivering a distinct and refreshing spirit.

Reyka Vodka

Reyka Vodka: An Icelandic Treasure

Distillation Process

Reyka Vodka is hand-crafted in the coastal village of Borgarnes, Iceland, which is known for its abundant natural resources and clean air. Distilled in small batches to ensure exceptional quality, Reyka takes advantage of Iceland's pristine environment during its production.

The distillation process involves the use of a Carter-Head still, which is a unique and rare distillation apparatus that enhances the purity of the spirit. This, combined with Iceland's renewable energy, results in a vodka with a smooth, crisp, and clean taste.

During the production process, Reyka vodka is filtered through lava rocks, giving it a distinct flavor profile and further purifying the spirit. This method of filtration is a signature element that reflects the Icelandic spirit at the core of Reyka Vodka.

Unique Ingredients

Reyka Vodka is made using some of the purest ingredients found in Iceland:

  • Glacial water: Sourced from a nearby glacial spring that runs through a 4,000-year-old lava field, the water used in Reyka Vodka is considered some of the purest in the world. This high-quality water is a vital component of the vodka's signature taste.
  • Barley and Wheat: Reyka is distilled from a blend of wheat and barley, which contribute to its crisp, clean flavor profile. These grains are carefully selected to ensure that the final product meets the brand's high-quality standards.

By combining these exceptional ingredients with a meticulous distillation process and Iceland's rich natural resources, Reyka Vodka stands out as a premium spirit and a true Icelandic treasure.

Tasting Notes and Flavor Profile

Aromas and Texture

Reyka Vodka offers a robust aroma dominated by grain notes. Delicate hints of lemon and citrus can also be detected. The texture is smooth and clean, thanks to the glacial spring water used in its production process.

Mouthfeel and Finish

As you taste, the vodka presents a slick and moderately full body. The mouthfeel showcases a combination of flavors, including cereal grain and a touch of lemon. The vodka also has a subtle sweetness that balances out the overall taste profile.

The finish is mildly bitter with a peppery note that lingers, making the vodka seem hotter than 80 proof. However, it remains an enjoyable liquor with a unique flavor profile. Reyka Vodka is indeed a delightful taste experience that incorporates elements of smoothness, cleanliness, lemon, and pepper, creating a memorable sip for vodka enthusiasts.

Cocktail Creations with Reyka Vodka

Reyka Vodka is a premium brand originating from Iceland, known for its pure glacial spring water and Carter-Head stills. Its unique properties make it an excellent base for various cocktails. In this section, we will explore two standout cocktails featuring Reyka Vodka: Martini Perfection and The Mozzarella Caprese Bloody Mary.

Martini Perfection

Reyka Vodka elevates the classic martini to new heights with its exceptional smoothness. For a perfect Reyka Vodka Martini, you'll need:

  • 60ml Reyka Vodka
  • A dash of dry vermouth
  • Ice
  • Lemon zest
  1. Fill a mixing glass with ice.
  2. Add 60ml of Reyka Vodka and a dash of dry vermouth.
  3. Stir the mixture until it is well-chilled.
  4. Strain the cocktail into a martini glass.
  5. Garnish with a twist of lemon zest.

With Reyka Vodka's purity, this martini shines brightly as a minimalist delight, allowing the vodka's crisp taste to take center stage.

The Mozzarella Caprese Bloody Mary

Reyka Vodka also lends itself well to more complex, savory cocktails, such as the Mozzarella Caprese Bloody Mary. To make this delightful drink, you'll need:

  • 50ml Reyka Vodka
  • 100ml tomato juice
  • 15ml lemon juice
  • A splash of Worcestershire sauce
  • A splash of hot sauce
  • Salt and black pepper, to taste
  • Mozzarella cheese, cherry tomatoes, fresh basil, and balsamic glaze for garnish
  1. Fill a shaker with ice.
  2. Add Reyka Vodka, tomato juice, lemon juice, Worcestershire sauce, hot sauce, salt, and black pepper.
  3. Shake the mixture until well-blended and chilled.
  4. Strain the cocktail over fresh ice in a glass.
  5. Garnish with skewers of mozzarella, cherry tomatoes, and fresh basil, and drizzle with balsamic glaze.

This unique Bloody Mary offers a refreshing twist on a classic, incorporating the flavors of a Caprese salad, and showcasing how well Reyka Vodka pairs with bold mixers.

Comparisons and Quality

How It Stacks Up Against Other Premium Vodkas

Reyka Vodka is a high-quality vodka made with natural ingredients and Icelandic water, giving it a unique flavor profile that sets it apart from other vodkas on the market. The use of Icelandic water is a key factor contributing to its exceptional quality, as it is known for being some of the cleanest and purest water in the world.

When comparing Reyka Vodka to other premium vodka brands, such as Grey Goose and Purity, there are some notable differences. Grey Goose, a popular premium vodka from France, is made from wheat and spring water, which results in a smooth and well-rounded taste. Purity Vodka, on the other hand, is a luxury Swedish vodka that goes through a 34-distillation process, creating an incredibly pure and refined spirit.

In terms of pricing, Reyka Vodka is considered to be a great value for money. The average price for a 750mL bottle is around $20.71, making it more affordable than some other premium vodkas like Grey Goose and Purity, which are generally priced higher.

Reyka Vodka has a clean, mineral-forward profile that doesn't boast a very pronounced flavor. This may not excite drinkers who prefer vodkas with a more noticeable character. However, its smooth and semi-sweet taste, with hints of toasted grain, make it an ideal choice for those who appreciate subtler flavor profiles.

It is worth noting that Reyka Vodka may not be as widely available in bars compared to some other premium vodka brands. Nevertheless, its unique production process, involving the filtration with lava rock, gives it a distinct character that is worth exploring for vodka enthusiasts.

Behind the Brand: William Grant & Sons

The Hendrick's Gin Connection

William Grant & Sons, a Scottish company established in 1887, is known for creating several iconic brands in the liquor industry. They are the masterminds behind The Glenfiddich and The Balvenie scotches, as well as the innovative Hendrick's Gin. In 2005, they decided to enter the premium vodka market with the launch of Reyka Vodka.

Reyka Vodka shares a strong connection with Hendrick's Gin, as they are both produced by the same parent company. One interesting aspect of this connection is their shared production method, in which the spirit is distilled using a unique Carter-Head still. The Carter-Head still is a rare and distinctive type of copper still, which plays a crucial role in imparting a distinct flavor profile to the spirits it produces.

In the case of Reyka Vodka, the copper of the Carter-Head still contributes to the vodka's smooth and pure taste due to its ability to remove impurities during the distillation process. This is similar to how Hendrick's Gin achieves its unique character and botanical essence.

Reyka Vodka maintains its Icelandic identity, while also benefiting from the expertise and experience of William Grant & Sons. This blend of tradition and innovation allows Reyka Vodka to resonate with consumers who appreciate quality and authenticity in their spirits.

In summary, the relationship between Reyka Vodka and William Grant & Sons is an important aspect of the brand's identity and success. The Hendrick's Gin connection, including the shared use of a Carter-Head still, elevates Reyka Vodka's position in the premium vodka market, making it a notable player in the industry.

Reviews, Awards, and Popularity

Notable Accolades

Reyka Vodka has been gaining popularity in recent years due to its high-quality and unique flavor profile. This Icelandic vodka is made with natural ingredients and Icelandic water, which sets it apart from other vodkas on the market. It is perfect for cocktails, but can also be enjoyed neat or on the rocks.

Some of the reviews and ratings for Reyka Vodka include:

  • VinePair gave it a high rating, based on the impeccably clean taste of glacial spring water.
  • VodkaBuzz rated Reyka Vodka 4 out of 5 stars, highlighting its quality and considering it as a great vodka with an average price of around $20.71 per 750mL.
  • The Spruce Eats described Reyka Vodka as a smooth, toasted grain, and semi-sweet vodka that comes from the village of Borgarnes on the western coast of Iceland.

Although Reyka Vodka has not appeared in the highest-ranking spot within the competition like Nemiroff Burning Pear Vodka did, it has still captured the hearts of many vodka enthusiasts around the world, becoming a favorite choice for those seeking a unique, high-quality Icelandic vodka.

Some popular ways to enjoy Reyka Vodka include:

  • Neat: Sip it straight without any additional ingredients, allowing you to enjoy its smooth and clean flavor.
  • On the rocks: Pour it over ice to experience a chilled and undiluted taste.
  • Cocktails: Mix it with tonic or other ingredients to create a delicious concoction that highlights Reyka's distinctive taste.

From Production to Consumption: Environmental Responsibility

Geothermal Energy

Reyka Vodka is produced in Borgarnes, Iceland, a coastal village surrounded by rich natural resources. One key aspect of Reyka's environmental responsibility focuses on utilizing geothermal energy for the distillation process. Geothermal energy is a sustainable and renewable resource, which allows the company to minimize its carbon footprint and contribute to a greener way of producing vodka. By using this clean energy source, they are able to ensure a more ecologically responsible production process.

Underground Volcanoes

Another essential component in the production of Reyka Vodka is the utilization of glacial spring water, which is sourced from underground volcanoes. This water is known for its purity and unique mineral composition that contributes to the smooth and clean taste of Reyka Vodka. By using this natural resource, the company is able to reduce the need for water treatment processes, thus limiting the environmental impact associated with traditional water purification methods. Furthermore, the choice of Borgarnes as the production location enables Reyka to have easy access to these natural resources while keeping the process environmentally responsible.

Properly Enjoying Reyka Vodka

Serving Suggestions

Reyka Vodka is a premium spirit with a 40% alcohol content, distilled in Iceland using renewable energy. One of the factors that makes this vodka stand out is the use of glacial spring water and lava rock filtration, which lend the vodka a clean and crisp taste. To enjoy this distinctive vodka, consider the following serving suggestions:

  • Neat: Due to its pure, smooth flavor profile, Reyka Vodka can be sipped neat, with no need for mixers or other additions. Serving it chilled can enhance the experience, allowing the nuances of the vodka to shine.
  • On the rocks: Another way to enjoy Reyka Vodka is over ice, which can provide a refreshing experience without diluting the flavor. Make sure to use high-quality ice to avoid negatively impacting the taste.
  • Cocktails: Reyka Vodka's smoothness and unique character make it a perfect base for a variety of cocktails. From classics like the Moscow Mule or Vodka Martini to more adventurous concoctions, Reyka Vodka can elevate your mixed drink creations.

When enjoying Reyka Vodka, it's essential to do so responsibly. Moderate your intake, and always be mindful of the impact alcohol can have on your body and decision-making abilities. Additionally, appreciate the unique journey this vodka has taken, from the lava fields of Iceland to your glass. With every sip, savor the crisp, clean taste that embodies the pristine natural resources and the smoke-free environment used in Reyka Vodka's production.

A Toast to Reyka Vodka

Reyka Vodka hails from the pristine land of Iceland, where it is hand-crafted using some of the purest water in the world. This vodka boasts a unique flavor profile, thanks to its natural ingredients and Icelandic water. Reyka Vodka has also received awards for its quality, such as Gold at the International Spirits Challenge and Silver at the International Wine & Spirit Competition in 2020.

The distillery where Reyka is made, located in the coastal town of Borgarnes, harnesses the power of Iceland's natural resources. The vodka is distilled from wheat and barley in small batches, ensuring exceptional quality and minimising environmental impact. With 80 proof and 40% ABV, Reyka Vodka offers a smooth, toasted grain, and semi-sweet taste that is perfect for cocktails or enjoyable on its own, neat or on the rocks.

Raising a glass of Reyka Vodka in celebration is an excellent way to appreciate the rich history and unique characteristics of this Icelandic spirit. In Iceland, it's customary to say "Skál!" when toasting, which is the Icelandic equivalent of "cheers." Another way to express gratitude or give thanks in Icelandic is "Takk."

Next time you're enjoying a glass of Reyka Vodka, remember the following:

  • Skál! – As you toast with friends and family, be sure to give a nod to Icelandic tradition by saying "Skál!"
  • Purest water – The unique flavor of Reyka Vodka is due in part to the glacial spring water that makes up its base, some of the purest in the world.
  • Takk – When raising your glass, give thanks to the land and resources that make Reyka Vodka possible by saying "takk—a simple, yet meaningful gesture.

In summary, Reyka Vodka is more than just an award-winning spirit; it's a tribute to the history, culture, and natural resources of Iceland. By sharing a toast and remembering the key terms Skál and takk, you can create a memorable experience and celebrate the unique qualities of this extraordinary vodka.

Frequently Asked Questions

How many distillations?

Reyka Vodka undergoes a unique distillation process. It is distilled only once to maintain its natural smoothness and flavor. The uniquely-designed copper Carter-Head Still allows the vodka to benefit from the purifying properties of copper, resulting in an exceptionally clean and crisp vodka.

Top-shelf quality?

Reyka Vodka is considered a top-shelf vodka due to its exceptional purity, smoothness, and taste. The Icelandic glacial spring water used in its production and the volcanic rocks used in its filtration contribute to this high quality.


Reyka Vodka is distilled from a combination of barley and wheat, not potatoes. These grains, along with the pristine Icelandic water, give Reyka Vodka a unique flavor profile.

Smoothness level?

Reyka Vodka is known for its exceptional smoothness. The single distillation process, combined with the natural purifying properties of copper, volcanic rock filtration, and Iceland's mineral-rich glacial spring water, results in an incredibly smooth and clean finish.

Overall rating?

Reyka Vodka has received numerous positive reviews and accolades for its quality and taste. VinePair, for example, has given Reyka Vodka a high rating, praising its mineral notes, smoothness, and overall flavorful experience.

Popular cocktails?

Reyka Vodka's versatility and smooth taste make it a popular choice for various cocktails. Some popular options include the Reyka Espresso Martini, the Puffin Collins, and the Icelandic Mule. These classic cocktails highlight Reyka Vodka's unique flavor profile and complement its smooth, clean finish.