Better quality for less money than Avian Fashion Victim Vodka. A very much overlooked alternative to overhyped brands.
Notes: This vodka is produced in St. Petersburg, one of the premier cities of Russia and home to many famous museums such as the Hermitage. Based on a recipe from 1894 they use hard winter wheat and water drawn from Lake Ladoga (about 40 miles away) one of the largest freshwater lakes in the world and the source for some of the softest water naturally occurring in the world (glacier meltwater). In a new state-of-the-art distillery this vodka is distilled four times then filtered four times through charcoal. There are other line extensions of this vodka which also have additional filtering twice through silver- which some believe to have various health benefits, and one that also adds quartz crystal filtration on top of all the other filtrations but we are only reviewing this one here at the moment.
Appearance: Crystal clear, no sediment whatsoever. Limpid shining pool in the glass. On swirling, it leaves a thin clear coat on the inside of the glass with long thin legs. Wonderful bright appearance.
First Impression: Alcohol and grain, plump, almost creamy, breadlike texture to the smell. Somewhat sweet on the nose, and no trace of off-notes, or the smell of rubbing alcohol that many other vodkas suffer from. A carefully done distillation.
Taste: Plump, slightly oily body, with wheat bread notes, glide past the tongue nipping at it with the alcohol edge with a slightly sweet, creamlike lingering finish. Nicely oily body but not too heavy. Overall creamy and a little spicy.
Only downside (for my personal taste) is the softness of the water. I like a good heavy mineral taste to my Russian vodkas (old school southern Russia type vodka such as Regalia).
Drinks: Very clean and smooth- mixes nicely and adds a little grain depth. Chilling of course make it smoother and more oily. Martini* was excellent (with olive or twist). Worked well in all other drinks, was very clean, and had no problem next morning – unlike the stuff that comes in plastic bottles.
*Use Noilly Prat and keep the vermouth refrigerated after opening for the best taste.
Bottle: Somewhat the shape of a tall bell, light frosting overall with an attractive silver and white paper label, with a smaller clear label bearing a gold signature. Dark Pewter/silver neck collar and screw cap closure.
Final Thoughts: A very good to excellent vodka, less money than either Stoli or the Avian Fashion Victim Vodka, with more depth and complexity. That being said, it’s not a stand-out. Very reasonable if not outright cheap compared to many of the more well-known vodkas out there of lesser quality. Maybe a bit more than some other Eastern Bloc vodkas but unless you know the brands (or have a vodka expert on hand) this is one of the go-to vodkas on a national level as it is widely available almost anywhere so a better quality and value bet than most of the other heavily marketed vodkas anywhere near its price range.
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