hist-brewing: Pors

argyle at excite.com argyle at excite.com
Tue May 21 05:58:35 PDT 2002

Thank you, Martyn! You've just given me the answer to a question I've had for about 6 years now. I visited Denmark and Sweden back then and ran into an aquavit called "Porssnaps", which was made by the Aalborg distillery. Pors was the only flavoring in it, and it was delicious; sort of rosemary-mint-chiso sort of herby/fresh tasting. On the Sweden leg of our trip, I was given a bit of home-brewed mead, again with Pors as the only flavoring herb. I was told that they didn't know what Pors was in English, but that it was the traditional mead herb in northern Sweden. The mead was outstanding.

I tried looking up Pors a couple of times without success, and left it at that. Now I know!

FWIW, calling something "Finnmark pors" would *not* be a term of esteem. It's like saying "poor man's pors". Finnmark mostly refers to the area known as Lappland; not a lot of good herbs up there.

--- > Date: Mon, 20 May 2002 09:51:18 +0100
> Subject: Re: hist-brewing: Gruit herbs (was: Marsh Rosemary)
> From: Martyn Cornell 
> To: Historic brewing 
> I would like to take this opportunity to express an apparently heretical
> proposition: I don't think medieval European brewers used marsh rosemary,
> Ledum Palustre, except probably in desperation when they couldn't get
> hold
> of sweet gale.


> The perceived similarity of the two plants is seen in the names given to
> them in German and Norwegian: Porst and pors for sweet gale,
> Schweineporst
> and Finnmark pors for marsh rosemary
> However, the German name for marsh rosemary, Schweineporst, which
> translate=
> s
> as "pigs' gale", suggests very strongly that it was seen as a
> poor
> substitute for true porst, rather like chestnuts and horse chestnuts in
> English (I don't know if Finnmark pors, which means "gale from
> Finnmark
> county", has derogatory overtones or not: anybody with knowledge of
> how
> Norwegians feel about things from Finnmark? 


> Martyn Cornell

Thanks again, Martyn!


Greenwich Morris Men (NYC)

"Fermentation and civilization are inseparable"
   -John Ciardi (1916 - 1986)

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