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Review: Strait Vodka 40

Review: Strait Vodka 40     (80.5/100)
a review by Chip Dykstra (Aka Arctic Wolf)
Posted on September 9, 2018

Brass Boiler and Column Still

The Myriad Distillery is proud to be PEI’s first and only producer of a full range of artisan distilled spirits namely Strait Shine®, Lightning, Vodka, Gin, Whisky, Brandy and Pastis. Recently I had a chance to speak with Ken Mill (one of the Distillery’s Principles) over the phone about his operation and products. I learned that Myriad was one of the very first (if not the first) full production Micro-distilleries not only in Prince Edward Island, but in the entire Country. The distillery did in fact pave the way for the other small distilleries to follow.

I also learned that the folks at Myriad Distillery produce all of their products is a small batch style making only those spirits which they have an immediate local market for, and which passes the palate test of the principles. In producing their craft Strait Vodka the distillery begins with a pure Canadian grain alcohol. This neutral spirit is distilled twice more to (according to the distillery):

Ensure a smooth and neutral flavour with hints of natural sweetness that show its Canadian grain origins.

Earlier this summer, I organized a small Vodka tasting for a few friends. We tasted Strait Vodka 40 alongside Russian Standard Vodka, and Banff Ice comparing each for sipping, for shooting, as a palette cleanser, and in cocktails. This review has been written based upon the tasting notes I constructed during the Vodka Tasting as well as from the comments of my friends, and from my impression during a subsequent tasting I did by myself with the spirit in isolation.

Here is the results for Strait Vodka 40.

The First Impression 8/10

Strait Vodka 40 arrives in the tall, oval bottle shown to the left. I really like the long-necked bottle which seems to be a step up from the standard cylindrical bottle  I usually see vodka sold in. I also like the synthetic cork which seals the bottle and serves to elevate the presentation. Unfortunately things a little disappointing with respect to the label. It is perhaps too simplistic or maybe I should say ordinary. Strait Vodka is a craft spirit from perhaps the very first micro-distillery in Canada. I wish this were highlighted in some way.

The First Sip  14.5/20

Prior to my tasting, I chilled the three spirits in my freezer for several hours. When I served the spirit I checked the temperature and (according to my thermometer) the spirit had chilled down to about one degree Celsius. When I poured small samples for my friends we all noted that of the three spirits we were analyzing, the Strait Vodka demonstrated more aroma than the Banff Ice and Russian Standard. There was a vague medicinal note accompanied by grainy spice and some fruity lemon-like scents. This was of course when the spirit was chilled. When I checked the spirit at a warmer temperature the aroma was more pronounced.

Taking a cautious sip, we all noted that the spirit seemed to carry  a touch of astringency. Even chilled to just above freezing I could detect a light vegetal presence within the glass. There was also a mild metallic aftertaste. These features increased as the spirit warmed. My suggestion would be that the spirit is suitable for sipping when chilled, but breaks down rather quickly as it is warmed.

Taking a Shot  16.5/20

I was much happier when I took a swallow shot-style. There was a general consensus of surprise among my guests as the vodka was smoother in the throat than the experience of sipping would have suggested. There was perhaps a touch of unwanted alcohol astringency, as well as some metallic bitterness in finish, but at the cold serving temperature, the shot style swallow was enjoyable. Again, as the spirit warmed it began to break down with a metallic aftertaste developing as well as vegetal tones becoming more apparent.

Out For Dinner  14.5/20

I served my guests fresh bread, soft cheddar and Edam cheese, smoked sausage, as well as honey garlic chicken wings, and my home-made spicy pepper pot soup.The idea is to take a bit of food, then sip some vodka to cleanse the palette and then take another bit of food. A crisp clean vodka will cleanse the palate between bits allowing you to enjoy your dinner more thoroughly. Strait Vodka really didn’t work out as a palate cleanser. The light flavours within the spirit seemed to build with each sip and this was a deterrent to the enjoyment of the various foods I served. The fresh bread and Edam Cheese seemed to be affected the least whereas the spicier foods were affected more.

Cocktail Hour 27/30

This is probably a good time to explain that Strait Vodka was constructed with the aim of being a base spirit for Myriad Distilleries Strait Gin. The features of the spirit which I encountered which seemed slightly out-of-place as I sipped the vodka and served it with food could in fact be beneficial when mixed with the proper botanicals in a London style dry gin.

This idea was proven to a certain extent when I began to construct cocktails. I made Vodka Gimlets with each of the three spirits, and of the three, the Strait Vodka made the best gimlet! I also mixed a few cocktails after the event and I found the spirit worked very well when served in cocktails as a compliment to other spirits like gin and tequila. I have shared some of these recipes below for your enjoyment.

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Final Score 80.5/100

An Excellent Cocktail Vodka

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 Gimlet

1 1/2 oz  Strait Vodka 40
3/4 oz  Fresh Lime Juice
1/2 oz Sugar Syrup (1:1 ratio)
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

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

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The Pale Lemon Sky

1 oz Reposado Tequila
1 oz Strait Vodka 40
1 oz Fresh Squeezed Lemon Juice
1/2 oz Sugar Syrup (1:1 ratio)
1/2 oz Bols Triple Sec
Crushed Ice
Ice cubes
Lemon Peel Garnish

Place a lemon slice in a cocktail glass
Place the ingredients in a metal shaker with equal parts of crushed ice and ice cubes
Shake vigorously until the sides of the shaker frost
Strain over the Lemon slice in the cocktail glass
Garnish with a Lemon Peel Twist
Enjoy!

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The Paper Lion

1 oz  Gin
1 oz  Strait Vodka 40
1/2 oz Bols triple Sec
1/2 oz Lemon Juice
1/2 oz Orange Juice
1/4 oz Sugar Syrup (1:1 ratio)
ice
Lemon slice for garnish

Add the first six Ingredients into a cocktail Shaker with ice
Shake until the outside of the shaker frosts
Strain into a chilled cocktail glass
Garnish with a lemon slice if desired

And of course enjoy responsibly!

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!

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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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