Alchemia Czysta (Pure) Vodka
Review Alchemia Czysta (Pure) Vodka (75/100)
a review by Chip Dykstra (Aka Arctic Wolf)
Posted on July 14, 2011
Alchemia Vodka is distilled in Poland by a company called, Bialystok S.A., which is apparently one of Poland’s largest producer’s of distilled spirits. The Alchemia Czysta (pronounced chis ta and meaning ‘pure’) is a rye grain Vodka, and I was given a sample bottle for the purpose of this review by Paul Charabin of PB Beverages, an Alberta based company which imports and distributes a wide selection of spirits from around the world. The bottle I was given was the 750 ml size, and the label tells me the Czysta Vodka is bottled at 40 % alcohol by volume.
I will be using my vodka review methodology which I developed based upon my understanding of traditional Vodka tastings. This methodology hopefully respects the traditional Slavic roots of the spirit we call Vodka.
The First Impression (9/10 pts)
According to the company website, the Alchemia bottle has been designed to resemble an old style alembic which is a laboratory tool used in by ancient alchemists. My own thought on the bottle was that the company was trying to make a stylized letter A, and the connection to an alembic was totally lost on me. The tall masculine bottle makes an impressive display on my bar shelf; although I have a quibble with the ‘tallness’ of the bottle as I had to move my bar shelves around to allow it to fit. I was also not happy to discover a metal screw cap under the stylized plastic topper. My disdain for metal screw caps has been well recounted in other reviews.
But….the bottle does look darn nice on my readjusted shelves!
The First Sip (14.5/20 pts)
I had two friends over when I began to taste the Alchemia for the first time. My bottle had been in the freezer for several hours ahead of time, and when I checked the temperature the Vodka was barely above zero degrees Celsius. We used over-sized (2 oz) shot glasses for the initial pour, and as I watched the vodka pour into the glass I noticed that the texture of the spirit was not as creamy as most vodkas my friends and I had examined to this point. When I brought the glass to my nose I received rye-like spices in the air but no lighter citrus. I let my nose take a few more sniffs. My impression is that this is what I would call ‘grainy’. It seems to carry the sharper more penetrating aroma of Vodka but not the lighter more delicate notes. I would have to describe this as leaning more towards sharp than gentle.
As the Vodka covered my tongue the spicy rye-like notes I noticed in the air around the glass quickly heated up my mouth. Again this is more sharp than gentle, and there was more than just a hint of metallic taste to the Vodka. My friends and I discussed what we were tasting, and we all felt that this particular Vodka is not suited for sipping.
Taking a Shot (14/20 pts)
When my friends and I swallowed the remaining shot of Alchemia Czysta, I cannot honestly say that any of us were all that enthusiastic with what we had just done. The Vodka does not go down smoothly, and it imparts more than a little burn to the throat.
I tested this Vodka several other times and on several different days. Each time I felt it heated the back of the throat a more than it should, and it has more burn going down than what is comfortable. As the Vodka settles in the throat the burn increases. A medicinal aftertaste is apparent, and the vodka is slightly bitter and metallic. These unwanted characteristics have a tendency to linger on the palate.
Out for Dinner (12.5/20 pts)
We tried sampling the Alchemia Czysta with a variety of cheeses, pickles, bread, and sausage. Unfortunately the aftertaste which the Vodka had left in our mouths detracted from our enjoyment of the food. Everything we ate seemed to pick up those metallic flavours that the Vodka carried. I do not recommend the Alchemia Vodka as a complement to food.
Cocktails (25/30 pts)
I decided to start with a simple cocktail to see if my friends and I would like this spirit as a mixer. I made a Pink Pussy Cat going a little heavier on the grapefruit juice than I normally would. The result was a solid cocktail that carried none of the medicinal or metallic qualities which were found in the rest of the review. So I mixed the same drink this time cutting the grapefruit to normal proportions and again the drink was solid. In my tasting room several days later, I tried a Cosmopolitan. I found it rather amazing that none of the less desirable elements which were easily identified earlier in the review seemed to affect the Alchemia Vodka as a Mixer.
And I guess that is exactly what my final verdict is, the Alchemia Czysta Vodka is a nice mixing vodka, but it does not meet any of my criteria for drinking neat either by itself or with food.
Final Score: 75/100 (Cocktails Only)
If you are interested in comparing more scores, here is a link to my other published Vodka Reviews.
Here is one of my favourite cocktails of all time and it is a great recipe for any mixing Vodka.
Sloe Comfortable Screw
3/4 oz Alchemia Vodka
3/4 oz Southern Comfort
3/4 oz Sloe Gin
3 oz Orange Juice
Garnish with an orange slice
Add the three spirits over ice
complete with orange juice
Garnish if desired
And of course enjoy this one nice and slow!
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 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)