As if news about North Korea could not possibly be any more nuclear – the reclusive country has recently announced its first whiskey offering. Labelled simply as “Samilpo”, the whiskey hails from a distillery in a lake bearing the same name, located near Mount Kumgang.

North Korea whiskey
Image credit: Young Pioneer Tours

Samilpo comes in three variants: a 40% abv (black labelled), 42% abv (red labelled), and a 45% abv (yet to be released). At first glance, the bottle bears a striking resemblance to those used in Johnnie Walker. This is hardly surprising considering the popularity of the Scottish brand of whiskey in North Korea.

An interesting thing worth noting is the claim that the North Korean whiskey is healthier than most other brands. The director of Samilpo was quoted as saying, “This beverage will reduce harm to your liver and also reduce the negative side effects to alcohol abuse.” Apparently, Samilpo contains 15 types of amino acids, including eight types of essential amino acids.

North Korea whiskey
Image on Unsplash

A lack of reviews means that there’s nary a peep about what Samilpo actually tastes like. However, tourists will be able to purchase a bottle for themselves in stores around Pyongyang. There are plans to export the whiskey, but this is subject to North Korea’s trade relations with the rest of the world.

Currently, Samilpo is priced domestically at US$15. Despite this relatively small price tag, it is considered to be one of the more premium brands of alcohol sold in North Korea. So if you find yourself planning a little trip to the northern part of the Korean Peninsula, grabbing a bottle or two might just make for the perfect steal/souvenir for your holiday!


This article was first published on Lifestyle Asia.

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