AN ICELANDIC brewery has come under fire from environmentalists for making a beer with smoked whale testicles.
The beer, named Hvalur 2- meaning ‘whale’ in old Norse- is brewed with fin whale testicles that have been salted and smoked in sheep manure.
The Steðjar brewery, located in Borgarfjörður which is 60 miles north of the capital Reykjavik, has created the beer in collaboration with Icelandic multimillionaire whaler Kristjan Loftsson who supplied the testicles.
The move has been branded as a deliberate insult to anti-whaling activists. A spokesperson for Whale and Dolphin Conservation (WDC) said: ” This is a calculated move, not only to dishonour a beautiful and endangered creature by using its most intimate of body parts as a marketing tool, but also sends a clear ‘two fingers’ to the conservation community and those who love and respect whales.
“There’s more to this than meets the eye. Whaling is a dying industry, constantly casting around for new ways to offload its goods.
“Right-minded people would no sooner drink beer brewed with whale testicles than they would order similar drinks made with tiger, elephant or rhino testicles and our hope, of course, is that visitors to Iceland will treat this latest offering with the disdain it deserves.”
Steðjar has created 20,000 bottles of the dark coloured 5.1% ABV beer which will go on sale 23 January.
The brewery came under fire last year for creating a beer, aptly named Hvalur, which contained whale meat however it was banned after failing food hygiene regulations.
To avoid further bans with their latest creation the company have labelled the beer as containing whale ‘product’ because the testicles are only used in the fermentation process to flavour it.
Dagbjartur Arilíusson, co-founder of the brewery said: “The idea for this brew is the icelandic midwinter festival, called Thorri.
“There we celebrate ancient month of Thorri. We eat ram´s testical, rotten shark, soured whale fat etc, as we did in the old days.
“We think this product will suit this festivel really well. We smoke the testical by the old icelandic way, with dryed sheep shit, and this method give the beer really unique smoke flavour.
Dagbjartur described the beer as having “a unique smokey taste that gives way to a whale-meaty taste.”
We make around 20.000 bottles for the icelandic market and we think it will be sold up really soon, but we also have interest from abroud to export it to few countries.
Commenting on the opposition from anti-whaling activists, Dagbjartur said: “Well we did expect some opposition from environmentalists, but still we live in a country that allows whaling and the whaling is very well controlled by the icelandic authorities.
“Fisheries here are self sustainably and very responsible. According to our research the fin whale in North Atlantic is not endangered.”
Kristjan Loftsson’s fin whaling company Hvalur Ltd supplied around 150 individual fin whale testicles- each weighing between 5-15 Kg- for the beer said: “I saw a video online of an American micro brewery that use cattle testicles in their beer and I got the idea for a beer with whale testicles.
“The beer will sell for the Thorri month but if it sells well we will continue to create it because we have many of the testicles frozen.
Loftsson’s whaling company kills around 150 of the endangered fin whales in Icelandic waters each year and sells the meat to Japan where it finds its way into sushi restaurants.
He said: “We cannot sell any of the beer or whale meat inside the EU because they are holier than holy.”
Loftsson has encountered opposition from anti-whaling organisations such as Sea Shepherd who sunk two ships in his whaling fleet in 1986 while they were tied up in a Reykjavik harbour.
“They sunk two of my ships, the Hvalur 6 and Hvalur 7, so I only have two left now” he said.
He continued: “You expect opposition from the anti-everything movement. No body listens to them though so it’s alright.”
Fin whales are the second largest living mammals and are currently listed by the International Union for Conservation of Nature as endangered. They are known to grow up to 27 metres long and weigh as much as 120 tonnes.
Despite their size fin whales are capable of speeds of up 47km/h which led to their nickname of ‘greyhound of the sea’. Scientists have discovered that they are known to mate with blue whales, producing first generation offspring.