Review: Sobieski Vodka (87.5/100)
a review by Chip Dykstra (AKA Arctic Wolf)
Posted on February 04, 2014
Sobieski Vodka is (according to their website) the number 1 selling premium vodka in Poland. It is a true Polish Vodka distilled on a multi-column still from 100% Dankowski rye which was harvested in the low-lying Mazovia (Masowse) region of Poland. The spirit was named ‘Sobieski’ to pay homage to King Jan III Sobieski (1629 – 1696) who is generally regarded as the last great King of Poland and whose spirit of indomitable will, remains even today as an integral aspect of the Poland’s national character.
When I sampled Sobieski 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) 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 Sobieski vodka imported into Alberta by the Western Canadian distributor Charton Hobbs who provided my sample bottle for this review.
The First Impression 8.5/10
Sobieski is sold in the tall, clear, short-necked bottle shown to the left. The front label features a colour picture of (who I believe) is King Jan III Sobieski. Underneath that picture are the words, “Pure Dankowski Rye” underscoring that this Polish vodka is made from 100 % rye grain. On the back of the bottle is an embossed crest representing the aforementioned Polish King.
The presentation is very acceptable for a Premium Vodka which sells for less than 30 dollars in Alberta (remember our taxes and Alberta Gaming and Liquor Control (AGLC) storage fees may account for up to 15 bucks a bottle). If this spirit was sealed with a better topper (better than that flimsy metallic screw cap) then I would have scored this portion of the review higher.
Taking a Sip 17/20
For my tasting session with my friends, the Sobieski had been chilled in my freezer for about three hours prior to the tasting. It’s temperature was about 1 degree Celsius, and at that cold temperature the vodka was very creamy and sluggish in the glass. The aroma was very clean to the point that all of my guests (and myself) could find no aroma in their glass. As we sipped on the spirit the consensus around the table was that the Sobieski demonstrated a very clean spiciness and carried only wisps of a sweet lemony citrus spiciness in the glass.
I tasted the vodka twice more afterwards, once with its temperature at about 10 degrees Celsius, and once again at room temperature. I was impressed at how well the Vodka stood up to warmer temperatures. The Lemon citrus seemed to grow in the glass as the Vodka warmed as did the sweetness. As well some vague vegetal flavours began to show themselves; however I did not notice any sort of metallic aftertaste or undo burn after I swallowed. The Sobieski is a quality sipping Vodka which can be enjoyed at room temperature.
Taking a Shot 17.5/20
When I threw back a shot of the Sobieski the first time when it was well chilled, I was very pleased at how clean and smooth the spirit tasted. When served cold, the Vodka displayed no burn at all, only a nice spicy glow which heated the palate lightly and slowly crept down the throat. At warmer serving temperatures the vodka displays a much stronger lemon flavour when swallowed as a full shot; but the spiciness and the smoothness remained very similar to what I had experienced when the Vodka was cold. There is some light burn in the throat at room temperature, but I must say that I am impressed. Sobieski holds up very well even at room temperature when the character and smoothness of most Vodkas will crumble.
Out for Dinner 18/20
For the tasting event, we had a variety of breads and crackers served; also some different types of sausage and cheese; some sour spinach dip for the bread; and a nice plate of salt and pepper chicken wings. The Sobieski Vodka tasted very good with all of the pairings. None of my guests noticed any strange aftertaste associated with any of the foods or with the Vodka. The clean spicy flavour of Sobieski tended to cleanse the palate between bites making each morsel very tasty indeed.
After tasting the vodka with a variety of foods, I made the a standard Vodka Daiquiri for everyone. The Vodka Daiquiri has become my reference cocktail when judging Vodka because it is not only very tasty, it also showcases both the vodka spirit and its mixability with fresh fruit. The cocktail made with Sobieski was noticeably sweeter than the cocktails made with Belvedere, and Khortytsa Platinum which for some of my guests was welcome, but for others was a minor detriment. I normally prefer my cocktails to be more tart, but I believe this is more a matter of style than of quality.
I made a few other cocktails for myself over the next few weeks, a Moscow Mule, and two of my own recipes the Meadowland Breeze and the Yellowbird of Sunshine (see recipe below). Again I noticed that each cocktail was a little sweeter than usual, however, I was more than happy with each.
Final Score 87.5/100
(This is an Excellent Vodka )
If you are interested in comparing more scores, here is a link to my other published Vodka Reviews.
Yellowbird Of Sunshine
2 oz Vodka
1 oz Fresh Lemon Juice
1/8 tsp Maraschino Liqueur
1/2 oz Sugar syrup (1:1 Ratio)
splash of soda
Lemon slice for Garnish
Add the first four ingredients into a metal shaker with ice
Shake until the sides of the shaker frost
Double strain into a Martini Glass
Add a splash of Soda
Float a Lemon Slice on top
If you are interested in more of my cocktail recipes, please click this link (Cocktails and Recipes) for more of my mixed drink recipes!
You may (loosely) interpret my score 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 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)