Review: Our/Detroit Vodka (78/100)
a review by Chip Dykstra (AKA Arctic Wolf)
Published November 08, 2016
The concept for Our/Vodka was born in Stockholm in 2010. Founder and CEO, Åsa Caap, who was the former Innovations Director for The Absolut Company, in collaboration with four entrepreneurs from the Swedish agency Great Works developed the idea of local partnerships in which feature a vodka partly distilled, blended and hand bottled in micro-distilleries in different cities. All of the local partners share the same secret recipe, but ingredients are sourced as locally as possible to give each particular vodka its own unique character. According to the Our/Vodka website:
Our/Vodka was treated as a black ops project under the umbrella of Pernod Ricard before the first micro-distillery opened up in Berlin in 2013 together with two local partners. The pilot in Berlin was a success and a new brand was born.
Our/Vodka now has similar micro-distilleries up and running in Detroit, Seattle, Amsterdam, London, Los Angeles, Miami and New York (in addition to the original micro-distillery in Berlin) as of the end of 2016.
The First Impression 9/10
Our/Detroit Vodka arrives in the stubby clear beer bottle shown to the left. It is sealed with a regular bottle cap that required a bottle opener which was a little inconvenient as bottle openers are pretty much a thing of the past now. Once opened the bottle re-seals with a little plastic cap (which surprisingly works very well).
I wish the neck were slightly longer to make pouring a little easier, but to be fair the ‘cool’ factor of the kitschy beer bottle and craft label outweigh the negatives in a strong way. The bottle and label certainly catch the eye a create conversation with your guests.
Our/Detroit is bottled at 40 % alcohol by volume.
The First Sip 14.5/20
When I was tasting Our/Detroit Vodka for the first time, I chilled the spirit in my freezer for several hours and then served the vodka cold in a small shot glass. Having been placed in my deep freeze for a few hours, Our/Detroit spirit was thickened and lightly creamy. At this cold temperature the vodka was very clean with very little aroma or taste. There was a light grainy spiciness and hints of lemon zest, but that was all.
However, both the aroma and the taste changed dramatically as the spirit’s temperature increased. The hint of lemon zest grew stronger and a pronounced vegetal quality quickly came into focus. This vegetal flavour manifested itself as a weird sort of combination of soft banana and mushy zucchini flavour. Because this vegetal flavour crept in so quickly, and because it was not exactly pleasant, I would have to say that sipping this spirit would not be recommended unless it was kept very cold.
Taking a Shot 14.5/20
I took a full swallow of the spirit right after it was taken from my freezer and at this point it was pleasant. However, when I took a second shot at the end of my tasting session, (when the spirit had warmed up about half way to room temperature) the spirit was now lightly bitter with that same firm vegetal flavour lingering in the aftertaste. There was also more than a light burn associated with the spirit. Because the small 375 millilitre bottle warms so quickly, partaking in the ritual of shots with Our/Detroit is a risky affair. The first shot will be pleasant, but as the spirit warms all bets are off.
Out for Dinner 14/20
After my first tasting, I decided to see how well the spirit paired with various foods. I tried my lightly salty, lightly spicy hamburger ball soup, some cheddar and Gouda cheese, some small slices of pepperoni pizza and sour dough bread chunks. I unfortunately was very disappointed. A good vodka will cleanse the palate between bites allowing you to taste the food more thoroughly; however Our/Detroit Vodka seems instead to leave an undesirable aftertaste in the mouth which affects bread in particular in detrimental way. A small swallow of the vodka between bites of food seemed to make the bread taste more bitter. It did not enhance the other food selections either.
The Vodka finds redemption when I mix cocktails. I made a nice Vesper Martini which was quite enjoyable, and then a very nice Lime Gimlet accented with peppermint (see recipe below). I think that the reason the spirit worked so well in the cocktails is because the mixed drinks are served ice-cold. I noted in my tasting sessions, that as long as the spirit is well chilled, it is quite pleasant.
Final Score 78/100
Best reserved for cocktails!
If you are interested in comparing more scores, here is a link to my other published Vodka Reviews.
The Peppermint Gimlet
2 oz Our/Detroit Vodka
1 oz fresh Lime Juice
1/2 oz Sugar Syrup (1:1 ratio)
Muddle a few Peppermint Leaves with sugar syrup and strain into a metal shaker
Add Vodka, Lime Juice and Ice
Shake vigorously until the outside of the shaker frosts.
Strain into a nice cocktail glass
Garnish with a sprig of Peppermint
And of course…enjoy!
If you are interested in more of my cocktail recipes, please click this link (Cocktails and Recipes) for more of my mixed drink recipes!
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)