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Archive for the ‘Vodka Reviews’ Category

Review: Banff Ice Vodka

Posted by Arctic Wolf on October 1, 2018

Banff Ice Vodka is a Vodka brand owned and produced by Alberta Distillers Limited (Owned by Beam Suntory) based in Calgary, Alberta. This is a triple distilled grain spirit  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).

Earlier this summer, I organized a small Vodka tasting for a few friends. We tasted Russian Standard Vodka, and Strait Vodka 40 alongside Banff Ice comparing each for sipping, for shooting, as a palette cleanser, and in cocktails. This review has been written based upon the tasting notes I constructed during the Vodka Tasting as well as from the comments of my friends, and from my impression during a subsequent tasting I did by myself with the spirit in isolation.

Here is a link to the results for Banff Ice Vodka.

Review: Banff Ice Vodka

“… The spirit was only slightly thickened, and when I raised the glass to my nose I could detect very little aroma. There was a light spiciness and a hint of menthol, 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, Banff Ice is an extremely clean, crisp spirit …”

Please enjoy my review of this surprising spirit!

 

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Review: Smirnoff Moscow Mule

Posted by Arctic Wolf on September 21, 2018

The Moscow Mule is a popular vodka cocktail which mixes Vodka (often Smirnoff Vodka is called for specifically) and Ginger Beer with a small amount of lemon or lime juice. The origins of the cocktail are somewhat obscured with different ‘origin stories’ placing the first named ‘Moscow Mule’ in different locations ranging from Manhattan, New York to Hollywood, Los Angeles.

The most popular story is that in 1941, three friends, John A. Morgan, President of Cock ‘n’ Bull Products (know by his friends as Jack) which produced a brand name ginger beer (also the owner of the Hollywood Cock ‘n’ Bull Restaurant), John G. Martin, President of G.F. Heublein Brothers Inc. and Rudolph Kunett, President of Pierre Smirnoff (which was Heublein’s vodka division) were in the Chatham Hotel and they began to experiment with Morgan’s Cock ‘n’ Bull ginger beer and Kunett’s Smirnoff Vodka served with a twist of lemon juice. (source:New York Herald Tribune, 1948)

Whether it was introduced at the time, or the idea arrived afterwards, the Moscow mule quickly became associated with a unique serving vessel, a copper mug. The introduction of the copper mug is usually attributed to Russian immigrant, Sophie Berezinski who apparently arrived in North America with 2000 copper mugs which had been manufactured by her father in a copper factory in Russia known as the Moscow Copper Co.. She apparently walked into John Martin’s Cock ‘n’ Bull Pub in Los Angeles, where Jack Morgan and John Martin where either introducing the cocktail to the Sunset Strip (or perhaps this is really where the cocktail was invented) and the idea to serve the mixed drink in Sofie’s copper mugs was born (source: Moscow Copper Co – The Story of the Moscow Mule).

Recently, Smirnoff in a nod to its association to the original Moscow Mule, introduced their Ginger and Lime infuse Moscow Mule (flavoured vodka). According to the folks at Smirnoff the spirit (bottled at 30 % alcohol by volume) is a ready-to-mix combination of zesty ginger and tangy lime flavors which is meant to be mixed with ginger-ale (or ginger beer).

Here is a link to my full review of this new (and highly recommended ready-to-mix serving from Smirnoff:

Review: Smirnoff Moscow Mule

” … The lime and ginger infused vodka is not supposed to be sipped neat; but when I did so I was quite pleased with the lightly sweet lime and ginger flavour I encountered. I added a cube of ice and frankly I could sip and enjoy this rather easily …”

Please enjoy my review, Chimo!

Posted in Flavoured Vodka, Vodka, Vodka Reviews | Tagged: , , , , | Leave a Comment »

Review: Strait Vodka 40

Posted by Arctic Wolf on September 9, 2018

The Myriad Distillery is proud to be PEI’s first and only producer of a full range of artisan distilled spirits namely Strait Shine®, Lightning, Vodka, Gin, Whisky, Brandy and Pastis. Recently I had a chance to speak with Ken Mill (one of the Distillery’s Principles) over the phone about his operation and products. I learned that Myriad was one of the very first (if not the first) full production Micro-distilleries not only in Prince Edward Island, but in the entire Country. The distillery did in fact pave the way for the other small distilleries to follow.

I also learned that the folks at Myriad Distillery produce all of their products is a small batch style making only those spirits which they have an immediate local market for, and which passes the palate test of the principles. In producing their craft Strait Vodka the distillery begins with a pure Canadian grain alcohol. This neutral spirit is distilled twice more to (according to the distillery):

Ensure a smooth and neutral flavour with hints of natural sweetness that show its Canadian grain origins.

Earlier this summer, I organized a small Vodka tasting for a few friends. We tasted Strait Vodka 40 alongside Russian Standard Vodka, and Banff Ice comparing each for sipping, for shooting, as a palette cleanser, and in cocktails. This review has been written based upon the tasting notes I constructed during the Vodka Tasting as well as from the comments of my friends, and from my impression during a subsequent tasting I did by myself with the spirit in isolation.

Here is a link to my full review for Strait Vodka 40:

Review: Strait Vodka 40

“… I made Vodka Gimlets with each of the three spirits, and of the three, the Strait Vodka made the best gimlet! I also mixed a few cocktails after the event and I found the spirit worked very well when served in cocktails as a compliment to other spirits like gin and tequila …”

Please enjoy my review which include three cocktail suggestions for your enjoyment.

Chimo!

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Review: Russian Standard Vodka

Posted by Arctic Wolf on July 27, 2018

Russian Standard Vodka was introduced in 1998 by Russian businessman and entrepreneur, Roustam Tariko (the owner of Russian Standard Bank). This is a traditional Russian Vodka made from hardy winter wheat cultivated on the Russian steppes. The spirit is quadruple distilled at the company’s distillation and rectification facilities in Saint Petersburg and then blended with the glacial waters from Lake Ladoga (whose waters were chosen for their renowned softness and purity). The Russian Standard Vodka is raised to a final level of purification using a quadruple charcoal filtering process, and then it is finished in steel ‘resting’ tanks before bottling.

I recently revisited the Russian Standard brand when I organized a small Vodka tasting for a few friends. We tasted Russian Standard Vodka, Banff Ice, and Strait Vodka 40. As my previous review for this spirit was published seven years ago I decided that an updated review was in order.

Here is a link to that review:

Review: Russian Standard Vodka 

“… Comparing my notes to my review of 7 years ago, I noticed that my impressions were pretty much the same. I did feel though, that the spirit deserved a higher score this time around. I think perhaps as this was one of my early vodka reviews, I was overly cautious in my initial scoring …”

Please enjoy my review which includes two cocktail suggestions, the Sweet Moscow Mule and Soft Margaret.

Chimo!

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Review: Stone Heart Vodka

Posted by Arctic Wolf on April 15, 2018

There was a time in the County of Red Deer that the county would use rye grain for erosion control on the Range Road near the farm where Ian Scott grew up (Range Road 13). Ian’s Dad who was born in the dirty thirties grew up learning not let anything go to waste so he harvested the grain that fall. Ian, being a bit of a curious young man was inspired to learn how to put that rye grain to good use and he began to  research distilling with the aim to build his own still. Although the still was never built, an idea had been planted.

Some time later, Ian and his wife, Marnie visited a distillery in B.C. and the idea was rekindled. At about the same time Alberta changed the law which paved the way to allow small micro-distillery start-ups. Ian had already had researched the process, and his work in the Alberta Oil Field gave him the confidence that he could operate the similar distilling equipment and so he and his wife Marnie created the Stone Heart Distillery (located in the town of Innisfail, Alberta). The distillery is a true grains to glass operation, Ian and Marnie mill, mash, ferment and distill their own grain, and they turned to their natural surroundings, adding pure Rocky Mountain valley water to their distillate to bring it to bottling proof. This is truly a true family run operation, from grain to glass.

Ian Scott sent me two bottle of his vodka, one from batch 17, and one from batch 18 made with a different variety of wheat. He asked me to sample each of them and send him back some feedback.

When I tasted the Stone Heart Vodkas for the first time, I conducted a side by side tasting with several other locally produced craft vodkas. From that line-up, I chose the two which I felt were the best spirits and decided to write full reviews for them.

Here is link to the full review for Stone Heart Vodka (from Batch 17)

Review: Stone Heart Vodka

“… I took a nice large swallow. The Stone Heart Vodka went down smoothly. In addition to a light grain spice, I noticed flavours of lemon balsam, and hints of banana. After the swallow the banana flavour seemed to linger although perhaps it would be more correct to label the impression as a residual flavour of slightly vegetal plantain …”

Please enjoy my review which includes a nice recipe to gear us up for summertime, the Vodka Darby.

Chimo!

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