POLIAKOV Lemon Flavoured Vodka
Review: POLIAKOV Lemon Flavoured Vodka 86/100
a review by Chip Dykstra (AKA Arctic Wolf)
Published Mar 28, 2015
In late November, I received an email from the Export Marketing Assistant for the independent French spirits group, La Martiniquaise. He was writing to me from Farnace to see if I would be interested in sampling some of the revamped new flavoured range of POLIAKOV Vodka. As it was explained to me in his email, Poliakov is attempting to bypass the prevailing “flavour fatigue” which they feel reigns within the flavoured vodka category, and rather than conjuring up new exotic flavours which are probably unfamiliar to their customers, the revamped Poliakov range focuses on ‘within-reach flavours’ which are familiar to their customers.
For those unfamiliar with the brand, POLIAKOV is an international Millionaire brand with sales in over 50 countries. It is today one of the Top 20 international Vodka brands. The owner of the brand, La Martiniquaise is an independent French group founded in 1934. They are currently the second-largest spirits group in France, and owners of 4 other Millionaire brands, LABEL 5 and SIR EDWARD’S (Scotch Whisky), POLIAKOV (Vodka) and NEGRITA (Rum).
I agreed to taste some of the POLIAKOV flavoured range, and William arranged for me to receive three flavours, POLIAKOV Vanilla, Peach and Lemon Flavoured Vodkas.
This is the review for the second sample, POLIAKOV Peach Flavoured Vodka.
In the Bottle 4/5
To the left is a bottle shot of the POLIAKOV Lemon Flavoured Vodka. As you can see the spirit arrives in a medium tall glass bottle with a silver coloured metallic screw cap. Those who read my reviews regularly know that I dislike these pressed on metallic closures, as they are prone to warping and often lose their thread if you try to close the bottle too tightly.
The front label is quite satisfactory as both the yellow colour of the label and the nice graphic of the lemon help the bartender instantly recognize the flavour within. I was hoping for more information on the back label to tell me whether or not the flavour within the bottle is sweetened and whether or not the flavour is 100 % natural. However, I am left to guess on both these fronts.
Note: The label does tell me that POLIAKOV Lemon Flavoured Vodka is produced from a triple distilled spirit and that it is bottled at 37.5% alcohol by volume.
In the Glass 8.5/10
In the glass, the spirit is clear with very little if any hint of colour. When I tilted the glass and gave it a slow twirl, there was an initial display of quick falling droplets running down from the crest of spirit at the top of the glass. The consistency of the spirit in the glass gives very little indication of a syrup-like thickness, and is my inclination to believe that whatever sugar or sweetener may have been added to the lemon flavour must have been used very judiciously.
As with the other POLIAKOV flavours I have reviewed, (the Vanilla and Peach Flavoured Vodkas), the initial aroma from the glass seems to represent a relatively clean aroma of the highlighted flavour rising into the breezes with a light hint of sugar cane and perhaps a few hints of grain spice. The aroma is akin to the smell of lemon drop candies, but less intense and certainly less sweet. The spirit promises to be a pleasant treat.
In the Mouth 52/60
When I served the Lemon Flavoured Vodka to my Rum Chums at a winter gathering a few weeks past, the general reaction to the POLIAKOV lemon spirit was extremely positive. I think they were each expecting a rather sweet lemon flavour which would become cloying almost immediately. This spirit is certainly different from expectation. The lemon flavour is firm but mild, and it carries only a very light sweetness which accents the lemon flavour very well, but does not become cloying at all. In fact we were all able to sip the spirit neat without ice and we enjoyed doing so.
I did a bit of experimenting with respect to cocktails and was pleased with the easy manner in which the spirit played with other ingredients (see recipes below).
In the Throat 13/15
The finish, as one would expect, is rather short (this is a vodka spirit after all) with the lightly sweet lemon flavour dominating the exit. There is perhaps just a touch of heat and spice which builds over time; but at no time does this heat become uncomfortable. In fact I would go so far as to call the exit crisp and refreshing.
The Afterburn 8.5/10
I think that the POLIAKOV Flavours are real winners. These spirits embrace the flavour they are representing, and the mild light sweetness within their make-up is a refreshing change from the cloyingly sweet nature of many other flavoured spirits.
My score of 86/100 indicates that this flavoured vodka can be a nice sipping spirit, although for me it will more often find its way into a delicious cocktail.
You may read some of my other Liqueur and Favoured Spirit Reviews (click the link) if you wish to have some comparative reviews.
Here is a recipe suggested by the brand owner which mixes POLIAKOV Lemon with apple juice and basil:
1 1/2 oz POLIAKOV Lemon
3 oz Apple Juice
Add ice to a tumbler or rocks glass
Pour POLIAKOV Lemon Flavoured Vodka over the ice
add fresh Basil leaves
Complete with Apple Juice
Stir and Enjoy
Here is another recipe which I developed using just a dollop of lime to give the POLIAKOV Lemon a hint of tartness to go with that hint of sweetness.
Easy Lemon Martini
2 1/2 oz POLIAKOV Lemon
1/4 oz Triple Sec
1/4 oz Lime Juice
Add the three ingredients into a Metal Shaker with Ice
Shake until the outside of the shaker frosts
Strain into a cocktail glass
Garnish with a slice of lemon or lime if desired
Note: If you are interested in more of my original cocktail recipes, please click this link (Cocktails and Recipes) for more of my mixed drink recipes!
My Final Score is out of 100 and you may (loosely) interpret that 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 spirit. Accept this but make sure it is mixed into a cocktail.
75-79 You may begin to serve this to friends, again probably still cocktail territory.
80-84 We begin to enjoy this spirit neat or on the rocks. (I will still primarily mix cocktails)
85-89 Excellent for sipping or for mixing!
90-94 Definitely a primary sipping spirit, in fact 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 – 79.5 Bronze Medal (Recommended only as a mixer)
80 – 89.5 Silver Medal (Recommended for sipping and or a high quality mixer)
90 – 95 Gold Medal (Highly recommended for sipping and for sublime cocktails.)
95.5+ Platinum Award (Highest Recommendation)