Vodka - Regalia Gold
Notes: From the same company that makes Regalia Vodka (our spirit of the month for July 2007). This vodka is produced in Yaroslavl, a city in the Golden Ring near Moscow. Based on a 300 year-old recipe from a master distiller, they use selected wheat and water drawn from a 1500 ft. deep artesian well and is distilled 5 times then filtered 5 times each using the usual Russian method of paper, sand then birch charcoal used for the highest grades of vodka, then an additional filtering through silver- which some believe to have various health benefits and finally filtered through gold filters and aged in white gold vats for 6 months "to acquire nobility and rejuvenating properties," (works for us!).
Produced at a state distillery, and given the "luxe" (type 3) designation of the highest grade of vodka by their government. This recipe was originally formulated by order of Peter the Great (Pyotr Veliki) for his elite Guards so they could drink "with the same gusto as when they were sweeping enemies off the Russian land."
Appearance: Crystal clear, no sediment whatsoever. Somewhat heavier body and appearance than regular Regalia. Limpid shining pool of molten glass in the snifter. On swirling, it leaves a thin clear coat on the inside of the glass with long thin legs. Wonderful bright appearance and almost a heft or weight to the body of this spirit.
First Impression: Alcohol and grain, plump, almost creamy texture to the smell. More understated bouquet than the other Regalia with an almost 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 grain body glide past the tongue nipping at it with the alcohol edge and nice lingering finish. Wonderful sweetness and almost a fruit like fullness with the higher notes from a good wheat grain. 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.
Wonderful hard mineral water taste and body in this vodka -real Russian well water. I suspect this is the distillery (or one of them) that the old Stolichnaya came from- it had the same wonderful water profile- 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. The extra aging,resting or mellowing-as you like, seems to have a salutary effect on the vodka - it seems to have a rounder slightly fruity nose and sweetness.
Drinks: Already very clean to start with, chilling it down makes it even more smooth. Excellent temperature, maybe too good cold. Martini* was excellent (with olive or twist). All the other drinks benefited from the minerally taste and smoothness of this vodka. It stands out more than most without overwhelming the drink.
*Use Noilly Prat and keep the vermouth refrigerated after opening for the best taste.
Final Thoughts: One of the few vodkas that are actually worth paying over $25 for. Less money than either Ultimat or Jean Marc X.O. or Stoli Elit, and damned wonderful stuff for the price.Very plush, charming, and superb.
A quintessentially Russian Vodka, or should I say the real Russian Vodka, not some tasteless grain alcohol with soft water.
Bottle: Clear and sandblasted blown glass "etching is done only by females under 35 -the ones with the surest hands," and as its name might suggest, the bottle is in the shape of a fat Russian crown! This one is distinguished from the regular Regalia Vodka by the 24 kt gold highlights on the design. Certainly stands out from all the other vodka bottles out there!
Fast loading, in English, with lots of photos of handblown brandy bottles, but a bit light on information as to what is in them. Site des not work well with Firefox.