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Polar Ice Vodka

Review: Polar Ice Vodka   72/100
a review by Chip Dykstra(AKA Arctic Wolf)
Published July 27, 2015

Polar Ice is an economy vodka sold in Canada by Corby Distilleries Limited. The brand is extremely popular in Canada, and in fact, according to the information on the Corby Brands website, it is the number one Canadian vodka. Corby’s branded products are notoriously hard to research as the websites created for each brand do not got into very much depth regarding each brand’s production. All I could find was a statement on the aforementioned website which stated that Polar Ice is crafted from the purest water and grains, and that it is quadruple distilled to create an exceptionally smooth taste.

When I sampled Polar Ice Vodka for the first time, I was also sampling with three other vodka spirits, Opulent, Iceberg 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 sampled Polar Ice in isolation from the other spirits afterwards, I prepared this review.

Polar Ice is bottled at 40 % alcohol by volume.

Polar IceThe First Impression 7.5/10

The Polar Ice Vodka is sold in a no-frills manner with a relatively simple label and bottle design shown to the left. My sample bottle is actually a 200 ml flask bottle made of PET plastic, and I believe the regular 750 ml presentation is sold in plastic PET as well. The popularity of this vodka is definitely based upon price and not presentation. (Corby’s extensive distribution network is of course an equally large reason for the Vodka’s success in the Canadian marketplace.) I am very ambivalent towards the bottle presentation, the graphics are decent (though not inspiring), however, I am disappointed by the lack of information regarding the vodka and its production. I wonder to myself if the lack of information implies that the producer does not have a consistent recipe.

The First Sip 13/20

When I sampled the Polar Ice Vodka I poured a healthy shot (which had been chilled to about 2 degrees Celsius) into my double shot glass. I discovered that the breezes brought forward by the spirit revealed a few hints of lemon citrus and some spicy grain, however there was also a light vegetal presence as well. When I took to sip, I allowed a little vodka to sit on my tongue before swallowing. I noticed a lightly bitter taste of citrus pith on my tongue which was coupled with penetrating spiciness. A corn-like sweetness followed, unfortunately the spirit also contained a vegetal flavour component which did not please me. The aftertaste was oddly metallic, and I saw no point in sipping the spirit at a warmer temperature when my experience was this uninspiring with the chilled spirit.

Taking a shot 13.5/20

Things were slightly better when I threw down a shot, however, this was probably more a result of the flavours not lingering as they did when I sipped, rather than of any inherent quality the Polar Ice had as a shooting Vodka. Even at a cold serving temperature we feel a moderate burn. I did allow the spirit to warm up to room temperature and tried another shot. At room temperature the burn from the Polar Ice was nasty.

Out for Dinner 14/20

Fortunately the flavour of the vodka did not impact the flavour of the food pairings I was testing. (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.) However the detrimental flavours and the moderate burn of the vodka itself deterred from any real enjoyment.

Cocktails 24/30

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 when comparing different Vodkas.

The cocktail made with the Polar Ice was on the sweet side of the fence rather than upon the tart. Fortunately it was only lightly sweet and the bar drink was moderately pleasant. On an impulse I added the ice from my shaker back into the cocktail, and I decided I liked that even better. The ice and the lime quelled the strange flavours the vodka had brought forward when it was tasted it in isolation.

Iced Vodka Daiquiri SAM_1615Iced Vodka Daiquiri

2 oz  Polar Ice Vodka
1 oz  Fresh Lime Juice
1/2 oz Sugar Syrup
Ice
Lime Slice

Add the three ingredients into a metal shaker with ice
Shake vigorously until the outside of the shaker frosts.
Strain into a nice cocktail glass
Add the ice from the shaker with a slice of lime

Garnish (if desired) with a slice of lime
And of course…enjoy!

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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Final Score 72/100

( Strictly a Cocktail Mixer)

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

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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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