Less money than either Stoli or the Avian Fashion Victim Vodka, with more craft, honesty, sincerity, some complexity, and sense of craftsmanship and place.
Notes: This is one a the very few (read damn few) vodkas that is actually produced by a small distiller. Not bought in bulk (by the tank truck or railroad tank car) and relabeled like a lot of vodka these days or redistilled (rectified) then bottled by by someone trying to look like a small distiller.
These people buy local grain that they hand-inspect, do their own mashing (preparing and fermenting the grain) then distill the resulting product in small copper pot stills rather than the industry standard column stills. This is a insanely labor and cost-intensive process compared to using a giant column still that spews. Unlike most vodka producers, they buy their grain and ferment it themselves in small batches, distill it and bottle it so that it ensures quality and consistency from the grain to the bottling. Most of the other vodkas (in Russia and America) buy bulk ethanol, tweak it, and add water.
Appearance: Bright silvery, clear as a bell with the kind of weight to it that makes it almost seem like a light mineral oil. On swirling, it leaves a thin clear coat on the inside of the glass with scalloped edges becoming a few long thin legs. Wonderful bright appearance.
First Impression: Very slightly sweet nose, subdued smell of alcohol and sweet grain and cherry eau de vie . A little spice and some backbone to this vodka- while still being light and sweet. No sharp alcohol vapors like some, well most, cheaper brands.
Taste: Slightly oily grain body with a rounding out by the fruit distillate – the kind of body that cheaper vodkas strive for by doping with sugar, glycerin, or vanilla as shortcuts and obfuscations. A little sweet and smooth with the alcohol warming you nicely and tingling the tongue. Whisper of the cherries provides a nice roundness and nicely smooth body to the vodka with a subtle presence to give it a nice mouth feel/body and a little gravity. Decent medium-length finish for a vodka.
Drinks: Actually a nice vodka to have at room temperature to appreciate the smoothness and body. But, like every other vodka, much better cold. Excellent martini*- deadly smooth. Works very well in other drinks also.
Bottle: Tall cylindrical clear glass bottle with longish neck and black neckwrap. Minimalist graphics on the silkscreened label ( which is easily removed to reuse/repurpose/recycle the bottle later. Despite the simple label ( or becuase of it) it isdistinctive and easy-to-spot, makes it easy to find on a store of bar shelf – which can be more than half the battle with vodka these days.
Final Thoughts: One of the vodkas that are actually worth paying over $25 for. Less money than either Stoli or the Avian Fashion Victim Vodka, with more craft, honesty, sincerity, some complexity, and sense of craftsmanship and place. A vodka worth drinking and paying attention to while doing so.
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