Posted by Arctic Wolf on July 18, 2015
Reverse Vesper with Iceberg Vodka
Iceberg Vodka is produced by the Canadian Iceberg Vodka Corp. (CIVC), which is headquartered St. John’s, Newfoundland. The spirit is produced by blending alcohol distilled from Ontario sweet-corn with water harvested from icebergs off the coast of Newfoundland with the aim of creating a premium vodka which is completely devoid of artificial pollutants. The arctic icebergs which float into what is called ‘iceberg alley’ just off the coat of Newfoundland are formed from glaciers which are over 10,000 years old.
When I opened my bottle of Iceberg Vodka for the first time, I was also sampling with three other vodka spirits, Polar Ice, Opulent and Skyy Vodka. I created a set of tasting notes for each spirit, and from those notes, and from a second set of tasting notes which I prepared in my private tasting room when I tasted each spirit in isolation from the others, I prepared my reviews.
Here is a link to the full review for Iceberg Vodka:
“… When I took to sip, I allowed a little vodka to sit on my tongue before swallowing. I noticed a nice corn-like sweetness came though in front of the grainy spice and the combination of both was quite nice …”
Please enjoy my review which includes a nice recipe suggestion, the Reverse Vesper with Cucumber and Orange Peel.
Posted in Vodka, Vodka Reviews | Tagged: Canadian Iceberg Vodka Corp., Cocktails, Iceberg Vodka, Reverse Vesper, Vodka, Vodka Review | Comments Off on Review: Iceberg 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 26, 2015
AnestasiA 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.”
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:
“… 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.
Posted in Vodka, Vodka Reviews | Tagged: AnestasiA, Cocktails, Tactical Equilibrium, Vodka, Vodka Review | Comments Off on Review: AnestasiA Vodka
Posted by Arctic Wolf on June 21, 2015
Today I thought I would give everyone who is scrambling at the last-minute a few suggestions for Father’s Day with the same list of ten spirits which I posted on my refrigerator for my wife and kids. Every item on my list is considered by myself to be a top-notch spirit, however each is available in my local market for less than 100 bucks. That may seem a high watermark for some, but I have three kids and they can chip in together.
Any gift from his list would make any reasonable Dad happy:
1) Dictador XO Insolent Rum
2) Ron Millonario XO Reserva Especial Rum
3) El Dorado 21 Year Old Special Reserve Rum
4) Booker’s True Barrel Bourbon
5) Highland Park 12 Year Old Single Malt
6) Gibson’s Finest Rare 18 Year Old
7) Wyborowa Exquisite (Wodka)
8) Botanist Islay Dry Gin
9) Corzo Reposado Tequila
10) H by Hine Fine Champagne Cognac (VSOP)
Graham’s Six Grapes
I realize that not everyone can or would want to spend 100 bucks. If you are more budget conscious, then here is a list of ten great budget priced spirits which would still make any Dad happy (including me):
1) Bacardi 8 Yr Old Rum
2) Appleton Estate Extra Old 12 Year
3) Diplomático Añejo
4) Ninety “Decades of Richness” 20 Year Old Canadian Rye Whisky
5) Bulleit Bourbon Frontier Whiskey
6) Alberta Springs Canadian Whisky
7) Highwood Premium Vodka
8) Broker’s Premium London Dry Gin (40 %ABV)
9) Herencia de Plata (Reposado)
10) W & J Graham’s “Six Grapes” Reserve Port
The two lists are in no particular order, but I have tried to include a good range of spirit types with the emphasis on Rum of course. Hopefully this helps someone, if not for Father’s Day, then maybe for your own personal shopping.
Posted in Extras | Tagged: Bourbon, Cognac, Father's Day, Gin, Port Wine, Rum, Tequila, Vodka, Whisky | 1 Comment »
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 March 26, 2015
In 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:
“… 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!
Posted in Flavoured Vodka, Vodka, Vodka Reviews | Tagged: Cocktails, Easy Lemon Martini, Flavoured, Flavoured Vodka Review, Lemon, Poliakov, Review, Vodka, Yellow Delight | Comments Off on Review: POLIAKOV Lemon Flavoured Vodka
Posted by Arctic Wolf on March 10, 2015
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:
“… 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.
Posted in Vodka, Vodka Reviews | Tagged: Cocktails, Emissary, Highwood Distillers, Potter's Premium, Vodka, Vodka Review | Comments Off on Review: Potter’s Premium Vodka
Posted by Arctic Wolf on February 10, 2015
In 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:
“… 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!
Posted in Flavoured Vodka, Vodka, Vodka Reviews | Tagged: Cocktails, Flavoured, Kool Tonic, Peach, Poliakov, Review, Vodka | Comments Off on Review: Poliakov Peach Flavoured Vodka
Posted by Arctic Wolf on February 1, 2015
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:
“… 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!
Posted in Vodka, Vodka Reviews | Tagged: Absolut, Cocktails, Vodka, Vodka Daiquiri, Vodka Review | Comments Off on Review: Absolut Vodka
Posted by Arctic Wolf on January 7, 2015
Today 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:
Posted in Awards, Extras, Vodka, Vodka Reviews | Tagged: 2014 Year in Vodka, Rum Howler Awards, Vodka, Vodka Awards, Vodka Reviews | Comments Off on The Year in Vodka (The 2014 Rum Howler Awards)