Black Stallion Vodka
Review: Black Stallion Vodka (84/100)
A review by Chip Dykstra (Aka Arctic Wolf)
Posted on August 02, 2011
Black Stallion Vodka is a product of Black Stallion Spirits, a Calgary, Alberta based company which has been importing Russian Vodka since 2002. This is an authentic Russian Vodka distilled at the Kratos Distillery, one of the oldest producers of liquor products in Russia. The distillery was fully reconstructed and modernized in 1997, and a new main building was constructed with modern equipment installed.
I was given a sample of the Black Stallion Vodka by Michael Mason, the Black Stallion product Rep in Edmonton, for the purposes of this review.
My First Impression 8.5/10
The Black Stallion Vodka is presented in the clear glass bottle pictured to the right. I like how the label presents the name of the Vodka in Russian rather than English allowing the vodka to revel in its Russian heritage. I am glad the bottle is topped with a blue plastic screw cap closure. I do not like metal screw caps, and a product which is often tossed into a freezer overnight should not have a metal topper which will expand and contract at a different rate than its bottle. The plastic closure is much better.
There is a lot of information on the back of the bottle; but, unfortunately for me it is all written in Russian. I would have liked this information to be translated as I like to read about the heritage of the spirit I am sampling, but I can glean from the bottle that it is a 750 ml size, and the spirit is bottled at 40 % alcohol by volume.
The First Sip (16.5/20)
I had two friends over for my initial tasting session with the Black Stallion Vodka, and we all noticed how very clean the vodka felt on our tongues and in the throat as we took our first sip. I had placed the Vodka in the freezer earlier that morning and had served the spirit at a temperature of about 1 degree Celsius. There was a very light aroma in the glass which resembled a faint touch of starch or perhaps potato flour. The Vodka also carried a few sharper grain-like elements onto the palate and a light cotton-candy sweetness. It tastes nice; but, there was just a slight hint of metallic aftertaste in the mouth after the first swallow, and the sharper grain tended to warm the mouth a little more than I liked. I’m splitting hairs a bit here as this warm feeling was not uncomfortable, and I can understand if someone else would like it more than I did.
Taking a Shot (16.5/20)
As we all took our first full swallow of the Black Stallion, I noticed the spirit imparted some real warmth to my palate and the back of my throat. The vodka was carrying some hotter rye-like spices from the grain distillate forward. I thought the spirit was moderately smooth, although I did notice a light burn in my throat which seemed to grow after I swallowed. My friend Dennis who was tasting with me thought this burn was mildly uncomfortable, but my other tasting friend Lucasz, thought that this was how an authentic Russian Vodka should feel after a nice shot went down the throat.
I indulged in the Black Stallion a few more times after my initial tasting. At warmer serving temperatures the Vodka displays some metallic aftertaste and the sharp graininess increases.
Out for Dinner (16.5/20)
The Black Stallion carried some sweetness into the food which I served, and this was particularly noticeable with the fresh buns. Dennis commented that the bread tasted a bit sweeter and a bit more ‘yeasty’, and I noticed that the pickles and cheese were disappearing quite fast while we were sampling the Vodka. I think this would be an excellent Vodka to serve with potato dishes or maybe a nice borscht as that sweetness which carries into the food as you nibble and sample would work really well with those dishes.
When my friends and I were sampling the Black Stallion, we were also sampling three other Vodkas and as part of the regimen we made a cosmopolitan with each spirit. The Cosmo made with the Black Stallion was noticeably sweeter than the others. This sweetness on the part of the Vodka has been a recurring theme in the review. Because of this touch of sweetness the Vodka will have the ability to enhance many cocktails, particularly those which use tart ingredients. To that end, I decided to build a Vodka Darby, as the feature cocktail for this review. It tastes just grand with the Black Stallion. (See Recipe Below)
Final Score: 84/100
(Recommended for shots and mixing cocktails)
The Black Stallion is a nice, solid Vodka which appeals on all fronts. It has no obvious flaws and I am certainly happy I was given the opportunity to taste and sample a bottle with my friends!
If you are interested in comparing more scores, here is a link to my other published Vodka Reviews.
Vodka Darby Cocktail
This cocktail usually uses Gin as its base, but if the soda is not overdone, it is also a nice Vodka Cocktail!
1 1/2 oz Black Stallion Vodka
1/2 oz Fresh Squeezed Grapefruit Juice
1/2 oz Fresh Squeezed Lime Juice
1 tsp Sugar Syrup
Pour the first four ingredients into a metal shaker with ice
Shake until the sides of the shaker are frosted
Strain into a suitable glass
Add a splash of soda
Please remember to enjoy my cocktail suggestions responsibly!
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)