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Russian Standard Original Vodka

Review: Russian Standard Original Vodka  (91.5/100)
a review by Chip Dykstra (Aka Arctic Wolf)
Posted on July 27, 2018

Russian Standard Vodka was introduced in 1998 by Russian businessman and entrepreneur, Roustam Tariko (the owner of Russian Standard Bank). This is a traditional Russian Vodka made from hardy winter wheat cultivated on the Russian steppes. The spirit is quadruple distilled at the company’s distillation and rectification facilities in Saint Petersburg and then blended with the glacial waters from Lake Ladoga (whose waters were chosen for their renowned softness and purity). The Russian Standard Vodka is raised to a final level of purification using a quadruple charcoal filtering process, and then it is finished in steel ‘resting’ tanks before bottling.

I recently revisited the Russian Standard brand when I organized a small Vodka tasting for a few friends. We tasted Russian Standard Vodka, Banff Ice, and Strait Vodka 40. As my previous review for this spirit was published seven years ago I decided that an updated review was in order.

The First Impression (8.5/10)

Russian Standard Vodka is sold in the frosted bottle pictured to the right. I like how the label presents the name of the Vodka in Russian rather than English allowing the vodka to firmly revel in its Slavic heritage.I discovered that the frosted glass has the additional advantage of making the bottle easier to grip (as does the slightly curved cylindrical bottle profile).

Unfortunately, the bottle is topped with a metal screw cap topper. I do not like these metal screw caps, and a product which is often tossed into a freezer overnight should not have a topper which will expand and contract at a different rate than its bottle.

The First Sip (18.5/20)

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 how clean the vodka was. There was no apparent aroma, and only a wisp of flavour which resembled a faint touch of starch or wheat flour. After the sip, a nice creeping feeling of warmth was imparted to the back of the mouth and in the throat. The Vodka is smooth, mild, and very nice.

As the spirit warmed, we began to notice a little spiciness, however the spirit remained very clean and smooth.

Taking a Shot (18.5/20)

As each of us too full swallow (shot style) of the Russian Standard, I remarked to the others how clean, and smooth the spirit was. An ever so light rye-like warmth teased my palate and my throat in a delightful manner. I noticed no burn at all; however, a slow building warmth seemed to grow in my throat afterwards. My friends all had similar experiences to mine, and we all liked that slow building warmth which followed the shot of vodka.

Comparing my notes to my review of 7 years ago, I noticed that my impressions were pretty much the same. I did feel though, that the spirit deserved a higher score this time around. I think perhaps as this was one of my early vodka reviews, I was overly cautious in my initial scoring.

Out for Dinner (18.5/20)

Russian Standard is an excellent vodka to serve with all manner of foods. I served fresh bread, soft cheddar and Edam cheese, smoked sausage, and lightly flavoured honey garlic chicken wings, and my home-made pepper pot soup. The Vodka acted as a great palate cleanser allowing me (and my friends) to thoroughly enjoy all of the selections. The vodka itself continued to taste clean and smooth, and we were all impressed..

Cocktails (27.5/30)

The clean smooth taste of the Russian Standard Vodka is very nice for cocktail construction. I was a little worried that with the lack of any substantial taste characteristics, the vodka might make my bar drinks seem a little watery, but this was definitely not the case. Fruity cocktails like the Cosmopolitan were very nice as were martini style drinks.

This vodka really checks all of the boxes.


Final Score 91.5/100

An Excellent Vodka

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


Here is the recipe I recommended 7 years ago:

The Sweet Moscow Mule

1 3/4 oz Russian Standard Vodka
3/4 oz Fresh Squeezed Lime Juice
1/2 oz Simple Syrup
Cracked Ice
Ginger Beer

Slice of Lime for garnish

Pour the Vodka, Lime and Simple Syrup into a Metal Shaker with Ice
Shake until the sides of the metal shaker frosts
Strain into a chilled ice filled highball glass
Complete to taste with Ginger Beer
Garnish with Lime


And here is a new recipe where I mix Russian Standard Vodka with Tequila to soften the flavour of a Margarita.

Soft Margaret

1 oz El Jimador Blanco Tequila
3/4 oz Russian Standard Vodka
3/4 oz Bols Triple Sec
3/4 oz Fresh Lime Juice
1 tsp Sugar Syrup (1:1 ratio))
lime slice for garnish

Chill a cocktail glass
Add the ingredients into a metal shaker with ice
Shake until the outside of the shaker begins to frost
Strain into the chilled cocktail glass
Garnish with Lime

Please remember that my aim is to help you find better spirits, not to help you consume more spirits!


As usual 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)
90 – 95     Gold Medal (Highly Recommended for Vodka Shots and Sublime Cocktails)
95.5+       Platinum Award (Highest Recommendation)


4 Responses to “Russian Standard Original Vodka”

  1. H.Smith said

    I found no flavour on the tongue except a bit of sugar, and it was smooth, but the most “peppery” vodka I’ve ever had, by far. I’m surprised you described it as mild.

  2. Frederic said

    We met the RS rep at Tales of the Cocktail back in 2009 and he sent us a bottle. I like the hint of grain and its smoothness, and it tasted the same or better than most of the more popular and expensively marketed brands. At its price point, it’s a great deal.

    • Hi Frederic

      You are absolutely right about the price versus quality equation. In my market this Vodka is an outstanding value.

      I will be reviewing several of the super Premium Vodkas such as Grey Goose, Nemiroff Lexx, Alchemia, and a local super premium variety called Pristina in the coming weeks and months. I have saved a good portion of my Russian Standard (the Wyborowa Exquisite as well) to do side by side comparisons and I admit I am very curious as to how things will shake out.

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