10 Unique Vodkas Reviewed
on 29/12/11 at 10:47 amSpirits
At Drink Spirits we get a LOT of spirits to review, far more than it’s possible to cover. We recognize, though, that the people behind these spirits work very hard to bring them to market, and so we feel it’s important to cover as many as we possibly can. Assembling a blind tasting panel for vodka is like pulling teeth; although it’s the biggest selling spirit category, tasting vodka (which by definition is considered a neutral spirit) is sometimes a palate-crushing task, so we convened a special vodka session to address 10 of the interesting vodkas patiently waiting to be reviewed. We hope you’ll enjoy this look at 10 unique vodkas.
Reyka Small Batch Vodka (40%, $27) – this vodka comes out of Iceland and is made using a carter head still (the same kind of still that Hendricks Gin uses) and is filtered through lava rock. The nose on the Rekya Vodka is light and clean, with very few esters apparent and very subtle tones of vanilla and citrus. The entry is soft and smooth with light grain flavor that builds towards the mid palate, along with a light lemon undertone. The finish is fascinating – it brings on some powdered sugar and a little spice, and just when you think it’s over it circles back around with a nice pin prick of heat (much like a great Russian style vodka, but it a much more subtle and almost sly way). Reyka Vodka is a good, solid quality vodka, priced right, and delivers an enjoyable vodka experience.
Russian Standard Gold (40%, $50) – fifty dollars is a lot to spend on a bottle of vodka, but Russian Standard has tried to up the value proposition with a lovely package that presents their vodka as a premium vodka. Made with Russian ginseng, the nose does have a slight earthy spice note to it along with the conventional citrus found in many vodkas. The entry is wonderfully lush and soft, and slightly cool with a terrific mouthfeel. The entry is slightly watery and blank but that quickly changes in the mid-palate with the ginseng spice that comes on strong and carries to a nice long, spicy finish. The ginseng spice is progressive, building after each sip. Ginseng and vodka go together fantastically, and I like the heat and spice you get here from the ginseng much more than some of the spicy or flavored vodkas. The opening is a little flat, but the great mouthfeel and the superb spice more than make up for it. Still, at $50 a bottle it’s really exclusively a vodka connoseur’s vodka.