A marriage of convenience & good taste

LAND OF FIRE AND ICE

Pollution free, and with its chilly name, Iceland is in geological terms a bit of a babe. It’s been only 20 million years since the northern Atlantic cast up this sparsely populated, remote and beautiful land.

Often called the ‘Land of Fire and Ice’, it’s a turbulent and contradictory country that certainly lives up to its name.

Turbulent for sure; here nature and geology can, at a moment’s notice, offer some very nasty surprises – Iceland is after all one of the world’s most volcanically active hot spots. Being there it is easy to imagine the earth opening up, swallowing you, and leaving no trace whatsoever.

Contradictory too, in that while only the size of Kentucky, and with a population of just over 300,000, Iceland is, at once, one of the most sparsely populated countries in the World, yet has one of the most developed societies.

However, until the middle of the 20th century Iceland was also one of Europe’s poorest countries.

Nowadays, Iceland is a technologically-advanced society; 95% of adults own computers. Adult literacy is 100%, and more books per capita are written and published in Iceland than in any other nation on earth.

So, Icelanders are literate, technologically-advanced and socially well-balanced.

Is that the whole story?

Well no. You don’t have to look far to see even more contradictory forces at work.

Beneath this urbane, cool surface gloss, lies a deeper, more primitive belief system.

Iceland, with its long dark winters and surreal lava formations, is a hotbed of myths and legends that date back to the days of the sagas and the Vikings. Icelanders still claim that one in every 500 inhabitants of Iceland are either elves or trolls. To this day, belief in elves or the ‘hidden people’ can still have both subtle and, in some cases, quite overt influences on day-to-day life in modern Iceland.

84 ROCK (A TRUE STORY)

Icelanders enjoy very cordial relations with their neighbours from the other world – the hidden people.

Icelanders believe that elves are the children that Eve hadn’t finished washing when god came to visit. Because they weren’t fit to be seen she had no choice but to hide them. Hence they are ‘the hidden people’.

To this day in Iceland elves are treated with great respect.

The rocks, hills and streams in which they live are diligently preserved. Roads are diverted – one road in Reykjavik is even named ‘elf hill road’. On the village of Grundarfjördur’s main street, a rock stands between houses number 82 and 86 –

The elves live in number 84: the rock!

THE SECRET’S IN THE WATER

Borganes is situated at the head of a stunningly beautiful fjord on Iceland’s remote west coast. It’s a ten-day journey for Martin Miller’s from Immingham, on the east coast of England, across the stormy seas of the north Atlantic to this remote village.

But it’s worth it.

On an island already famous for its sense of magic and atmosphere, this is a truly magical place. Behind the village to the north, steep and forbidding, rise the ‘ridges of hell’ known as Helgrindur to the Icelanders. Beyond that, capped with snow, can be seen the volcanic caldera of Snæfellsjökul, Jules Verne’s legendary gateway to the centre of the earth.

It’s here we bring the Martin Miller’s spirit for it’s Icelandic ‘marriage’.

It’s here that the art of the blender takes place, where real magic is wrought.

Sparkling bright, pure and unpolluted, we draw water from our own spring. This is water like no other, icy cold and alive. It emerges into daylight for the first time in maybe 800 years, rising from the depths of the basalt mountains that frame the skyline of this sleepy village.

So, spirit into spirit, for Icelanders truly believe their water to be a living entity, Martin Miller’s is delicately blended with pure Icelandic spring water creating a marriage of rare softness, clarity of taste and appearance.

It is simply bottled magic.