What does the hit Netflix show Vikings: Valhalla & Valhalla Herb Shot have in common?
Let’s start with the obvious one, the name. In Norse mythology Valhalla is known as the place where fallen kings and heroes live forever which the Old Norse name, Valhöll, also indicates (word ‘valr’ meaning ‘the fallen’ and ‘höll’ meaning ‘hall’). Valhalla is depicted as a magnificent palace to which warriors return to drink and feast after battling. While the liquor is said to flow from the udders of a goat in Valhalla, we can assure that Valhalla Herb Shot has nothing to do with goats. Instead, we use Koskenkorva grain spirit as a base and a mix of organic Nordic herbs from Frantsila Organic Herb Company in Finland that are carefully selected, extracted, and distilled into the drink.
The legends surrounding Valhalla also symbolize a spirit common to Nordic men: a strong and brave character. It has been said that the North wind made the Vikings and that our environment has shaped the Nordic character. Throughout history, Nordic people have had to face rough conditions, from the harsh climate to strong oppressors which the Netflix show illustrates. Just as the people have been shaped by rough conditions, so too have the plants that grow in this region due to dramatic temperature and light variations. By adapting to the environment, plants have formed compounds and tastes, particularly bitter and acidic components, that make them unique. These unique flavors of herbs such as achillea, angelica, and artemisia make Valhalla one of a kind.
Achillea millefolium – battle wound remedy
Achillea is a flowering plant with a bitter and peppery taste and is commonly known as a ‘healing herb’. Legend has it that Achilles, the hero of the Trojan War, carried Achillea (hence its name) with his army to help staunch the bleeding of wounds and cuts from battles.
Angelica sylvestris – the root of the holy ghost
Angelica is a tall aromatic plant from the parsley family and is often used in herbal remedies, food, and drink preparation, and perfumes. According to one legend, Angelica was revealed as a cure to the plague by an angel in a dream. In another legend, it was used against evil spirits, witchcraft and spells –hence it has been called “The Root of the Holy Ghost”.
Artemisia absinthium – the myth of lucid dreaming
Artemisia is a plant that is used primarily as a bitter in liqueurs, as well as for remedial purposes. Age-old legend has it that Artemisia gives psychic abilities to practitioners. We will let you decide whether or not there is any truth to this claim. However, this plant is widely used in the preparation of a wide variety of food and drink, like spirits, tea, wine and vermouths.
Vikings: Valhalla follows Leif Eriksson (the most famous Viking explorer in the history), Freydís Eiríksdóttir (sister to Leif), and Harald Sigurdsson (the prince of Norway) from Kattegat to England and beyond. The characters have to navigate through stormy waters and deep forests and while the show doesn’t reveal how they find their way, historians suspect that Vikings used sun compasses and stones on their voyages. Norse mythology also offers an alternative compass called the Vegvisir which is also the symbol on the Valhalla Herb Shot bottle. Vegvisir is an age-old Nordic magical compass intended for navigating through rough weather. It is said to give magical powers to acquire guidance and direction in life.
In essence, Vikings: Valhalla and Valhalla Herb Shot both draw inspiration from the rugged spirit of the Nordic people and are strongly rooted in the old Scandinavian stories and legends that have shaped our culture. Watching the Netflix show might just get a little better with sipping some Valhalla on the side. Grab our tips for a Valhalla-themed watch party here.