Damn fine vodka with a humorous twist. The package may seem a bit gimmicky, but the vodka is very solid.
Notes: Who says the TTB does not have a sense of humor? While the arm of the U.S. government in charge of labels and bottle design for alcoholic beverages has been known to shoot down anything that even seems drug-related in Absinthe bottle and label designs, they let this limited edition series with a transparent reference to the series Breaking Bad and their (notional) stellar methamphetamine, Blue Ice, out into the marketplace and into the hands of fans of the series…
Blue Ice the Vodka was made before the series Breaking Bad of course and they teamed up with the producers of Breaking Bad for this limited edition homage. While the product has not changed, the bottles have for this limited run. The bottle we have is “The One Who Knocks”, the other two are; “Tread Lightly” and “Say My Name” – all three famous quotes from the series.
This Vodka is produced in Idaho from Russet potatoes. It is distilled in a four-column still then filtered through a five-stage filtration process involving charcoal, (like Jack Daniels) garnet and crystal, among other filter media. The vodka is then cut to 80 proof with Rocky Mountain well water.
This is one of the few vodkas made with potatoes – which contrary to popular prejudice (particularly vociferous among Russians for some reason) – is a premium ingredient for vodka.
Less than 3% of the world’s vodka is made from potatoes.With about 9 1/2 pounds of potatoes per bottle required and about 1/3 less yield per kilo and a lot more prep work to ferment and distill make it a difficult and expensive undertaking. Also, people who suffer from Celiac’s Disease (a genetic intolerance to gluten found in grains) will find this a welcome addition to the kinds of distilled spirits they can drink.
Another challenge facing vodka distillers is how to make vodka with a decent taste. It’s relatively easy to distill pure grain alcohol- a relatively tasteless soulless product and cut it with whatever water is handy. The end result is tasteless, bland, and uninteresting. To illustrate the point try a taste test between a glass of distilled water and a glass of good mineral water. Which has more character? The one distilled to death, or the mineral water? Even good tap water can make the point against such a thing.
My point being: It is what you leave in that counts for flavor, depth, and interest. This applies both to the distillation and to the water you use. You have to distill out some things, leaving in the desirable flavor elements and not lose them in filtration either.
Then the choice of water is critical-the dissolved mineral content (or lack thereof), ph and oxygenation level can radically effect the taste of water – which is one of the main ingredients of vodka and cannot be ignored as there is nothing to hide behind in terms of many other flavors.You can tell a Russian distillery from a Latvian one from the mouthfeel and taste of the water used immediately.
Appearance: Crystal clear, no sediment whatsoever. On swirling, it leaves a thin clear coat on the inside of the glass with uniform legs that look like teardrops. Bright silvery pool in the glass.
First Impression: A slightly sweet smell to it, slightly alkaline (cocoa?). No off esters or oils- very clean. Nice heavy smell to it -no sharp rubbing alcohol-like smells which seem to be so common in grain vodkas these days.
Taste: Sweet and slightly oily mouthfeel and a little thick on the tongue, heavy body, with a crisp, mild bite. A slight warming of alcohol as it goes down the throat, no burn. Smooth, very smooth. That being said, it is not as thick as some vodkas but this one comes by it naturally no glycerin, citric acid, thickeners etc., added. Just an honest vodka.
Drinks: The Martini was subtle, rounded, with a wonderful body. A slowly stirred (I disagree with their suggestion of shaking) 3 or 4 to 1 ratio of Blue Ice to vermouth with a 1-2 dashes of a good bitters and lemon zest creates a wonderfully viscous body balanced with savory herbs and citrus yield a subtle but complex martini.
NOTE: Use Noilly Prat and keep the vermouth refrigerated after opening for the best taste.
Bottle: The now iconic Black silhouette/graphic of “Heisenberg” with “Heisenberg” in yellow letters on the black graphic with the sunglasses blue from the bottle color.The design is silkscreened onto the glass for more durability ( a nice touch) rather than a stick on label. “The one Who knocks” is done in graffiti style. Elongated horseshoe shape (O.K. Maybe suggesting a tombstone for the more depressed) with of course an ice blue color with crenelations and molding on the back of the bottle to simulate ice and icicles, package is completed with a gold neckwrap with w red bug graphic ( reference to the exterminating company and the Breaking Bad) chemical notation logo on top, screw cap closure. Eyecatching without resorting to the frosted bottle gimmick everyone else seems to go for.
Final Thoughts: Master Distiller Bill Scott has managed to capture the depth and roundness of a good potato vodka and deliver it up. An outstanding value for the money – possibly the cheapest potato vodka out there and one of the best tasting!
Other: You are paying a premium for the bottle by a couple of dollars over their standard bottle. But for fans of the series, it is well worth it.
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