Review: Iceberg Vodka 82.5/100
A review by Chip Dykstra (Aka Arctic Wolf)
Published July 18, 2015
Iceberg Vodka is produced by the Canadian Iceberg Vodka Corp. (CIVC), which is headquartered St. John’s, Newfoundland. The spirit is produced by blending alcohol distilled from Ontario sweet-corn with water harvested from icebergs off the coast of Newfoundland with the aim of creating a premium vodka which is completely devoid of man-made pollutants. The arctic icebergs which float into what is called ‘iceberg alley’ just off the coat of Newfoundland are formed from glaciers which are over 10,000 years old. The CIVC chose these icebergs as their water source as they contain ice which was formed before the artificial pollutants which have been created since the Industrial Revolution had become ubiquitous in the earth’s atmosphere and ecosystems.
When I opened my bottle of Iceberg Vodka for the first time, I was also sampling with three other vodka spirits, Polar Ice, Opulent and Skyy Vodka. I created a set of tasting notes for each spirit, and from those notes, and from a second set of tasting notes which I prepared in my private tasting room when I tasted each spirit in isolation from the others, I prepared my reviews.
Iceberg Vodka is bottled at 40 % alcohol by volume.
In the Bottle 8/10
To the left is a bottle shot of Iceberg Vodka which is housed in both glass and in what is called plastic PET bottles (my sample arrived in a PET bottle). I admit that I am not sold on the concept of alcohol sold in a plastic bottle, as I wonder if some of the plastic makes its way into the spirit. I have tried to do a little research on this topic, but finding credible information has proved elusive. (I did learn that plastic bottles containing BPA have been banned in many jurisdictions as that particular chemical has been found to leech into the contents. However, I could find no evidence that a similar process occurs with plastic PET bottles.)
Plastic is troublesome for me in other ways as well, as I often see these bottles being advertised as “environmentally friendly”. The truth is that plastic does not decompose; it remains pretty much as it is for thousands of years. Other than the extremely small amount of plastic that has been incinerated, all of the plastic ever produced on earth is still in the environment. I find this fact hard to reconcile with the notion of plastic being ‘environmentally friendly’. Having said that, it is also true that glass does not decompose and very little of the glass produced in the world has ever been recycled either. Glass however, is pretty much an inert substance which does not react chemically with the environment, the jury is still out on whether PET is chemically inert or not. (Having went on my rant, I did not deduct any points based upon PET versus glass.)
What did cause me to deduct from the score was the metallic I screw caps on bottles. I hate metallic screw caps. They warp easily and often do not provide a solid seal after they have been opened.
The First Sip 15/20
When I sampled the Iceberg Vodka I poured a healthy shot (which had been chilled to about 2 degrees Celsius) into my double shot glass. I brought the glass to my nose and took a sniff. I discovered the Iceberg Vodka was very clean on the nose showing just a few hints of citrus and grain apparent when it is cold. When I took to sip, I allowed a little vodka to sit on my tongue before swallowing. I noticed a nice corn-like sweetness came though in front of the grainy spice and the combination of both was quite nice. There unfortunately was also a light burn which did not disappear from the palate or throat quickly, rather it lingered heating the palate more with each sip. At warmer temperatures the light burn soon becomes uncomfortable, and I begin to notice a mildly bitter metallic aftertaste.
Taking A Shot 16/20
At the cold serving temperature the vodka shot is pleasant. There is just a touch of creeping burn, and a few vague vegetal flavours in the aftertaste, but I am just being rather picky and have experienced much worse with some more expensive vodkas. The aftertaste, which I noted in the initial first sip, was more pronounced when taking a shot. Again it is slightly bitter and slightly metallic. Fortunately it does not linger. When the Vodka is allowed to warm up a little more, the aftertaste and the burn increase. We do also begin to notice much more ‘grainy sweetness’ at the warm temperature which helps to offset the light metallic bitterness.
Out For Dinner 16.5/20
I made a nice plate of fresh-baked buns, with cheddar cheese, ham slices, pepperoni and garlic sausage, as well as a bowl of my famous pepper pot soup. The Iceberg Vodka seemed to take a ‘middle of the road’ approach with all of the pairings. None of the foods were detrimentally affected, but it would be disingenuous to say the Iceberg Vodka improved the taste experiences either. Perhaps the light metallic aftertaste of the Iceberg Vodka carried through to the fresh-baked bread, then again perhaps the spicy pepperoni sausage tasted just a little spicier with just a little more pop.
Cocktail Hour 27/30
I decided that since I was tasting 3 other spirits as well, I would make the same cocktail with each of them so that I could compare each spirit on an even playing field. I chose to build Vodka Daiquiris as they have become my standard bar drink for comparing Vodka.
Of the four Daiquiris I created with the four different vodkas, the cocktail I made with Iceberg Vodka was the nicest! On my tasting notes I wrote the following:
Yumm! Nice and Tart with the Lime on full display!
It’s hard to give a better endorsement than that. I decided that perhaps we could go to a more refined cocktail and mixed a Reverse Vesper. It was quite nice as well:
Reverse Vesper (with orange peel and cucumber)
2 oz Iceberg Vodka
2/3 oz London Dry Gin
1/3 oz Vermouth
thin slice of cucumber
Add the vodka, gin and vermouth into a metal shaker with ice
Shake until the sides of the shaker are frosted
Double Strain into a chilled martini glass
Add a thin slice of cucumber and the orange peel
Of course, you should enjoy responsibly!
If you are interested in more cocktail recipes, please click this link (Cocktails and Recipes) for more mixed drink recipes!
Final Score 82.5/100
( Excellent for Mixing Cocktails!)
If you are interested in comparing more scores, here is a link to my other published Vodka Reviews.
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)