Iceland Cracks Open First Vodka

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Reyka Vodka Microsite
Reyka Vodka Microsite
Not only does it boast some of the world's smartest citizens along with an enduring music scene that includes Bjork and Sigur Ros, Iceland could also soon emerge as a major vodka purveyor thanks to Reyka, the country's first ever official vodka drink. Meaning "steam" in the native tongue thanks to its geothermal, steam-powered distillery, Reyka purportedly uses some of the purest water in vodka production as it's drawn from a 4,000-year-old lava field.

With those elements to work with, newly formed agency Dead as We Know It created the beverage's microsite, melding whimsy with tongue-in-cheek in the process. A virtual Iceland of sorts, the Reyka destination stars local pop star Hafdis Huld, who serves as the tour guide through an illustrated, almost childlike iteration of her homeland. Cute as a button, but armed with a sense of humor, Huld appears in practically every section of the site, including the "Welcome to Iceland" front page where visitors can make geysers spurt, volcanoes erupt and puffins reverse flight with a mouse click.

The Reyka landscape resembles a rural village and plays on our notions of Iceland being somewhat fantastical and mysterious. "We found the most compelling thing about Reyka Vodka was 'Iceland", not how Iceland really is, but how we perceived it to be – a strangely wonderful and somewhat fictional place, inhabited with odd mythical beasts and quirky people," says DAWKI's creative director Mikal Reich . "So, we got away from showing an actual Iceland through photography, but with scratchboard illustration. This represented our sketchy and imagined idea of Iceland; a world that is refreshingly uncorrupt."

As visitors travel further with Huld through different sections, with a constant stream of wind blowing, they can read a bevy of "fun facts" about Iceland, create their Icelandic name, get regaled with tales about each decorated Reyka bottle, download Huld's music and even shop for gear.

Though it might not have the cachet of a Grey Goose or Ketel One just yet, judging by Iceland's impressive track record, Reyka will soon likely make an appearance at a table service near you.
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