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Grays Peak Vodka

Review: Grays Peak Vodka  (86.5/100)
a review by Chip Dykstra (Aka Arctic Wolf)
Posted on March 20, 2017

Grays Peak Vodka is an American spirit produced in Minnesota apparently for the Prestige Wine Group. According to their website information, the spirit is distilled five times from corn using water that undergoes a proprietary reverse osmosis process to any trace minerals and trace elements. The resulting spirit is then filtered through charcoal for added smoothness and bottled at 40 % alcohol by volume. Grays Peak is part of the Preferred Selection at the Western Canadian Liquor Depot chain of stores.

As part of the review process, I sampled the spirit on my own side by side with three rival vodkas (Antrim, Lowry Park, and Ketel One) 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. The following week held a Vodka tasting for a few friends  where in a blind format I allowed them to repeat what I had already done. Based upon these two tasting sessions, and based upon comments from my friends I constructed my review for each spirit.

grays-peakFirst Impression 8.5/10

Gray’s peak arrives in the tall cylindrical bottle shown to the left. The presentation highlights the craft style of the spirit emphasizing that it is distilled five times and that this is produced from a batch style. (My sample bottle is from batch 45.)

I like the overall look of the presentation which seems to have a touch of masculine class rather than feminine charm. I also appreciate the synthetic cork topper which seems to be implying that this vodka is perhaps a little higher up the scale than its price would indicate.

The First Sip 17/20

When I tasted Grays Peak for the first time I had chilled all the bottles I was tasting to about 1 degree Celsius by placing them on my back deck on a cold Sunday afternoon. At the chilled temperature, the spirit was thickened and somewhat creamy. When I brought my shot glass to my nose, I noticed very little in the breezes at first. However as the spirit warmed I began to sense a light hint of vanilla beside some grain spice with perhaps a touch of mint (or menthol) in the breezes as well.

The first sip brought the sensations I had noticed in the breezes above my shot glass more into focus. A touch of vanilla pudding, a light spiciness and some cooling menthol in the aftertaste. As the spirit warms, a very light metallic aftertaste was noticed by some of my guests, but we all felt that Grays Peak performed well as a sipping spirit.

Taking a Shot  17/20

Taking a full swallow, I note that the spirit is clean and smooth with very little burn even as the spirit warmed. After the swallow I noticed a nice menthol cooling of the palate and back of the throat alongside a gentle spiciness. There was a bit of vanilla and impressions of something sweet and sour in the aftertaste. Again a few of my friends noticed a hint of metallic aftertaste.

The next day I took a full shot with the spirit served at room temperature and found that there was some break down. I now noticed that same metallic aftertaste that a few of my guests at the tasting had and the spirit warmed the throat just a bit. To be honest, I was impressed as I expecting more breakdown than the spirit displayed.

Out for Dinner 17.5/20

At my group tasting, my friends and I had a platter of Mundare kielbasa sausage, Cheddar and Edam cheeses, ham and pepperoni pizza, pita bread with hummus and tzatziki and my increasingly popular pepper-pot soup. The purpose of part of the tasting is to try to figure out if the Vodka we are sipping between bites of food improves our enjoyment of the food and if the food improves the Vodka experience. Generally speaking a clean vodka which carries no metallic or bitter aftertaste will go well with most of the foods we try. All of this is subjective, and I have found group of friends helping me is the best way to approach this part of the review.

In the case of Grays Peak my tasting group found that it acts as a great palate cleanser. That light spice on the palate and the cooling menthol-like sensation after each sip makes the mouth very receptive to the gastronomic experience. The sausage and pizza popped in our mouths, the pita bread tasted fresh and the cheeses seemed rich a full of flavour. The spicy pepper-pot soup was particularly tasty.

I have no qualms about recommending Grays Peak as a great vodka to serve with a wide variety of food.

Cocktail Hour 26.5/30

I served all of the spirits in similar cocktails during my tasting sessions. When I sampled the spirits on my own, I made Gimlets, and when I sampled the spirits with my friends, I made Cosmopolitans. Grays Peak Vodka (like most corn vodkas) added a light sweetness to each cocktail with the tartness of the fruit and the light sweetness both firmly on display. Afterwards (a few days later) I made myself a martini as well. Again I was quite happy with the result.

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Final Score 86.5/100

(An excellent vodka for Sipping, Shots and for Short Cocktails)

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

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Suggested Recipes

vodka-darby-sam_3017Vodka Darby

2 1/2 oz  Gray’s Peak Vodka
3/4 oz fresh Grapefruit Juice
1/2 oz fresh Lime Juice
1/4 oz Sugar Syrup (1:1 ratio)
ice
Citrus Peel for garnish

Add the five ingredients with ice into a metal shaker
Shake vigorously until the outside of the shaker frosts
Strain into a cocktail glass
Garnish with citrus peel!

Note: 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 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)

 

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