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Archive for the ‘Vodka Reviews’ Category

Review: Lowry Park Vodka

Posted by Arctic Wolf on March 6, 2017

sam_3018Lowry Park Vodka is an American spirit produced by Terrapure Spirits in North Charleston (South Carolina). The spirit is distilled six times from grain, and is part of the Preferred Selection at the Western Canadian Liquor Depot chain of stores.

As part of the review process, I first sampled the spirit on my own side by side with three rival vodkas (Antrim, Gray’s Peak, and Ketel One) where I put all spirits through the paces of my review methodology. I served the spirits chilled and sipped them each neat, swallowed shots, and then sampled each with a variety of foods. I finished the tasting session with some cocktails made from each spirit. The following week held a Vodka tasting for a few friends where we repeated the tasting in a group format. Based upon these two tasting sessions, and based upon comments from my friends I constructed my review for each spirit.

Here is a link to my full review:

Review: Lowry Park Vodka

“… When I tossed down a full swallow (served cold), I found the spirit smooth. The light mint flavour and the grain spice felt nice in the mouth and throat although there was perhaps just a hint of burn as well. The light burn didn’t really concern me as it could easily be that I was misinterpreting grain spice as burn at the cold temperature I was serving the spirit at …”

Please enjoy my review which includes a nice cocktail suggestion,

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Review: Antrim Vodka

Posted by Arctic Wolf on February 27, 2017

Blushing Lady

Blushing Lady

Antrim Vodka is a ‘destination’ brand exclusive to Liquor Depot and Wine & Beyond stores in Western Canada, produced by Highwood Distillers who are located in High River, Alberta (about 40 Kilometers south of Calgary). The spirit is triple distilled from prairie wheat in a batch style distillation.

As part of the review process, I first sampled the spirit side by side with three rival vodkas (Ketel One, Gray’s Peak, and Lowry Park) where I put all spirits through the paces of my review methodology. I served the spirits chilled where I sipped them each neat, swallowed shots, and then sampled each with a variety of foods. I finished the tasting session with some cocktails made from each spirit.

Here is a link to my full review for Antrim Vodka:

Review: Antrim Vodka

“… When I brought my full shot glass to my nose, I sensed very little in the breezes at first. However as the spirit warmed I began to notice light wispy bits of flour and grain spice. There was also a mild hint of citrus zest wandering in the breezes …”

Please enjoy my review which concludes with my stunning new cocktail, the Blushing Lady.

Chimo!

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Review: Sid’s Handcrafted Vodka

Posted by Arctic Wolf on February 6, 2017

okerlund-sam_2960

‘Mean’ Gene Okerlund’s Cocktail

Sid’s Handcrafted Vodka is produced by Goodridge & Williams, an independent craft distilling company located in Vancouver, British Columbia (Canada). According to the company website, the Vodka is produced from a slow distillation using traditional copper pot-still. I should note that the label on the bottle clarifies this information stating that the distillation process includes distillation through 38 column plates. The spirit is bottled at 40 % alcohol by volume.

I  sampled three other new vodkas in a tasting flight with Sid’s Handcrafted Vodka (Foothills, Tryst, and Provincial Vodka). I served each of the spirits chilled where I sipped them each neat, swallowed shots, and then sampled each with a variety of foods. I finished the tasting with some cocktails made from each spirit.

Here is a link to my newest Vodka Review:

Review: Sid’s Handcrafted Vodka

“… I took a cautious sniff at the breezes above the glass and I noticed a touch of creme de fresh on the nose with vanilla pudding and cream of wheat porridge. The impression was subtle but it was quite pleasant. When I took a small sip, those aromatic impressions manifested upon the palate as light flavours of lemon and citrus zest melded with vanilla and some of that cream of wheat porridge …”

Please enjoy my review which includes a mixed drink suggestion, ‘Mean” Gene Okerlund’s Cocktail!

Chimo!

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Review: Foothills Vodka (Gluten Free)

Posted by Arctic Wolf on January 30, 2017

reverse-vesper-sam_2950Foothills Vodka is produced by Highwood Distillers from selected corn grain to ensure the product remains wheat and gluten-free. The spirit is produced from a batch style distillation, distilled ten times for maximum smoothness and purity.

As part of my review process, I held a Vodka tasting for my friends (the Rum Chums) where we sampled three other new vodkas (Norvegia, Tryst and Provincial) in a tasting flight with the Foothills Vodka. I served the spirits chilled where we sipped them each neat, swallowed shots, and sampled each with a variety of foods. We finished the tasting with some cocktails made from each spirit.

Here is a link to my review for the Foothills Vodka:

Review: Foothills Vodka (Gluten Free)

“… As we sipped, we noticed that the corn-like sweetness was firmer than the nose would have implied and it was accompanied by impressions of black licorice, vanilla and a mild butterscotch. These impression grew quickly as the spirit warmed …”

Please enjoy the review which contains two suggested cocktails which mix Highwood’s Empire Gin with their Foothill’s Vodka: the Vesper, and the Vespered Lime Gimlet.

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Review: Tryst Vodka

Posted by Arctic Wolf on January 23, 2017

Reverse Vesper

Lemon Gimlet

Tryst Vodka is an American spirit distilled six times from grain.The spirit was produced by TerrePURE Spirits, located in North Charleston, South Carolina, and the company boasts of it ‘revolutionary’ TerrePURE* process which is said to offer the cleanest, smoothest and best tasting vodka know to man. The Spirit is part of the Preferred Selection at the Western Canadian Liquor Depot chain of stores, and I was recently provided a bottle for review here on my website.

As part of the review process, I held a Vodka tasting for my friends (the Rum Chums) where we sampled three other new vodkas (Norvegia, Provincial and Foothills) in a blind tasting flight with the Tryst Vodka. I served the spirits chilled where we sipped them each neat, swallowed shots, and sampled each with a variety of foods. We finished the tasting with some cocktails made from each spirit. Comments from my friends often make it into my reviews

 

Here is a link to my thoughts regarding Tryst Vodka:

Review: Tryst Vodka

“… When we all took a full shot I noted that a corn-like sweetness had been building and I also tasted hints of mint meandering within a firm spicy grain. The combination of spice and clean alcohol warms the belly after the swallow; however it does not bring an undo amount of burn to the throat …”

Please enjoy my review which includes two nice cocktail recipes, the Lemon Gimlet and the Reverse Vesper.

Chimo Everyone!

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Review: Provincial Vodka (Radouga Distilleries)

Posted by Arctic Wolf on January 16, 2017

lemon-lime-gimlet-sam_2946Radouga Distilleries is a small distillery which began operations in Blaine Lake Saskatchewan (near Saskatoon) on November 20th 2014. Recently I met one of their sales reps (D’arcy Nemanishin) at the November Edmonton Food and Wine Show. We chatted briefly and after the show D’arcy arranged for me to receive a few sample of their line-up which included their Apple and the Blueberry Pie Liqueurs (reviewed here and here) as well as their Provincial and Provincial Spiced Vodkas. I sampled (and my wife sampled) all four spirits over the holidays, and I have decided to share my thoughts here on my website. This is the review for the Provincial Vodka.

As part of the review process, I held a Vodka tasting for my friends (the Rum Chums) where we sampled three other new vodkas (Norvegia, Tryst, and Foothills) in a tasting flight with the Provincial Vodka. I served the spirits chilled where we sipped them each neat, swallowed shots, and sampled each with a variety of foods. We finished the tasting with a cocktail made from each spirit.

Here are my thought on the Provincial Vodka from the Radouga Distillers:

Review: Provincial Vodka

“… The first sip was quite smooth. I noticed a nice grain-like spiciness and a little stronger lemon flavour that the nose would have implied. As the spirit warmed the intensity of the grain spice increased …

Please enjoy my review which includes two nice cocktail suggestions, the Provincial Greyhound, and the Provincial Gimlet!

Chimo Everyone!

 

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2017 Rum Howler Awards for Vodka

Posted by Arctic Wolf on January 4, 2017

rh-winner2017Last year, I pointed out that there seems to be a divide among vodka producers between those who value purity of spirit above all else, and those producers who allow their vodka spirit to express a certain level of flavour. I am firmly in the camp of those who enjoy the subtle aromas and flavours which can be appreciated when Vodka is sipped or when it is consumed in a cocktail. However, this past year I began to notice that some vodka makers are taking this philosophy too far.

This new phenomena appears to be part of the craft spirit movement. Using their small micro-stills the micro-producers are embracing a great deal of more flavour within their vodka spirit than I would ever have suspected. As one micro-distiller explained to me,

Dry Vodka Martini SAM_1606“Vodka doesn’t have to be a colourless odourless spirit meant only to be hid in a cocktail or tall soda drink.It can and should be enjoyed on its own, for its own sake.”

That sentiment sounds right to a point; however after tasting this particular producer’s vodka I wondered if perhaps he was merely justifying the outcome of a distilling process that (for economic reasons) did not fully rectify the spirit. The heavy congeners within the spirit certainly gave it flavour; however the flavour achieved was fusel with strong  vegetal components the combination of which did not fit my paradigm of excellent vodka.

To that end, my call to all producers (new distillers and old) is that when they distill this spirit which we call vodka, the aim should be to eliminate fusel flavours and heavy congeners. That is not to say that vodka should be refined to the point of being a tasteless spirit. But the flavours that are left within should be light subtle flavours which enhance rather than dominate the vodka experience (and the cocktail experience). This may be a more expensive road to tread; but it is a road that will lead to repeat sales (and perhaps even a Rum Howler Award).

You can find out who won this years Rum Howler Awards for Vodka by following this link:

The 2017 Rum Howler Awards – The Year in Vodka

Chimo!

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Review: Our/Detroit Vodka

Posted by Arctic Wolf on November 8, 2016

our-detroit-sam_2831The concept for Our/Vodka was born in Stockholm in 2010. Founder and CEO,  Åsa Caap, who was the former Innovations Director for The Absolut Company, in collaboration with four entrepreneurs from the Swedish agency Great Works developed the idea of local partnerships in which feature a vodka partly distilled, blended and hand bottled in micro-distilleries in different cities. All of the local partners share the same secret recipe, but ingredients are sourced as locally as possible to give each particular vodka its own unique character.  According to the Our/Vodka website:

Our/Vodka was treated as a black ops project under the umbrella of Pernod Ricard before the first micro-distillery opened up in Berlin in 2013 together with two local partners. The pilot in Berlin was a success and a new brand was born.

Our/Vodka now has similar micro-distilleries up and running in Detroit, Seattle, Amsterdam, London, Los Angeles, Miami and New York (in addition to the original micro-distillery in Berlin) as of the end of 2016.

Here is my Review:

Review: Our/Detroit Vodka

“… When I was tasting Our/Detroit Vodka for the first time, I chilled the spirit in my freezer for several hours and then served the vodka cold in a small shot glass. Having been placed in my deep freeze for a few hours, Our/Detroit spirit was thickened and lightly creamy. At this cold temperature the vodka was very clean with very little aroma or taste. There was a light grainy spiciness and hints of lemon zest, but that was all …”

Please enjoy my review which includes a nice suggested cocktail, the Peppermint Gimlet.

Chimo!

 

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Review: Extra Zytnia Vodka

Posted by Arctic Wolf on October 30, 2016

extra-zytniaExtra Zytnia is a Polish rye grain Vodka produced from 100% rye grain neutral spirit. The brand is considered ‘Retro’ in Poland hearkening back to the vodka spirit as it was produced a generation ago. Zytnia is in fact one of the oldest pure vodka brands in Poland and has been produced continuously from the same recipe for over 70 years. One of the most popular brands in Poland during the 1980s, the vodka brand saw its sales slump at the turn of the century; however, a new marketing campaign which is empasizing the spirit’s roots as a traditional ‘old school’ vodka has reinvigorated the brand, and it is now making a solid comeback in its domestic market.

Zytnia Extra Vodka was recently introduced into Ontario (through the LCBO) available in the retro clear bottle shown to the left, bottled at 40 % alcohol by volume.

Here is a link to my full review:

Review: Extra Zytnia Vodka

“… Extra Zytnia was creamy and displayed a clean nose which featured a light grainy spiciness with hints of citrus zest. When I took a sip the vodka matched up well with the nose as the spirit was smooth and clean with a light spiciness …”

Please enjoy my review of this very nice rye grain vodka.

Happy Halloween!

 

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Review: Norvegia Vodka

Posted by Arctic Wolf on October 23, 2016

norveg

Norvegia is a Norwegian Vodka produced from organic potatoes (the Trondelag varietal if you are interested). The spirit is five times distilled and brought to bottling proof with water sourced from the Folgefonna Glacier which was formed about 6000 years ago. The water from this glacier was bound to ice before airborne industrial pollutants were prevalent in the atmosphere, and as such the water from this glacier is so pure that it does not require chemical purification.

This new potato spirit was recently introduced into Ontario (through the LCBO) and is available in the slender blue bottle shown to the left, bottled at 40 % alcohol by volume.

Here is a link to my review:

Review: Norvegia Vodka

“… Novegia Vodka is very clean. I could smell a light potato starch aroma, mild hints of lemon balm and wisps of white pepper when I brought the shot glass I was using to my nose. The texture was creamy, and when I took a sip the flavour matched up well with the breezes above the glass …”

Please enjoy my review of this outstanding Potato Vodka.

Chimo!

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