Review: Souvenir Vodka 83/100
a review by Chip Dykstra (Aka Arctic Wolf)
Posted on March 23, 2013
Souvenir Vodka (according to their website) is a quadruple distilled Ukrainian Vodka. It arrives in a frosted bottle with a clear window shape in the front which is designed to allow the consumer to have their own image placed at the back of the bottle to be seen through this window. The idea is to allow clients to use the bottle for a variety of purposes such as to commemorate special events like weddings or anniversaries, or to advertise company logos, or whatever other purpose can be imagined. I was told that the Vodka within is a very high quality product from a major Ukrainian distillery, and therefore the company or individual who has purchased the Vodka for their event will not only gain the branding impact of the bottle presentation, but will also be seen as having discriminating taste.
The concept sounds interesting, and I decided to put the Souvenir Vodka through the rituals of my tasting methodology to see how it stacks up.
The First Impression 8/10
I explained the concept behind the Vodka in my preamble. To be honest, I am not really convinced that it would not be more effective to print a custom label for your discriminating client. More information could be placed on such a label, and my suspicion is that a custom label would have a greater impact.
Regardless of whether or not I think a printed label would be more efficient, the idea of a customizable spirit has merit. Gifting a bottle of Vodka to a friend or colleague to make a special event is rather original.
The First Sip (16/20)
I sampled the Souvenir Vodka on a lazy Sunday afternoon while I was watching some curling on the television. I had chilled it in the freezer overnight, and at the cold serving temperature it had a light aroma above the glass which resembled wheat flour. When I sipped the spirit I noticed a few spicy grain-like elements and a very light malty sweetness. It tastes nice; although as the spirit warms it develops some vegetal flavours which leave a light metallic aftertaste in the mouth. That spicy grain-like characteristic becomes sharper, and this warms the mouth perhaps a bit more than I would personally like it to. I do not want you to get the wrong idea, this is not uncomfortable, nor are these perceptions so obvious that I would hesitate to serve the vodka to my friends.
Taking a Shot (16.5/20)
As I took my first full swallow of the Souvenir Vodka ‘shot style’, I noticed a spicy warmth upon my palate and in the back of my throat. To my way of thinking this spiciness is almost rye-like and it tickles the tonsils giving the spirit a ‘bracing’ quality. There is a light burn in my throat which grows in intensity after the swallow. When I repeated the exercise a few hours later with a warmer glass, I again noticed those same vegetal flavours creeping into the taste profile. There was more bite to the vodka, and a mildly bitter aftertaste. These impressions were not severe and I enjoyed the vodka shot. Again I would happily serve this Vodka without regret at any gathering.
Out for Dinner (16.5/20)
I grabbed myself some snacks during a break in the game, and decided to sample the vodka withe a few different foods. I had some different styles of sausage (ham, salami and pepperoni), some fresh baked buns (made that morning according to the bakery), both cheddar and Edam cheese, some salty potato chips, and some of my home made pepper pot soup made. I casually sipped the vodka and ate the food, while I watched the television.
That rye-like spiciness which I had noticed earlier while sipping the vodka seemed to co-exist very well with the food. In particular the salty foods like the ham sausage and the pepper pot soup were quite delicious. I also noticed that the fresh buns seemed to taste sweeter than they had earlier in the day. I was pleased with the vodka which paired well with the food I had chosen.
I mixed three different cocktails with the Souvenir Vodka, a Cosmopolitan, a Vodka Daiquiri, and a Vodka Tonic. Both the Vokda Daiquiri and the Cosmopolitan boasted a welcome tart flavour which I found refreshing. I was perhaps a little disappointed in the Vodka Tonic. This is not surprising as very few Vodkas actually work well in that particular cocktail which requires an exceptionally clean spirit. Based upon my success with the Cosmo and Daiquiri, I designed a nice citrus ‘cooler’ cocktail which was quite delicious (see recipe below).
Final Score: 83/100
(Recommended for food pairings and mixing cocktails)
The Souvenir Vodka is as advertised to me, a solid spirit with no obvious flaws. It does not reach into the stratosphere as far as scoring goes, but it certainly held up well in all facets of my tasting regimen.
If you are interested in comparing more scores, here is a link to my other published Vodka Reviews.
A nice tall cocktail with lots of ice.
1 1/2 oz Souvenir Vodka
3/4 oz Bols Blue Curacao
1 oz Fresh Orange Juice
1/2 oz Fresh Lemon Juice
1/2 oz Fresh Lime Juice
1 tsp Sugar Syrup
Pour the first six ingredients into a metal shaker with ice
Shake until the sides of the shaker are frosted
Strain into a tall ice-filled glass
Add a splash of soda
Garnish with lime
Please remember to enjoy my cocktail suggestions responsibly!
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)