A delicate and delicious iteration of a Buckwheat spirit.
Notes: Interesting distillery with a very interesting series of vodkas in their portfolio. They actually call it bread wine, but for the sake of simplicity in our reviews we are going to classify it as a vodka (never mind the fact no one would search for bread wine as a category of spirit). Bread wine is actually a more accurate description in some ways than vodka to describe the older more traditional form of vodka, much in the same way that Genever /Jenever forms of gin use the distinction of Vieux Systeme (using pot sills and lower proof distillation to retain flavor) to the new column stills distillation methods use more widely today which yields products with less character.
Much like the United States ( to our loss I might add) Russia has banned the production of Polugar and one dare not call it vodka either in Russia or in the United States. Both countries have long ago ( in the case of the United States not as long ago as Russia or the Soviet Union) defined and and legally described vodka as a spirit in which all the flavor and soul is rendered out at high proof. While Russian vodka can be more flavorful than most American vodkas (see my commentary on water below) , it still is a pale (tasting) shadow of Polugar.
The distillery itself is built along historic lines, using 18th and 19th century drawings to recreate their still – copper pot stills that look more like a cognac charentais or alembic type still or some of the older stills used for other spirits of that period . Here is one of the few pictures of their stills.
The preparation of ingredients uses traditional wash and malting of grains and nothing else. The water is also not some Reverse Osmosis/filtered to death, fear of flavor water but natural spring water.
The Rodoinov & Sons Distillery Boast an extensive portfolio of Vodka/Polugar/Bread Wine Including series of grain spirits which include Barley, Rye and Wheat, Classic Rye, Single Malt Rye, Wheat, and the macerated flavored varieties; Caraway, Dry Cherry , Honey and Allspice, Garlic and Pepper , Horseradish, Juniper, and Pepper.
This their Buckwheat Polugar/vodka which is an unusual choice for anyone distilling, and very much so for a vodka or clear whiskey.
Appearance: Clear, silvery, viscous/oily in appearance. On swirling it leaves a nice oily coating on the glass with long smooth legs retreating slowly from the edge line with some droplets. In both the coating and the legs it is noticeably thinner than the barley , but this is a function of the grains characteristics and not a reflection on the quality at all.
First Impression: Very just like Buckwheat pancake, notes, a rich grain flour with with an herbal note that also has elements of grain earth, grassy notes with touches of honey and a breath of dill
Taste: Lovely, oily entry with a heavy, almost viscous body and a taste that reminds you of buckwheat pancakes or Buckwheat Johnny Cakes. Like a liquid version of a Buckwheat Pancake with touches of dill and honey with a lovely fade/finish of herbs, dill, herbal infusion and honey with an ever so slight drying leaving you with a herbal grainy taste and a soft pleasant dress to the tongue. Very smooth and gentle it hides the fact tat it is as strong as it is almost more like a clear buckwheat beer rather than a fun on spirit.
Drinks: It adds a lovely body and some complexity, especially in a vodka cocktail, rounding and smoothing edges, blending seamlessly and adding its own whispers and nuances to a cocktail.
But personally I like to drink it at at room temperature out of a good quality glass or a bone china teacup so I can fully appreciate the nuances and quality of the spirit.
Bottle: Nicely done and distinctive square clear glass bottle with a slightly heavy bottom and rounded shoulders and a distinctive and nicely done rolled lip like an antique bottle. A darkish brown with hints of red (Buckwheat) colored label with antique fonts in a darker red-brown with a raised copper metallic “P”at the top of the label and a clear label with an explanation of Buckwheat Polugar on the back. A synthetic cork provides a tight seal and is topped by a finished wood cork and the back label has a fair bit of information about it on the label ( but go to the website for far more detail) . This series of vodka is very distinctive in a sea of frosted glass cylinders (every other vodka it seems) , makes it easy to stand out at a distance on s shelf and overall makes for a very Lux presentation..
Other: We use the term vodka in our description and search index so people may find it easier. It bears little relation to what passes for vodka these days, and I mean the in only a complimentary way.
You may have also compare it to Samogon, the much loved, illicit, vodka that is made clandestinely in pot stills which is made in a similar fashion/distillation as Polugar but usually with shall we say somewhat less skill or attention to detail unless you know a really good distiller .
Final Thoughts: Yes it is a bit pricey, but it has no equal either.
A well laid out and easy to navigate page with some fascinating history on vodkas and bread wine. A quick but must read page for vodka fans – or anyone who wants more information on the vodka family of spirits