Voss Water
Drawn from a virgin aquifer, untouched even by air.




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KAREN HOCHMAN is Editorial Director of THE NIBBLE™.


August 2006

Product Reviews / Main Nibbles / Beverages

VOSS Artesian Water

A Flavorful European Favorite


CAPSULE REPORT: Madonna, Britney, and even we have been seen toting VOSS water. Is it that good, or just another mineral water in a gorgeous bottle? It’s both—but at a price that begs the question, “If you have to ask...buy something less expensive.”

The Norwegian Viking Leif Ericson discovered America in 1000 A.D. Had he stuck around Norway to explore its untouched southern wilderness, even he would not have discovered the source of VOSS Artesian Water, because the virgin aquifer lies underground, shielded under an impermeable layer of ice and rock.

The company stresses that VOSS is among the purest waters in the world. Taken from a virgin aquifer in central Norway, when tapped into, the aquifer has enough pressure to allow the water to rise up naturally through the ground without the use of mechanical pumps. Because the water is protected by the impermeable layer, it does not come into contact with the air or other pollutants; the naturally unfiltered artesian water bottled at one of the purest sources on the planet.

The still version has an extremely low TDS (Total Dissolved Solids) of 22 mg/l that provides the clear, flavorless taste that many people enjoy in their water. More about the sparkling version in a moment.

VOSS was founded by two high school buddies from Oslo, one of whom went to college in San Francisco and noted that the bottled waters toted around by Californians were nowhere near as good as the Norwegian waters. While Norway is a small country (it has 4.5 million citizens, roughly half the population of New York City), it has vast undeveloped territories and natural resources. The VOSS founders secured an artesian source in the middle of the wilderness in southern Norway, a pristine aquifer that lies under layers of rock and ice.*

*As for how pure any water on earth actually is, read James McMahon’s article on bottled water versus water purification systems.

Voss BottleIn today’s world of lifestyle trends, where there is no shortage of bottled water choices, Perhaps more important than VOSS’s pristine water is its distinctive cylindrical package. Sculpturally stunning, it quickly developed a must-have image and is carried by glitterati and “just [upscale] folks” who pursue the ultra-premium bottled water segment. The bottle was designed not in Norway, but by the New York firm of Frierson, Mee + Kraft. It is of very heavy plastic, not the PET plastic of most water bottles. Not only would it be a shame to turn it into landfill after just one use, but it is durable enough to be carried around for quite some time—so feel free to refill it many times with whatever water you like.

How “Pure” is Pure?

For all of the company’s focus on purity, VOSS is not naturally effervescent: while many companies add carbon dioxide to their sparkling waters, even to waters that emerge from the earth in a naturally sparkling state (which VOSS does not), the company carbon dioxide as well as adds bicarbonate of soda. This is why the sparkling water has such a higher TDS than the still version. This is stated on the label.

The bicarbonates are added “for flavor and balance,” and according to an interchange between company executives and our water editor Michael Mascha, the ingredients were “the result of years of research, collaborating with leading chefs to find the optimum balance between taste and carbonization to ensure that VOSS Sparkling Water is as good a companion with fine food and wine as VOSS Artesian Water."

All well and good, but this takes the sparkling water out of the realm of anything “pure” and into the category of a mineral-enhanced water or “polished” water—one whose chemistry is artificially altered, for whatever reason.† It may taste better according to leading chefs (bicarbonates would perk up the flavor, essentially adding a bit of saltiness to make it less flat). It just seems to us to be off-strategy for something so pure, not even the pure wilderness air touches it as it is pumped from the source.

†According to European regulations, it is Artesian spring water with the addition of CO2.

WATER Voss Mineral Water
Iveland, Southern Norway
Still and Effervescent
22 Still/290 Sparkling
Values below are for Still
pH Factor

TDS = Total Dissolved Solids
ND = Non-Detectable


Still and Sparkling Water

  • 800 ml Bottles
    (27.1 Fluid Ounces)
    12-Bottle Case
  • 375 ml. Bottles
    (12.6 Fluid Ounces)
    24-Bottle Case

Purchase online at VossWaterStore.com

Prices are verified at publication but is subject to change.

Voss Bottles
Currently available in 1-liter bottles.

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