The highest grades of vodka, Lex or luxe grade (also known as Grade 3).
Notes: This vodka is produced in an area outside of Moscow which historically has been the center for quality vodka production. Unlike most vodka producers, they have a field to bottle chain of supply that 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. Speaking of water, Zyr uses water drawn from a 460 ft deep well and which is filtered 5 times, for purity, but manages to maintain its character. The vodka is distilled 5 times, taste tested 3 times and filtered using the usual Russian method of sand filtered through a membrane, then through birch charcoal. This process used only for the highest grades of vodka, Lex or luxe grade (also known as Grade 3).
Appearance: Bright clear with the kind of weight to it that makes it almost seem like a mineral oil. On swirling, it leaves a thin clear coat on the inside of the glass with scalloped edges becoming droplets and a few long thin legs. Wonderful bright appearance.
First Impression: Slightly sweet nose,nicely subdued smell of alcohol and grain, a sort of deep plush smell to it. No sharp alcohol vapors like some, well most, cheaper brands.
Taste: Plump, slightly oily grain body with nice medium-length finish. A little sweet and smooth wit the alcohol warming you nicely and tingling the tongue. Slightly oily body – the kind of body that cheaper vodkas strive for by doping with sugar, glycerin, or vanilla as shortcuts and obfuscations.
Wonderful hard mineral water taste and body in this vodka -real Russian well water. Mineral water taste like the old Stolichnaya had- it had the same wonderful water profile- (nowadays Stoli tastes like it was made from rain or distilled water – severely lacking character and depth in my opinion). This one on the other hand tastes and has the mouthfeel of a Russian vodka – not something made for the fear of flavor crowd. It has what I would call a “Russian terroir.”
Drinks: Actually a nice vodka to have at room temperature to appreciate the smoothness and body. But of course much better cold. The mineral water profile and good grain taste makes for a vodka martini worth drinking and thinking about – (the fact it actually tastes like something for once).
*Use Noilly Prat and keep the vermouth refrigerated after opening for the best taste.
Final Thoughts: One of the few vodkas that are actually worth paying over $25 for. About the money as either Stoli or the “Avian Fashion Victim Vodka,” with more depth, complexity, and sense of place.
Bottle: Ice blue clear glass, flask-shaped (but much taller). Heavy crystal decanter type design with some heft to it and a nice balance for pouring. Minimal but tasteful silk screened graphics are eye catching but not over done.
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