Posted by Arctic Wolf on July 9, 2015
Finlandia describes itself as the Vodka of Finland. When I researched the spirit, I discovered it is distilled in the Finnish village of Koskenkorva, by the Altia Corporation from locally grown six-row barley and what the Finlandia website calls ‘untainted glacier water’. After distillation, the spirit is transported to Rajamäki (also in Finland) where it is brought to bottling strength and bottled. It is imported into Canada by Brown-Forman.
I sampled Finlandia side by side in a flight of vodka spirits which also included the more premium Belvedere Unfiltered Vodka, and AnestasiA Vodka, as well as a locally produced spirit Alberta Pure Vodka which shares a similar price point with Finlandia. I compiled notes for each Vodka, and from those notes (and from my notes in a separate tasting in my private tasting room) I constructed my reviews.
Here is a link to my full review for Finlandia Vodka:
“… only a few wisps of grainy spice were apparent in the breezes before I took my first sip. The vodka has a soft lightly sweet lemon balsam flavour which spreads across the palate as you sip. There is also a mild spiciness that covers the tongue …”
Please enjoy my latest review which includes two nice recipes at its conclusion, a Vodka Martini (with Grapefruit Peel) and the Vodka Daiquiri.
Note: If you are interested, here are the links for the three other Vodka Spirits in the flight which I sampled side by side with the Finlandia:
Posted in Vodka, Vodka Reviews | Tagged: Cocktails, Finlandia, Martini, Vodka Daiquiri, Vodka Martini, Vodka Review | Comments Off on Review: Finlandia Vodka
Posted by Arctic Wolf on July 3, 2015
Belvedere 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.
I first tasted the new Unfiltered Belvedere Vodka at a recent Martini Seminar hosted in Edmonton by Ali Dedianko, the Belvedere Vodka Global Ambassador. At the seminar Ali described the Belvedere Unfiltered spirit as a ‘whisky drinkers vodka’ which was produced to allow the flavour of the Dankowski Rye to shine through. This is because the spirit is produced exclusively from Dankowski Rye grain grown on a Single Estate on one selected Polish farm. (It has its own terroir, if you will.) Furthermore the new Vodka, after being distilled four times, is bottled without filtering (at 40 % Alcohol by Volume) to ensure that the rye flavour within the vodka is not lost.
Unfiltered Reverse Vesper
After the Martini event, I contacted the Western Canadian distributor of Belvedere products, Charton Hobbs who provided my sample bottle for this review.
Here is a link to my full review:
“… When I brought the chilled vodka to my nose I could detect light aromas of fresh-baked rye bread combined with a lovely milk chocolate scent. I was surprised that the aroma was so firm as the Vodka was very well chilled. As the Vodka warmed, the spicy rye grain seemed to unravel itself from the lightly sweet chocolate giving me another olfactory dimension to enjoy …”
Please enjoy the review, and at its conclusion I hope you also enjoy two Martini recipes I created which feature the outstanding flavour of the Belvedere Unfiltered Vodka, a Dry Vodka Martini (with lemon garnish) and a Reverse Vesper Martini (with cucumber and lemon garnish).
Posted in Vodka, Vodka Reviews | Tagged: Belvedere Unfiltered, Cocktail, Dankowski Rye, Flavoured Vodka Review, Martini, Reverse Vesper, Vodka | Comments Off on Review: Belvedere Unfiltered (Rare Diamond Rye) Vodka
Posted by Arctic Wolf on June 19, 2015
Alberta 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
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:
“… 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.
Posted in Vodka, Vodka Reviews | Tagged: Alberta Pure, Cocktails, Martini, Vodka, Vodka Review | 1 Comment »
Posted by Arctic Wolf on June 8, 2015
Ali Dedianko, Belvedere Global Vodka Ambassador
Last week I introduced everyone to Belvedere’s Vodka Global Ambassador, Ali Dedianko who hosted the Belvedere Martini Seminar which I attended at the downtown Edmonton restaurant, North 53. During that seminar, she introduced me to a very delicious cocktail called the Reverse Vesper (which I will discuss in one of my future postings). The Reverse Vesper is of course, based upon the more famous Martini-style cocktail the Vesper, (which is the subject of this posting).
The Vesper appears to be the invention of Ian Fleming who first published the recipe in his famous 1953 novel, “Casino Royal“ (which is also of course the novel that introduced the world to the iconic British secret agent, James Bond). In chapter 7 of the novel, Bond tells a bartender to build him a dry martini in a deep champagne goblet. His specific instruction is:
“Three measures of Gordon’s, one of vodka, half a measure of Kina Lillet. Shake it very well until it’s ice-cold, then add a large thin slice of lemon peel.”
Felix Leiter who is accompanying him seems impressed with the bar drink, so James Bond goes on to explain to his CIA counterpart:
“I never have more than one drink before dinner. But I do like that one to be large and very strong and very cold and very well-made. I hate small portions of anything, particularly when they taste bad.”
Ian Fleming’s sentiments regarding proper cocktail construction hold a ring of truth as that is indeed the manner in which most of the bartenders I have spoken to prefer to build their best cocktails.
Of course Bond comes up with the perfect name for his cocktail when he meets Vesper Lynd in the next chapter. Her name was chosen by to her parents because she was “born on a dark and stormy night” and thus they chose the Latin word “vesper” for her name which means “evening”. James apparently feels the name suits his cocktail and asks Miss Lynd if he can borrow the name.
I have decided to construct my Vesper Cocktail as closely as possible (given what is available in my home bar setting) to James Bonds original formulation.
You can find this recipe by clicking on the following link which will bring you to my Vesper recipe page:
Note: After the 1953 publication of Casino Royale, the Vesper Cocktail became popular with bartenders around the world; however, the actual name of the drink and its complete recipe was not mentioned on-screen in the original, 1967 Casino Royale Movie. This first Casino Royale movie did not star Sean Connery. Instead actor David Niven played James Bond in what was actually a spoof film which satirized the other James Bond films produced to that point. It was not until 2006 when the 2nd adaptation of the original Casino Royale novel was released as a movie, that we heard the first onscreen reference to the Vesper cocktail. Of course, by then the original novel had already made it famous.
Posted in Cocktails & Recipes | Tagged: Cocktails, Ian Fleming, James Bond, Martini, Vesper | Comments Off on Martini Monday: The Vesper Cocktail
Posted by Arctic Wolf on June 1, 2015
The Vodka Martini can be served either in the traditional format, some prefer to call this a ‘Wet’ Martini, or in a more modern style which is typically called a ‘Dry’ Martini’. However, what makes a martini wet versus dry is a matter of debate. Most bartenders agree that the distinction between wet and dry is a matter of the amount of aromatized wine (usually vermouth) which is added to the cocktail. A wet martini has a higher ratio of vermouth to gin (or vodka) than does a dry martin. Exactly when the martini slips from wet to dry depends upon which bartender (or which cocktail enthusiast) you are speaking to.
Ali Dedianko hosting her Belvedere Martini Seminar
At a recent Belvedere Martini Seminar I was invited to (hosted by Ali Dedianko, Belvedere’s Vodka Global Ambassador) it was suggested to me that a martini constructed at a ratio of 1 part vermouth to 2 parts vodka could be considered ‘wet’, whereas a martini constructed at a ratio of 1 part vermouth to 6 parts gin or vodka could be considered ‘dry’. Those ratios are as good a starting point as any; however that elusive tipping point from wet to dry remains a matter of conjecture.
Traditional Martini (with grapefruit peel)
The main theme of Ali’s seminar, was not in defining when a martini was wet or dry; it was the suggestion that each person should find their own sweet spot of wetness or dryness where they prefer their martinis to be. It was also suggested that the garnish chosen for your martini need not be confined to olives or lemon peel. Many other garnishes can and should be considered with the thought process being towards a flavour note which would compliment the base spirit and the vermouth rather than clash with them. (At the seminar, Ali Dedianko used cucumber, grapefruit peel, and lemon peel as her chosen garnishes to great effect.)
Over the next several weeks, and taking my cue from Ali who taught me a lot, I will be hosting Martini Mondays here on my website. Each week I will publish a different Martini recipe using different ratios of Vodka (and/or Gin) with Vermouth, and experimenting with different garnishes. The recipes I publish will feature Belvedere Vodka, Belvedere Unfiltered Vodka, No. 3 London Dry Gin, and Stock Vermouth all supplied by Charton Hobbes, and who arranged for me to attend the Belvedere Martini Seminar.
I will begin with a Traditional Martini which features a grapefruit peel garnish. You can find that recipe by clicking the link below which will send you to my recipe page:
It is my hope that some of you try these recipes at home, and perhaps make some suggestions of your own in my comments section. I may include some of your recipes too (depending upon whether I have the ingredients handy).
Enjoy the coming summer months everybody, its Martini Season!
Note: North 53, a fantastic downtown Edmonton Restaurant was the venue for the Belvedere Martini Event. They have a unique menu featuring Northern cuisine and based upon the samplers we were served, the food is delicious! If you are looking for a great downtown restaurant, I recommend you give North 53 a try.
Posted in Cocktails & Recipes | Tagged: Belvedere, Martini, Martini Mondays, Traditional Martini | 1 Comment »
Posted by Arctic Wolf on November 22, 2012
According to the website information, Beluga Noble Russian Vodka is manufactured in a remote area of Siberia, reported to be 300 km from the nearest large settlement. The vodka is produced from grain alcohol (some of the alcohol may be produced from malted grain), and purified Siberian spring water. Even though artesian spring water is naturally pure, for this Vodka, it must also undergo a double filtration, through quartz sand and a special silver filter. After distillation, a third stage of purification involves a 10.5 meter coal column filter which is composed of birch charcoal. Prior to bottling, the vodka is rested 30 days. This rest period apparently allows the molecular components within to stabilize allowing for a smoother more velvet-like mouth-feel and taste.
Interestingly enough, Beluga vodka also contains other special ingredients (in extremely small quantities) such as honey, oat extract, and Silybum Marianum (milk thistle) extract. The addition of minute quantities of special ingredients is consistent with what I know of traditional European production methods where each distilled vodka has its own recipe and its own special ingredients. It is these special ingredients used in very small proportions which contribute to the individual character of each Vodka. (By small quantities I really do mean small; typically these extra ingredients are measured in parts per million.)
Beluga Noble Russian Vodka has recently been introduced into my home Province of Alberta. It is a Premium Vodka which is priced to occupy the same market niche as Grey Goose and Belvedere. A bottle was delivered to me by Thirsty Cellar Imports, who are importing this spirit and I was asked to provide a review on my website.
Here is an excerpt from my review:
“… The nose is clean with faint wisps of lemon and spice. There is something else in the air as well, a very soft aroma which seems very vaguely sweet and herbal, and at the same time very vaguely like fresh cereal porridge (made with milk). As I sip the Vodka, I am very impressed. I taste very lightly sweet flavours of lemon and citrus zest as well as a very gentle spiciness. The aftertaste is vaguely sweet reminding my of honey or cane syrup, and I taste a very light maltiness which is very appealing… “
Here is a link to my full review:
Please enjoy my review of this new Premium Russian Vodka which includes recipe for a standard Vodka Martini, and my own Estate Cocktail.
Posted in Cocktails & Recipes, Vodka, Vodka Reviews | Tagged: Beluga Vodka, Cocktails and Recipes, DrinkWire, Martini, Premium Vodka, Russian Vodka, Vodka | Comments Off on Review: Beluga Noble Russian Vodka