Three Point Vodka
Review: Three Point Vodka (79.5/100)
Review by Chip Dykstra (AKA Arctic Wolf)
Published: August 02, 2016
Eau Claire Distillery opened as Alberta’s first craft distillery in the summer of 2014. The facility is located 35 minutes southwest of downtown Calgary in the picturesque Hamlet of Turner Valley. The name ‘Eau Claire’ has historical significance in Alberta, meaning ‘clear water’, and is representative of the clear water from the nearby Rocky Mountains that is used as the water source of the distillery.
The folks at Eau Claire pride themselves in sourcing locally farmed ingredients, including grains and potatoes from neighbouring farms. Each ingredient is secured from suppliers who are known and respected in Alberta’s agriculture profession. In addition to the direct from the farm suppliers, Eau Claire has a special connection to the land through its own, unique stable of plough horses. Horse farmed grain is a part of the Eau Claire story and culture. It was founder David Farran’s weekend pursuit of traditional horse farming that led him to establish Eau Claire in the first place. A number of the distillery’s products will be made with ‘horse farmed grain’ using agricultural methods dating back to the settlement of Alberta.
Eau Claire’s Three Point Vodka was launched in June 2014 and was the first spirit to be commercially distributed by the distillery. According to the company website:
Three Point Vodka is named for Three Point Creek, a tributary to the Sheep River where our vodka is produced on the edge of the Rocky Mountains. It is on the banks of Three Point Creek that one of our Founders, farms some of our ingredients using a team of horses and a 100-year-old plough.
My first Impression 9/10
The Three Point Vodka bottle depicts a classic Canadian social scene, skating on a frozen creek around a May pole. Rather than people skating though, it is a menagerie of ‘social animals’ representing a theme of social engagement and fun times. It seems to me that the distillery while striving to make a positive first impression also wants to make the point that the do not take themselves or their vodka too seriously.
I like everything I see about the bottle presentation. It strikes the right chord with me and would certainly entice me into giving it a second look on the shelf in a retail setting. I would also like to point out that each bottle carries the batch identification number. The bottle I am reviewing is from batch 1507.
The First Sip 15/20
When I was tasting the Three Point Vodka for the first time, it was in a tasting flight with two other vodka spirits I had chosen for my friends (the Rum Chums) and I to sample together as part of a Spring Vodka Tasting. All of the spirits were produced by small Canadian Micro Distillers and each of them was chilled in my freezer for several hours and then served cold (at about 2 degrees Celsius) in small shot glasses.
The Three Point Vodka was slightly thickened at that cold temperature, and when I brought my shot glass to my nose I was very surprised by the firm aroma which had climbed into the breezes. My guests at the tasting noticed it too and we spent considerable time debating what we had encountered. I felt the aroma was very similar to a glass of milk which was on the verge of turning, a sort of almost sweet, yogurt like aroma. Others felt it was more akin to creme de fresh and one guest even described it as melted vanilla ice cream that had been left overnight.
When we took a sip, the nasal impression we had encountered translated completely to the palate, but the reaction around the room was decidedly mixed about whether the flavour was welcome in their vodka. Most of my guests prefer a clean crisp spirit when they drink Vodka, and for those the flavour was distracting and unwelcome. A few of my more adventuresome guests appreciating a nuance they had never encountered which made the spirit different and worth seeking out. (I am probably more in the former camp than the latter.)
Along with the interesting yogurt-like taste the vodka also carried some grainy spice and a mild, but not unpleasant burn. As the spirit warmed the yogurt-like flavour did not increase in the glass which was quite surprising. I expected the ‘creme de fresh’ to gain strength as the Vodka warmed, but instead it was the grainy spice which increased in intensity.
Taking a Shot 17/20
Served cold the vodka goes down quite smoothly with only a small amount of burn apparent. In terms of smoothness it reminded me of Grey Goose which has a very similar mild but not unpleasant burn which seems to be more a function of grain spice than alcohol heat. The yogurt-like flavour remained at the front of the taste experience but did not linger as part of the aftertaste. When the spirit warms to room temperature, the mild burn becomes more noticeable; however in intensity is certainly not a firm as many of the so-called premium vodkas If the initial yogurt-like flavour is appealing to you then the Three Point Vodka makes for a very nice (and interesting) shooting vodka.
Out for Dinner 14/20
I served a lightly salty home-made pepper pot soup, some smoked sausage, small pieces of sour dough bread, pickles and lightly salted crackers with Edam and Cheddar cheese slices. It was a decent selection of food to sample while tasting vodka. A good vodka will usually bring the spicy and salty flavours of the food more into focus helping you to enjoy them. A great vodka will cleanse the palate between bites allowing you to enjoy all of the foods more thoroughly.
Unfortunately, the firm ‘creme de fresh’ quality within the flavour of this vodka did not allow the Vodka to pair well with any of my food selections. Although this yogurt-like flavour was not firm in the aftertaste, it nevertheless interfered with our enjoyably of the foods I had selected. Unfortunately I cannot recommend a food pairing for this particular vodka.
I served everyone Cosmopolitan cocktails at my vodka tasting. The cosmopolitan served with the Three Point Vodka tasted quite nice and for the first time all of my guests seemed happy with the firm flavour which pushed through the cocktail experience. It made the mixed drink more interesting without being a distraction. However, when I mixed a martini for myself a few days later, I found that new flavour which the vodka presented front and center in my martini and I was not enthusiastic. I went back to a lime based cocktail (a Vodka Daiquiri) and found my enthusiasm again.
Final Score 79.5/100
Acceptable as a shooting spirit and for citrus based cocktails!
If you are interested in comparing more scores, here is a link to my other published Vodka Reviews.
The Vodka Daiquiri
2 oz Three Point Vodka
1 oz Fresh Lime Juice
1/2 oz Sugar Syrup
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!
Note: If you are interested in more of my cocktail recipes, please click this link (Cocktails and Recipes) for more of my mixed drink recipes!
The Final Score is out of 100 and you may (loosely) interpret the scores 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 still 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)