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Archive for the ‘Vodka’ Category

Review: AnestasiA Vodka

Posted by Arctic Wolf on June 26, 2015

AnestasiA VodkaANESTASIA VODKA was created as a result of founder, Yuliya Mamontova’s desire to create a luxury spirit in the United States. Yuliya’s passion was a result of her upbringing, as she learned the arts of fermentation and distillation as well as the expertise of marketing and packaging firsthand growing up in a family of European Vodka Producers.

Her luxury vodka, AnestasiA, is produced in Bend Oregon from corn which is sourced from Pacific Northwest farms and water which flows from Bend’s Cascade Mountains. According to the company website:

“The waters of this range flow through riverbeds of lava rock, and thereby avoid picking the sediment—metallic salts such as magnesium and calcium—present in most water sources. In fact, our waters contain 90% less of these compounds than your average drinking water. This makes our water remarkably ‘soft’, and results in AnestasiA vodka’s naturally derived purity.”

Tactical Equilibrium

Tactical Equilibrium

The AnestasiA spirit is five times distilled, and after the final distillation, the distillate is brought to bottling proof with the soft Northwest water. Then it is filtered a further five times through crushed lava rock, neutral charcoal, and Arkansas-derived quartz crystal. The final Vodka is bottled at 40 % alcohol by volume in a stunning decanter type bottle (shown to the left) which is made partially from recycled materials.

Founder, Yuliya Mamontova, reached out to me through my website, and asked me if I would agree to receive a bottle of her luxury Vodka to review.

Here is a link to that full review:

Review: AnestasiA Vodka

“… At the cold serving temperature I could detect absolutely no aroma above the glass, however, when I sipped the vodka I could taste a firm lemon zest with just a hint of grain spice. It is very pleasant especially with the lingering lightly sweet lightly spicy lemon flavour which coats the palate …”

Included with my review is a very nice cocktail which combines the AnestasiA Vodka with Gilbey’s Gin. I call it, Tactical Equilibrium.

Chimo!

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Review: Alberta Pure Vodka (Glacier Born)

Posted by Arctic Wolf on June 19, 2015

Alberta Pure Sam0780Alberta Pure Vodka is a brand name owned by Carrington Distillers who appear to be based in Calgary, Alberta. This is a triple distilled grain spirit produced by Alberta Distillers Limited which is bottled at 40 % alcohol by volume. It is sold throughout Western Canada and even makes its way into Ontario via the LCBO (Liquor Control Board of Ontario).

When I tasted the Alberta Pure Vodka for the first time it was as part of a flight of  vodkas my friends (the Rum Chums) and I were sampling at my first Vodka Tasting of 2015. We chilled each Vodka in my deep freeze such that there were all at about 2 degrees Celsius when we sampled them. Each vodka was served individually in a shot glass, and I kept track of what my friends were saying during the tasting.

(Note: My previous reviews for Potter’s Premium Vodka and Absolut Vodka were published based upon notes compiled from that initial tasting session.)

Alberta Pure Martini with mint and lime

Alberta Pure Martini with mint and lime

More recently, I sampled Alberta Pure once more, this time in a flight of more premium vodka spirits which also included Finlandia, Belvedere Unfiltered, and AnestasiA. Again I compiled notes for each Vodka and from those notes (and from my previous notes) I constructed this review. (My reviews for the other three spirits will follow in the coming weeks.)

Here is a link to my full review for Alberta Pure Vodka:

Review: Alberta Pure Vodka (Glacier Born)

“… when I raised the glass to my nose I could detect very little aroma. There was a light spiciness, but that was all. The first sip brought forward bits of grain spice and a touch of citrus zest, but again, that was all. When chilled, Alberta Pure is an extremely clean crisp spirit …”

I have been on a bit of a Martini kick lately and my review includes a nice recipe for a Vodka Martini (with lime and mint garnish).

Please enjoy my review and the additional Vodka reviews which will follow.
Chimo!

Posted in Vodka, Vodka Reviews | Tagged: , , , , | 1 Comment »

Review: POLIAKOV Lemon Flavoured Vodka

Posted by Arctic Wolf on March 26, 2015

Easy Lemon MartiniIn late November, I received an email from the Export Marketing Assistant for the independent French spirits group, La Martiniquaise. He was writing to me from Farnace to see if I would be interested in sampling some of the revamped new flavoured range of POLIAKOV Vodka. As it was explained to me in his email, the company is attempting to bypass the prevailing “flavour fatigue”  which they feel reigns within the flavoured vodka category, and rather than conjuring up new exotic flavours which are probably unfamiliar to their customers, the revamped Poliakov range focuses on ‘within-reach flavours’ which are familiar to their customers.

I agreed to taste some of the POLIAKOV flavoured range, and William arranged for me to receive three flavours, POLIAKOV Vanilla, Peach and Lemon Flavoured Vodkas.

This is the last of the three postings, my review for POLIAKOV Lemon Flavoured Vodka:

Review: POLIAKOV Lemon Flavoured Vodka

“… As with the other POLIAKOV flavours I have reviewed, (the Vanilla and Peach Flavoured Vodkas), the initial aroma from the glass seems to represent a relatively clean aroma of the highlighted flavour rising into the breezes with a light hint of sugar cane and perhaps a few hints of grain spice. The aroma is akin to the smell of lemon drop candies, but less intense and certainly less sweet …”

I have included two nice recipes with the review one from POLIAKOV, which is called Yellow Delight, and one of my construction which I call, the Easy lemon Martini.

Please enjoy this review and of course the included recipes!

 

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Review: Potter’s Premium Vodka

Posted by Arctic Wolf on March 10, 2015

Emmissary SAM_1460

The Emissary Cocktail

In November of 2005, Highwood Distilleries Ltd. finalized the purchase of Potters Distilleries which had been founded founded by Ernie Potter in 1958. The corn-based brands which Potter’s had established (Century and Potter’s) were added to the Highwood portfolio. Today Potter’s Premium Vodka is produced at the Highwood Distillery in High River, Alberta. This distillery is situated near the foothills of the Rocky Mountains just 40 minutes south of downtown Calgary.

According to the company website:

The careful repeated distillation of quality grains creates the base of Highwood’s Vodka brands. The pure, clear spirits are filtered and blended with fresh Rocky Mountain spring water to create our clean, crisp Vodkas.

When I tasted the Potter’s Premium Vodka for the first time it was as part of a flight of four vodkas my friends (the Rum Chums) and I were sampling at my first Vodka Tasting of 2015. We chilled all of the Vodkas in my deep freeze such that there were all at about 2 degrees Celsius when we sampled them.

Here is a link to my full review:

Review: Potter’s Premium Vodka

“… As I sipped upon the cold spirit, my impression was that this is a relatively smooth vodka especially considering its price point. I taste a light but firm flavour of lemon balsam and some hints of lime zest spice within the soft corn sweetness. There is also a whisper of briny salt and some fine white pepper spice which tastes quite nice …”

Please enjoy my review which conclude with a nice elegant cocktail of mine which I call the Emissary.

 

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Review: Poliakov Peach Flavoured Vodka

Posted by Arctic Wolf on February 10, 2015

Poliakov Peach Tonic SAM_1414In late November, I received an email from the Export Marketing Assistant for the independent French spirits group, La Martiniquaise. He was writing to me from Farnace to see if I would be interested in sampling some of the revamped new flavoured range of Poliakov Vodka. For those unfamiliar with the brand, Poliakov is an international Millionaire brand with sales in over 50 countries. It is today one of the Top 20 international Vodka brands. The owner of the brand, La Martiniquaise is an independent French group founded in 1934. They are currently the second-largest spirits group in France, and owners of 4 other Millionaire brands, LABEL 5 and SIR EDWARD’S (Scotch Whisky), POLIAKOV (Vodka) and NEGRITA (Rum).

As it was explained to me in his email, Poliakov is attempting to bypass the prevailing “flavour fatigue”  which they feel reigns within the flavoured vodka category, and rather than conjuring up new exotic flavours which are probably unfamiliar to their customers, the revamped Poliakov range focuses on ‘within-reach flavours’ which are familiar to their customers.

I agreed to taste some of the Poliakov flavoured range, and William arranged for me to receive three flavours, Poliakov Vanilla, Peach and Lemon Flavoured Vodkas.

Here is a link to the review for Poliakov Peach Flavoured Vodka:

Review:  Poliakov Peach Flavoured Vodka

“… What I do sense very clearly in the air above the glass is a wonderful aroma which matches the scent of a freshly sliced fully ripe peach. The aroma seems clean and pure with no distraction. My mouth actually began to water slightly as I sniffed at the breezes above my glass …”

Please enjoy my review which includes a very refreshing recipe, Poliakov “Kool Tonic”. Cheers!

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Review: Absolut Vodka

Posted by Arctic Wolf on February 1, 2015

Absolut Daiquiri SAM_1450

Absolut Daiquiri

According to the Absolut website, Lars Olsson Smith introduced the process known as continuous distillation (with respect to producing vodka) in 1879. Using his continuous still, he produced what he called Absolut Rent Brännvin (Absolute Pure Vodka). His claim of purity was based upon the theory that during the  process of continuous distillation a potion of the distillate constantly recycles in the still, and (if the still was allowed to function indefinitely) this small portion would be continuously distilled an infinite number of times.

Note: It doesn’t quite work like that as the portion which recycles grows smaller and smaller over time such that the idea that the distillate is continuously distilled infinitum was a rather dubious statement at best.

In 1979, Lars Olsson’s brand Absolut Rent Brännvin was relaunched in New York City as Absolut. The vodka brand is produced near Åhus, Sweden which is the town in which Lars Olsen Smith was born. The vodka is produced from locally grown wheat and apparently does not contain any added sugar or artificial ingredients.

You may read my full review of Absolute Vodka by clicking the following link:

Review: Absolut Vodka

“… As we each tested the aroma above our glasses a common report from my guests was that the Absolut was very clean when it was cold: However, we all noted that the aroma changed significantly as the spirit’s temperature increased during the tasting. At first we noticed light grainy spice in the air above the glass, with hints of lemon balsam. This hint of lemon grew stronger as the vodka warmed …”

Please enjoy my review which includes a nice cocktail suggestion, the Vodka Daiquiri!

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Review: Poliakov Vanilla Flavoured Vodka

Posted by Arctic Wolf on January 20, 2015

Vanille Daiquiria (Poliakov) SAM_1422In late November, I received an email from the Export Marketing Assistant for the independent French spirits group, La Martiniquaise. He was writing to me from Farnace to see if I would be interested in sampling some of the revamped new flavoured range of Poliakov Vodka. As it was explained to me in his email, Poliakov is attempting to bypass the prevailing “flavour fatigue”  which they feel reigns within the flavoured vodka category, and rather than conjuring up new exotic flavours which are probably unfamiliar to their customers, the revamped Poliakov range focuses on ‘within-reach flavours’ which are familiar to their customers.

I agreed to taste some of the Poliakov flavoured range, and William arranged for me to receive three flavours, Poliakov Vanilla, Peach and Lemon Flavoured Vodkas.

Here is a link to the review for Poliakov Vanilla Flavoured Vodka:

Review: Poliakov Vanilla Flavoured Vodka

“… the nose gives me very little indication of this sweetness except for maybe just a touch of sugar cane in the breezes. What I do receive clearly in the air above the glass is a relatively clean aroma of vanilla rising into the breezes along with lightly spicy grain accents …”

I consider Poliakov’s vanilla flavoured spirit an outstanding mixing spirit, and so of course my review includes a new Rum Howler recipe, Vanille Daiquiria.

Please enjoy both the review and my new recipe!

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The Year in Vodka (The 2014 Rum Howler Awards)

Posted by Arctic Wolf on January 7, 2015

RH-winner2014Today I continue my 2014 Rum Howler Awards with a look at the year in Vodka. Last year I noted that my Vodka Reviews are amongst the most popular upon this website, both amongst producers who send me more vodka samples than I could ever hope to consume, and by my readers who seem to appreciate a review which incorporates not only my perception of taste and quality, but also my observations regarding cocktails and food pairings. My quirky style of vodka review also appears to have struck a chord with producers, especially those in Eastern Europe who have told me that my willingness to bring the gastronomic experience into my review process is much appreciated.

As is the case each year, all of my Rum Howler Awards are based upon side by side tastings within each category of spirit. I taste the spirit neat, and I may also mix a few cocktails with each spirit. All spirit samples which I receive to review on my website are automatically considered for my awards. I do my review, and then I set aside the remainder of the spirit for the end of the year judging. I also include those samples which were provided in the previous year so as to have a larger field to judge, and I may receive additional industry samples specifically for these awards.

Here is a link to the Awards Page for the 2014 Rum Howler Award winners for excellence in the production of Vodka:

The 2014 Rum Howler Awards – The Year in Vodka

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Review: Soyombo Super Premium Mongolian Vodka

Posted by Arctic Wolf on April 6, 2014

soyombo SAM_1090Soyombo Super Premium Mongolian Vodka is a spirit which celebrates the mystical history of the Mongolian people. The vodka which bears the symbol of Soyombo is (according to the website information I found) produced at the original distillery site of Bogd Khan’s Winter Palace (Bogd Khan was the last Mongolian Emperor). This site is located in Ulaanbaatar, which is the capital city of Mongolia. The Soyombo symbol is the first character of the original Mongolian Soyombo script which was developed (according to legend) by Undur Geghen Zanabazar, the First Resplendent Saint and Bogd Khan of Mongolia. According to the legend, Zanabazar had a vision of symbolic signs drifting amongst the clouds in the eternal blue skies of Mongolia. From these heavenly signs he created the Soyombo script. The Soyombo has since become a national symbol of Mongolia, and is found on both the Flag of Mongolia, and upon the national Coat of Arms.

The Soyombo Vodka is produced from what the website calls ‘high quality Alpha Grade spirit’. (Alpha Grade spirit apparently must be a 100 % wheat spirit.) To produce the Soyombo Vodka this Alpha grade spirit is distilled six times, and then it is filtered for five days over a bed of quartz, diamonds, and silver. The water source for the vodka is the icy glaciers atop the Sacred Bogd Khan Mountains. The melted glacier water flows down the Sacred Mountains feeding the underground aquifers from which the water for the Soyombo Vodka is drawn.

Lemon Ginger Martini

Lemon Ginger Martini

I was provided with a sample bottle from the local importers of the spirit, River Valley Beverage. I sampled the spirit after chilling it in my freezer until it had reach a temperature of just above zero degrees Celsius. I also allowed the Soyombo Vodka to warm up in my glass during the sampling session to investigate how the spirit reacted to warmer serving temperatures.

You may read my full review by clicking on the following excerpt link:

Review: Soyombo Super Premium Mongolian Vodka

“… When I brought the Soyombo vodka to my nose, I noticed a light but firm impression of fresh-baked bread crust drifting in the breezes above my glass complete with the light aroma of caramelized sugars, toasted marshmallow and ever so light impressions of milk chocolate. (Grab some fresh bread and break the crust under your nose, and you will know what I mean.) I also noticed wisps of a light lemony citrus scent in the breezes above my shot-glass and a hint of cream of wheat porridge …”

I constructed two very nice cocktails with the Soyombo Super Premium Vodka, the Lemon Ginger Martini, and the Grapefruit Blush.

Enjoy the review and of course enjoy my new cocktail recipes!

 

 

Posted in Vodka, Vodka Reviews | Tagged: , , , , , , | 3 Comments »

Review: Belvedere Vodka

Posted by Arctic Wolf on February 12, 2014

SAM_1003 Lemon MartiniBelvedere Vodka is (according to their website) “the world’s first luxury vodka“. It is a four-time distilled spirit produced in the Polish town of Żyrardów from Dankowski rye and water pulled from Belvedere’s own underground artesian wells. When I sampled Belvedere for the first time, I had several friends over, and we tasted the Vodka as part of a private tasting event which included 2 other Vodkas each representing a similar style, but each at a different price range. The aim of the tasting was to see whether we could taste the difference between economy, premium and ultra-premium spirits in a relaxed almost-party like setting. (The three Vodkas included in the tasting were, Khortytsa Platinum Vodka (priced at $17.95), Sobieski Vodka (priced at $25.95), and Belvedere Vodka priced at ($48.95). The prices given are based upon current LCBO (Liquor Control Board of Ontario) price listings.

After the tasting event, I continued my examination of each spirit putting each brand through the paces of my Vodka Review Methodology. This is of course the review for the Ultra-Premium Belvedere Vodka imported into Alberta by the Western Canadian distributor Charton Hobbs who provided my sample bottle for this review.

You may click on the following link to read my full review which includes my suggested serving, the Lemon Martini.

Review: Belvedere Vodka

“… The aroma was clean with a soft lemony spiciness rising into the air. When I sipped on the spirit, I was surprised at the firmness of this soft lemon flavour. I should stress that the flavour the vodka presented in the glass was not harsh or vegetal. Rather it was a soft lemon-like flavour which featured an underlying cereal-like earthiness running through the spirit …”

Please enjoy my review!

Interesting Note: Yesterday I was invited to be a guest judge at the Vodka Olympics (hosted by the good folks at Aligra Wine and Spirits). A group of jurors (about 10 of us) tasted and scored 12 different Vodkas in a completely blind format. Reinforcing my perceptions during my review (which was written about a week ago), Belvedere was revealed to be the third best vodka in the grouping. It turns out that Belvedere actually is a true ultra-premium Vodka. (Incidentally my personal score card had it rated number 1!)

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