Vodka - Jewel of Russia
Notes: Jewel of Russia brand uses a blend of hard winter wheat and rye using water drawn from deep artesian wells (over 500 ft.). It is distilled 5 times, then filtered 5 times, each using the usual Russian method of paper, sand, then finally through specially-modified charcoal made from the stones of peaches and apricots, a special technique of the Chernogolovka distillery. Produced at a new distillery founded in 1995, and given the "luxe" (type 3) designation of the highest grade of vodka by their government.
This is the Classic version of their vodka (the others being the Bilberry Infused, Berry Infused, and Ultra).
Appearance: Crystal clear, no sediment whatsoever. Almost has the look of a mineral oil, with a wonderful body to it. On swirling, it leaves a thin clear coat on the inside of the glass with long thin legs.
First Impression: Alcohol and grain, plump, almost creamy texture to the smell with mild fruitiness to it. No trace of off-notes, or the smell of rubbing alcohol that many other vodkas suffer from. A carefully done distillation of impeccable purity followed by an amazing amount of filtration and mellowing.
Taste: Very plump and oily grain body glide past the tongue nipping at it with the alcohol edge and nice lingering finish. A understated sweetness and fruit l notes good wheat grain notes and the spiciness of a rye. Slightly oily and wonderfully thick body but not too heavy- this is the kind of body that cheaper vodkas strive for by doping with sugar, glycerin, or vanilla but this vodka comes by it honestly. It also is very easily distinquished as a real Russian vodka from the area it hails from by the mineral taste and body that provides an excellent backbone for the other flavors.
This is similar to what the old Stolichnaya used to taste like (actually better than Stoli) as it shares the same wonderful mineral water profile that Stoli used to - nowadays Stoli tastes like it was made from rain or distilled water - severely lacking character and depth in my opinion. This on the other hand tastes and feels like real Russian vodka.
Drinks: It stands out more than most without overwhelming the drink. This is not some flavorless, wimpy vodka. Russian vodka has character and stands out in a drink. As such it makes a great vodka martini with substance, although personally I enjoy it straight up. In vodka drinks, it lends an nice assertive mineral with slightly fruity/spicy notes to compliment the other ingredients.
*Use Noilly Prat and keep the vermouth refrigerated after opening for the best taste.
Bottle: Clear glass rectangular with rounded shoulders .Imperial Russian eagle is embossed at each corner of shoulder. Very arge red wax seal with red string on front. Neck is sealed with red sealing wax- enough to be pretty but thin enough you don't need sharp objects to get through it (our pet peeve with some spirits).
Final Thoughts: A vodka actually worth paying over $25 for. Less money than Ultimat, Jean Marc X.O.,or Stoli Elit, and damned wonderful stuff. A quintessentially Russian Vodka, not one of the current crop of tasteless grain alcohol with soft water, this has a real Russian backbone to it.
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