Harvested from icebergs in remote Arctic waters, Svalbarði is a luxurious drinking water brand that is due to launch in London’s most prestigious department store – Harrods – on 15th February 2017.
The product is as unique as the story of its conception: in 2013, Norwegian-American Jamal Qureshi collected meltwater as a gift for his wife while travelling in the Norwegian island territory of Svalbard – one of Europe’s last great wildernesses. The pure water would make for a delicious cup of tea, he thought. Four years later, and the whimsical, selfless thought has transformed into an epicurean product, which is redefining the very notion of drinking water.
With approval from the Governor of Svalbard, Mr. Qureshi charters an icebreaker – the Ulla Rinman – and seeks out the purest of icebergs in Kongsfjorden, just 1,000km from the North Pole at 79° north. As fresh as the day it fell as snow up to 4,000 years previously, 15 tonnes of ice is gathered by the Svalbarði crew. The ice is then gently melted in a specially constructed machine and bottled by hand, capturing the water in its purest form. In order to retain the water’s natural composition and premium taste, no chemistry-altering filters are used, only micron filters and UV light to adhere to international standards. Each expedition yields 13,000 bottles; each batch is therefore a limited edition. The product can be shipped around the world.
Based in the Arctic outpost of Longyearbyen – an important centre for global warming research – Svalbarði is an environmentally friendly company with a marked interest in raising awareness for polar and climatic research. In three main ways, the company operates sustainably for the conservation of the Arctic environment:
- Firstly, Svalbarði is carbon neutral-certified. The company invests in a carbon-offsetting scheme, which supports projects around the world, including water infrastructure in East Africa and wind farms in Western China. The product is sustainable: the icebergs from which the ice is extracted would otherwise melt into the sea; the bottle’s caps are produced from sustainable wood; and the glass bottle is entirely reusable and recyclable.
- Secondly, Svalbarði uses its position as a global distributer to raise awareness for climate change on an international scale. Svalbard is a key global warming research center; Svalbarði uses its various platforms to teach people about the critical work being done there.
- Thirdly, the company aims to mitigate the impact of global warming. Through a partnership with the Crop Trust, Svalbarðisupports the preservation of 15 thousand years of human agriculture. As global warming threatens the world’s food supply, the company donates a percentage from each sale to the international seed bank, which is based on the island of Svalbard.
Mr. Qureshi commented: “Svalbarði began with a dream to explore the Arctic. When I visited Svalbard for the first time I discovered the ice was exceptionally clean, with a delightful taste. As a gift for my wife, I gathered a little water and brought it home to make a cup of her favourite herbal tea. This set in motion the chain of events which created Svalbarði. My dream to visit Svalbard has become a passion to share it. I know few will ever be able to visit, but with Svalbarði people can taste a piece of the ice at the top of the world.”
The craft product is said to have the ‘taste of snow in air’ and evoke recollections of ‘snowflakes on the tongue.’ Almost entirely mineral free, with no nitrates or pollutants, Svalbarði is an experience for the palate, much like a fine wine. With an exceptionally light mouthfeel, Svalbarði has a unique terroir – perfect for pairing with fine foods. The fine water is a sophisticated alternative to alcohol, and enriches culinary experiences. It is an ideal gift: the elegant glass bottle is designed with beauty in mind and is filled locally to support Svalbard’s community; the bottle’s special casing emphasises the significance of the product, like a bottle of fine champagne or liqueur; and the water’s journey from glacier to glass is a welcomed anecdote at events, such as corporate celebrations, weddings, and birthdays.
For more information on the launch of Svalbarði, visit http://www.svalbardi.com