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Provincial Spiced Vodka

Review: Provincial Spiced Vodka   (78.5/100)
a review by Chip Dykstra (Aka Arctic Wolf)
Posted on April 02, 2017

Radouga 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 I sampled the distillery’s 7-time distilled Provincial Vodka (review to follow). After the show D’arcy arranged for me to receive a few samples of their line-up of Paul’s Pies Liqueurs (Paul Riben is the Owner/CEO of the distillery), as well as the Provincial Spiced and Provincial Vodkas.

Paul Riben distills all of Radouga Distilleries products using grain that Paul grows himself. The operation is a true field to glass operation. I 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 Spiced Vodka.

0_sv-new-bottle_pIn the Bottle 4/5

Provincial Spiced Vodka arrives in the 750 ml jug-like bottle shown to the left. The spirit has an old-fashioned look complete with the charm of small ring on the neck of the bottle. The front label (unfortunately) is rather bland giving us no indication whether the spirit inside is worthy of our attention. The back label helps us out a bit by telling about the ingredients used in the production of the spirit. Of note are: Natural Dark Rum, Oakwoods Flavours, Rum Flavour, and Caramel Colour.

Based upon the information on the back label of the bottle, it would appear that the Provincial Spiced Vodka has been flavoured to give the spirit a spiced-rum quality, while maintaining its character as a vodka.

It is bottled at 40 % alcohol by volume.

In the Glass 8/10

Provincial Spiced Vodka has a light golden colour in the glass with perhaps just a touch of haze. When I tilt and twirl my glencairn the spirit leaves a light film on the inside of the glass the crest of which drops smallish droplets which amble back to the bottom rather quickly.

Although that ingredients list on the back of the bottle also indicated sugar had been added, I do not notice any apparent thickening of the spirit or any undo stickiness. This is a good sign.

When I take a few cautious sniffs, the initial breezes above the glass bring me a mixture of mildly burnt caramel and raw wood spices. Perhaps a light dusting of vanilla is apparent but there is little else in the way of aroma descriptors. Although oakwood flavours have apparently been added to give the spirit its spiciness, there does not appear to be any sign of actual oak aging in the breezes above the glass.

In the Mouth 47.5/60

I took a small sip of the Spiced Vodka and quickly decided that the light bodied spirit carries a little more bite across the palate than I would prefer.It is my suspicion that the wood spices (oakwoods flavours) I taste are either from wood chips or from small strips of oak. A mildly bitter woody flavour is extracted from the oak through steeping; but the sweeter caramelized flavours which would be extracted through aging are absent.

It is time to mix a few cocktails and bar drinks.

To that end I added a little cola to my glass. The result surprised me as the sweet cola flavour seemed to mesh quite well with the lightly bitter wood spices. There is a mild rum-like quality within the spirit, and while this serving is not a true rum and cola drink, the spiced vodka seems to have an affinity for the rum and cola style. I decided to try something a little more elegant and mixed a cocktail in the style of Tony Abou’s Cable Car.

My new cocktail tasted quite nice, and I have shared the recipe below.

In the Throat 11/15

The finish is short and bittersweet (more bitter than sweet). A touch more sweetness to balance the dry bitter flavours of oak spice would be welcome, and a touch less astringency would help as well. As indicated my willingness to sip the spirit is limited. Fortunately in the cocktail and bar drink I constructed, the finish is much nicer.

The Afterburn 8/10

Provincial Spiced Vodka appears to be an attempt by Radouga Distillers to bring a little bit of a spiced rum profile into the Flavoured Vodka Category. The spirit created definitely works as a mixer; and a few of my vodka loving friends really went crazy for the cocktails I made for them at a recent tasting.

My score of 78.5/100 reflects a spirit which is mixer. It works well with cola (and with ginger ale) and, as my cocktail below demonstrates, it can be served in short cocktails as well.

If you are interested in comparing more scores, here is a link to my other published Flavoured Vodka Reviews.

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Suggested Recipe

recliner-sam_2933Here is a tasty recipe which mixes Provincial Spiced Vodka with lemon and lime juice in the style of Tony Abou.

The Recliner

1 3/4 oz Provincial Spiced Vodka
3/4 oz Lemon Juice
3/4 oz Lime Juice
1/2 oz Bols Triple Sec
1/2 oz Sugar syrup (1:1 ratio)
1 dash Angostura Bitters
ice
Twist of Lemon Peel

Place the six ingredients into a metal shaker with ice
Shake until the outside of the shaker begins to frost
Strain into a cocktail glass
Garnish with a twist of lemon peel

If you are interested in more of my cocktail recipes, please click this link (Cocktails and Recipes) for more of my mixed drink recipes!

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You may (loosely) interpret the 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 rum or whisky.  Accept this but make sure it is mixed into a cocktail.
75-79    You may begin to serve this to friends, again probably still cocktail territory.
80-84    We begin to enjoy this spirit neat or on the rocks. (I will still primarily mix cocktails)
85-89    Excellent for sipping or for mixing!
90-94    Definitely a primary sipping spirit, in fact 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 – 79.5    Bronze Medal (Recommended only as a mixer)
80 – 89.5     Silver Medal (Recommended for sipping and or a high quality mixer)
90 – 95         Gold Medal (Highly recommended for sipping and for sublime cocktails.)
95.5+            Platinum Award (Highest Recommendation)

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