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Skyy Vokda

Review: Skyy Vodka  87/100
a review by Chip Dykstra (Aka Arctic Wolf)
Posted on May 08, 2017

Skyy Vodka was created by Maurice Kanbar who formed Skyy Spirits LLC. in 1992 to market the spirit. The Vodka is quadruple distilled from American grain, and is also apparently filtered three times though California limestone prior to bottling. In 1999, the Compari Group (headquartered in Milan, Italy) purchased the brand, and Skyy is now a product of the Campari America Division.

I sampled Skyy Vodka for the first time two years ago and decided to revisit the brand this year when I chose to compare four Vodkas in a small tasting competition (Smirnoff No. 21 Red, Reyka, Skyy and Last Mountain Distillery Hand Crafted Vodkas). I tasted the spirits in pairs, and when I determined which vodka from each pair was my preferred spirit, then I tasted the winners of each of the previous tasting sessions went head to head in a final taste-off.

Skyy Vodka is bottled at 40 % alcohol by Volume.

cq5dam.web.1280.1280The First Impression 8/10

As you can see Skyy Vodka is bottled in the cobalt-blue bottle shown to the left. It has a clear plastic label and is topped with a plastic screw cap. I showed the bottle to my wife and she immediately brought out a new brochure we had received in the mail, advertising a new modern condominium development which featured tall brick buildings with sleek chrome siding. To her, the chrome lettering and the tall slender bottle represented this style of tall sleek architecture. Unfortunately, both my wife and I dislike this new architecture which seems to offer style over substance. To us these sleek buildings lack character and soul. I guess we are country folk at heart.

I suspect that my wife and I’s impressions would not be shared by the majority; then again, when I unveiled the bottle to a few of my friends at a recent tasting, none of them seemed fond of the bottle either.

First Sip  17.5/20

When I began to taste each spirit I was comparing side by side, I had chilled them to about 1 degrees Celsius. At this temperature Skyy Vodka is thickened, and when I brought it to my nose I noticed a clean light lemon-lime zest combined with lightly heated grain spice.

As I sipped, my feeling was that the spirit was very lightly sweet with a nice clean spiciness and a hint of menthol that seemed refreshing. There was also a hint of a very lightly bitter white pith which carried into the aftertaste. Fortunately as the spirit warmed, that lightly bitter flavour did not increase, and in fact a light sweetness appeared which was quite pleasant.

Taking a Shot 17.5/20

When I threw back a shot, there was a firm grainy spiciness across the palate, and an ever so light burn in my throat. The light burn dissipated quickly rather than lingering which indicated to me that I had misinterpreted grain spice as light burn. There was also an ever so light vegetal aftertaste left in the mouth after the shot, but it certainly was not deterring my enjoyment. As the spirit warmed, I again noticed a light sweetness appearing; as well, the spiciness increased and firmer flavours of lemon and mint began to appear.

Two years ago when I sampled Skyy Vodka, I was not enthused, this year the spirit appears to have improved dramatically.

Out for Dinner 17/20

I next sampled Skyy (and the others) in the mini tasting competition with some snacks which included smoked wieners, a variety of cheeses including cheddar, Gouda, and Edam, some fresh-baked bread and buns, breaded spicy chicken wings, and some pepperoni pizza. Skyy Vodka seemed to really compliment the spicy foods I was tasting, however, it also seemed to bring just a touch of bitterness to the flavour of breads and the cheeses.

Cocktails 27/30

At the end each tasting session I mixed a small Vodka Gimlet with each spirit. With Skyy, the mixed drink tasted very nice. It was just lightly on the sweet side of the fence; but the mixed drink also carried enough tartness to bring the whole thing together so to speak. I would certainly serve the cocktail I had created to any of my friends with no hesitation. Skyy would certainly be suitable for Martini or Vesper cocktails as well.

Skyy Minted Daiquiri SAM_1670I decided to add one more flavour component and my recommended cocktail for Skyy Vodka is as follows:

Minted Vodka Daiquiri

2 oz Vodka
1 oz Fresh Lime Juice
1/2 oz Sugar Syrup (1:1 ratio)
2 Sprigs of Mint

Add Skyy Vodka, the fresh lime juice, and the sugar syrup into a metal shaker with ice and one sprig of mint
Shake until the sides of the shaker frost
Double strain into a cocktail glass
Garnish with the second sprig of mint

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!


Final Score 87/100

(Substantially improved from 2 years ago)

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


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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