Buying a bottle of this vodka is not only a political/ideological statement but makes sense from taste point of view.
Notes: This vodka has a number of interesting point about it even before you open the bottle. It is produced from Quinoa, a type of grain grown by the Incas from about the 13th century. It also is described as the first fair trade certified vodka in the world as it is certified as a fair trade organization who pays fair prices to the agricultural cooperative (of over 1000 small growers in Bolivia). The actual distillation and bottling is done in France by a cognac distillers of almost 40 years experience. Distilled 5 times in a 42 plate still for those who like technical specs. Quinoa is also a gluten free form of grain so does not have the wheat/gluten issues of other vodkas such as Grey Goose.
Appearance: Crystal clear, no sediment whatsoever. On swirling it leaves a thin clear oily coat (sign of nice body) on the inside of the glass with some legs developing after quite a long time ( another sign of a nice body).Very viscous look and feel.
First Impression: Clean grain distillate smell, a touch sweet but no cloying smell. No smell of esters or oils; clean. Later on, it develops a clean rye grain smell, grains, nuts, etc.
Taste: Nicely oily on the tongue, medium to heavy body- especially for a vodka. Crisp, mild bite to it on the midline and back of your tongue. Dry, mineral and grain-like aftertaste with a touch of sweetness, with a attractively oily body/mouthfeel. Traces of a grain-like aftertaste with a subtle smooth heat. Dangerously smooth and drinkable.
Drinks: The “martini” * was outstanding. In other drinks, it proved to be very versatile and more subtle than a number of other vodkas. NOTE: Use Noilly Prat and keep the vermouth refrigerated after opening for the best taste.
Bottle: Standard tall cylindrical clear glass bottle (but not frosted like a host of others). Silver and black paper label with plenty of exposed clear glass to show off the purity of the vodka to good effect. Dark silver neck foil with a composite cork stopper gives it a nice feel (a screw cap detracts from a premium presentation in my mind) The glass bottle is made form a good grade of glass so you can reuse it for whatever you like,vase,candle holder etc.,. Another plus is that the labels are easily removable so you can reuse the bottle for whatever (oils, infusions, etc.) with a minimum of fuss and effort.
Final Thoughts: Another vodka for conscious and conscientious people. As a socially conscious fair trade company, we wish them well (But the above did not affect our ratings).– As a side note France is also the home of the corporate, soulless Avian Fashion Victim Vodka, which costs as much ( or more ) than this one and is owned by a company with a environmental record more like a steel company if you catch my drift.
Like a few ( read damn few) spirits (see our natural section for more suggestions)They are a stand out from the corporate empires that are churning out oceans of soulless vodka for the masses. Buying a bottle of this vodka is not only a political/ideological statement but makes sense from taste point of view.
Web site: http://www.fairtradespirits.com
Fast loading, attractive layout easy-to-read. Good content and descriptions if a bit terse . Small recipe section and links to buy retail are helpful.
*To me a martini ALWAYS involves gin- but many people use the word martini when they use vodka instead of gin so hence the above naming wrong as it is.