Nemiroff Lex Vodka
Review: Nemiroff Lex Vodka (92.5)
A review by Chip Dykstra (Aka Arctic Wolf)
Posted on June 30, 2011
Lex is the Super Premium Vodka from Nemiroff which was introduced to in Ukrainian Markets in 2003. It is a very interesting premium vodka spirit produced from grain alcohol which has been aged in wood for six months. According to information supplied to me by Igor Kashkan (the local importer of Nemiroff Vodka), the spirit undergoes eleven stages of purification, and then the resulting spirit is enhanced with aromatic spirits from natural oats and the Linden Blossom. According to the Nemiroff website, the recommended manner in which to enjoy the Lex Vodka is to sip it slowly, savouring its unique qualities neat. Complicated cocktails and/or drinking the Lex as a ‘shot’ style vodka is not recommended.
However, I am a bit of a contrarian, and so I prefer to analyze this spirit in the same manner as I have analyzed the other Vodkas I have reviewed, and I will partake in shots and cocktails to arrive at my own conclusions and share them with you.
My First Impression 9/10
To the right is the bottle presentation for Lex Vodka. I find it simply marvelous. In fact, I was planning on scoring it a perfect 10; but, there is one rather annoying drawback. The plastic screw-top closure includes one of those annoying ball diffusers which prevent the bottle from being refilled with an inferior spirit in clubs and restaurants. Unfortunately, the ball in the diffuser has a tendency to stick rather easily making pouring very difficult. It is only with much shimmying and shaking of my bottle that I was able to successfully pour out each serving of Vodka from my sample bottle. I deducted a full point from the presentation, and I was tempted to deduct more as my annoyance with this feature increased over time.
The First Sip 19/20
I placed my bottle of Nemiroff Lex Vodka in the freezer overnight before each of my tasting sessions, and then allowed the vodka to warm slightly to just above zero degrees Celsius before I would begin.
I used an over sized shot glass and brought it up to my nose for a gentle sniff before I slipped a small portion into my mouth and let it sit there slowly covering my tongue. The initial aroma of the vodka presented tantalizing glimpses of a spicy grain in combination with a warm sweetness and a mild lemon citrus. I am thinking that this sweet lemon citrus must be the Linden Blossom which the Nemiroff website says is evident in the aroma of the vodka.
The same impressions were evident upon my palate, although the flavour impressions were stronger than I would have suspected. Along with the sweet citrus is a spicy rye-like heat which is present both in the mouth and in my throat after I swallow. I detected no bitterness, and no metallic aftertaste. I really like the flavour, and this is perhaps the best sipping vodka (at least as far as light wonderful flavour) that I have encountered thus far. This is a very nice beginning!
Taking a Shot 18.5/20
I brought the shot glass to my mouth and took a large swallow of vodka. That sensation of spicy rye-like heat which I noted in my first initial sip was reinforced as well as the sweet and light lemony citrus flavour impression. There were no vegetal flavours, nor was there any sort of cloying metallic aftertaste. The vodka goes down very smoothly. I did sense a nice ‘pop’ of spicy grain flavours in my mouth, and at the back of my throat; but I did not detect any burn in my lower throat. As well I noticed that a nice gentle warmth rose from the bottom of my chest upwards through my esophagus to my throat about ten seconds after I swallowed. This feels very nice.
I repeated this ‘shot’ style experience a few more times on a few different days, and I began to notice a light starch-like or perhaps it was more of a wheat-like flavour that I hadn’t noticed earlier (perhaps this is the aromatic natural oats mentioned earlier imparting its flavour to the spirit). The sweet citrus or perhaps it is more correct to say the Linden Blossom flavour seems to take more shape as well. The vodka seems lightly sweet, and displays very light after flavours of lemon and lime. I am very happy that these flavours are present as they definitely add to my enjoyment of the experience. Nemiroff seems to believe flavour is a good thing, and I agree. I am going to disagree with the Nemiroff website however, and endorse this super premium vodka in ‘shot’ style drinks. I really like the full swallows of Lex Vodka.
Out for Dinner 18.5/20
The Nemiroff Lex Vodka seems to be suited to be enjoyed with a variety of foods. I served a nice chunky potato soup, Gouda and Edam cheese slices, and smoked mini sausages with the Lex at my first tasting session. After the first taste of food, I would take a small shot of Vodka, and then follow it with a few more mouthfuls of food, and then repeat the process. The Vodka tasted great, and so did the food. I also paired the vodka with Teriyaki pork and wild rice when I was doing some additional tastings sessions. Again I really enjoyed the combination.
The flavours in the vodka are firm enough to be enjoyed with food, but light enough not to detract from the experience. It was suggested to me that the Nemiroff Lex would be an ideal partner with Caviar or Smoked Salmon. Although I did not try those pairings do to my dislike of seafood, I find myself agreeing that this is a vodka which should be paired with fine food.
After the food pairings, I made a few small cocktails in my final examination of Nemiroff Lex. I always make a Cosmopolitan cocktail for comparative purposes. The grain-like spiciness and the sweeter citrus I noted in the vodka made for a very good cocktail. I also made a Vodka Martini, a Greyhound, and a Balalaika as well, and I thought they were all very nice.
Although the cocktails were very good, I did feel that the Lex was better suited for sipping than for cocktails which speaks to the quality that I felt I was tasting.
Final Score 92.5/100
If you are interested in comparing more scores, here is a link to my other published Vodka Reviews.
My best suggestion for the enjoyment of Nemiroff Lex is to make yourself a Russian Soldier. This really isn’t a cocktail or even a recipe, in fact a Russian Soldier is simply well chilled Vodka in a large shot glass. I would like to make the point that ice is not preferred. This is because ice can add bitterness as it melts in a glass of Vodka, especially if this ice which was made in your own freezer with tap water.
The Russian Soldier
2 oz Nemiroff Lex chilled to just above zero degrees Celsius
(Please do not add Ice!)
Serve in a Large Shot Glass
Sip the well chilled Vodka slowly and enjoy responsibly!
You may (loosely) interpret my scores as follows:
0-25 A spirit with a rating this low would actually kill you.
26-49 Depending upon your fortitude you might actually survive this.
50 -59 You are safe to drink this…but you shouldn’t.
60-69 Substandard swill which you may offer to people you do not want to see again.
70-74 Now we have a fair mixing Vodka. Accept this but make sure it is mixed into a cocktail.
75-79 You may begin to serve this to friends, again for cocktails only.
80-84 We begin to enjoy this Vodka in shots, although cocktails are still preferable.
85-89 Excellent! Shots or cocktails!
90-94 You may want to hoard this for yourself.
95-97.5 The Cream of the Crop
98+ I haven’t met this bottle yet…but I want to.
Very loosely we may put my scores into terms that you may be familiar with on a Gold, Silver, and Bronze medal scale as follows:
70 – 80 Bronze Medal (Recommended only as a mixer)
81 – 89 Silver Medal (Recommended for shots and mixing cocktails)
90 – 95 Gold Medal (Highly Recommended for Vodka Shots and Sublime Cocktails)
95.5+ Platinum Award (Highest Recommendation)