Review: Skyy Vodka 77/100
a review by Chip Dykstra (Aka Arctic Wolf)
Posted on July 23, 2015
Skyy Vodka was originally 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.
When I sampled Skyy Vodka for the first time, I was also sampling with three other vodka spirits, Opulent, Iceberg and Polar Ice 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 Skyy in isolation from the other spirits afterwards, I prepared this review.
Skyy Vodka is bottled at 40 % alcohol by Volume.
The 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 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 15/20
When I began to taste each spirit I was comparing side by side, I had previously chilled them to about 2 degrees Celsius. At this temperature Skyy Vodka is slightly thickened, and when I brought it to my nose I noticed an obvious lemon-lime scent combined with a bit of grainy spice. As I sipped, my feeling was that the spirit had a somewhat bitter pithy (that white stuff on the back side of a citrus peel) flavour and aftertaste. It also seemed to carry strange metallic flavours within this bitterness. As the spirit warmed, it does not improve, but it also did not break down any further. As this point I am more disappointed than impressed, but open to having my mind changed.
Taking a Shot 14.5/20
When I threw back a shot, there was an overt grainy spiciness brought forward, and I felt a bit of burn down my throat. The burn dissipated quickly rather than lingering which was fortunate. Unfortunately, the Skyy Vodka also left a vegetal metallic aftertaste in the mouth after the shot. As the spirit warmed, the burn increased to the point where it became unpleasant. I decided the experience was not worth repeating.
Out for Dinner 14.5/20
I was also disappointed in Skyyy Vodka during the food pairing exercise. I had 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. Unfortunately, rather than the Vodka serving as a good palate cleanser, allowing the flavours to ‘pop’ in my mouth as I ate, the vodka added very little to my experience, and in fact all of the foods seemed to me to be diminished when sampled after a sip of Vodka. It was as if the vodka dampened the flavour experience rather than enhanced it.
As is sometimes the case with a spirit that disappoints me when I am sipping or pairing it with food; once I built a cocktail, the Skyy Vodka found redemption. The first cocktail I made was a Vodka Daiquiri which has become my cocktail of choice when reviewing Vodka. With the 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.
I 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 squeezed lime
1/2 oz sugar syrup
2 Sprigs of Mint
Add the 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 77/100
(A Good Cocktail Mixer)
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)