Review: Tryst Vodka (86.5/100)
a review by Chip Dykstra (Aka Arctic Wolf)
Posted on January 23, 2016
Tryst Vodka is an American spirit distilled six times from grain.The spirit was produced by TerrePURE Spirits, located in North Charleston, South Carolina, and the company boasts of it ‘revolutionary’ TerrePURE* process which is said to offer the cleanest, smoothest and best tasting vodka known to man. The Spirit is part of the Preferred Selection at the Western Canadian Liquor Depot chain of stores, and I was recently provided a bottle for review here on my website.
As part of the review process, I held a Vodka tasting for my friends (the Rum Chums) where we sampled three other new vodkas (Norvegia, Provincial and Foothills) in a blind tasting flight with the Tryst Vodka. I served the spirits chilled where we sipped them each neat, swallowed shots, and sampled each with a variety of foods. We finished the tasting with some cocktails made from each spirit. Comments from my friends often make it into my reviews.
First Impression 9/10
As noted in previous reviews, I prefer to snap my own pictures rather than use standard bottle shots. I think that my photos lend an authenticity to my review. Unfortunately, vodka bottles are extremely hard to photograph, especially in the winter when my back deck is covered with ice and snow. I tried to snap a few photos, but the dreary winter background was so unflattering that decided instead to use a stock bottle shot. (Fortunately I did snap a photo of the bottle with my suggested cocktails down below.)
Tryst Vodka arrives in the tall sleek cylindrical bottle shown to the left. The presentation highlights the craft nature of the spirit emphasizing that it is distilled six times, and that it is produced in a batch style.
I like the overall look of the presentation which is clean yet implies a masculine class. I also like that it is sealed with a synthetic cork topper rather than a flimsy metal cap.Sitting next to some much more expensive vodkas on my shelf, it does not look out of place.
The vodka spirit is bottled at 40 % alcohol by volume.
The first Sip 17.5/20
It was a very cold day in January when I held my tasting event with my friends to compare the different vodkas. I took advantage of this and left the Vodka spirits on my back deck to chill for three hours before my guests arrived. When I poured the Tryst Vodka the spirit had cooled to about 2 or 3 degrees Celsius. At that cold temperature the spirit was slightly thickened. The breezes were extremely clean, and despite the higher alcohol content the spirit is free of any alcohol bite. I taste touches of corn and vanilla with clean grain spice building in the background.
As the spirit warmed, there was a bit of breakdown as a light lemon balm flavour began to grow and then a touch of metallic bitterness arrived in the finish. However, both my guests at the tasting and myself felt that the spirit remained remarkably smooth and clean compared to other vodkas in the same price range.
Taking a shot 17/20
When we all took a full shot I noted that a corn-like sweetness had been building and I also tasted hints of mint meandering within a firm spicy grain. The combination of spice and clean alcohol warms the belly after the swallow; however it does not bring an undo amount of burn to the throat. There is an ever so light hint of bitterness in the aftertaste, but this does not deter me from enjoying the shot.
When I repeated the experience on my own with the spirit at room temperature, I found the spirit had picked up a light vegetal lemon flavour, and that bitterness in the aftertaste was a little more pronounced. However, I was still enjoying the shot and certainly would serve the spirit in this setting again.
Out for Dinner 17/20
At my tasting I served pepperoni pizza, lightly spicy pepper pot soup, fresh french bread, a variety of cheeses (cheddar, mozzarella, and jalapeno infused Monterrey Jack), mini smoked wieners and some salty crackers.The higher proof the vodka is bottled at began to show itself more firmly when my guests and I began to sample the various bits of food. In particular the spicy foods really popped in the mouth and the meaty flavour of the sausage was enhanced. The bread tasted nice and the only flaw of note was that the vodka seemed to be picking up vegetal flavours as it warmed. There was also that same light bitterness in the finish which seemed to be enhanced slightly by salty foods and the bread.
Cocktail Hour 26/30
The final part of my examination (and that of my guests) was to serve the Tryst (and the other vodkas we were examining) in a typical cocktail to see how it fared. The cocktail I chose at my tasting was a modified Cosmopolitan. In my mind a good vodka allows the citrus and fruit to express themselves in the cocktail which should be lightly tart and completely refreshing.
And that is exactly what we noted with the cocktail made with Tryst Vodka. The mixed drink was very tasty, and all of us felt that it was on par with what we would expect to be served at an expensive restaurant. Later, I tried the vodka in a Gimlet (see recipe below) and was again impressed. Tryst can also be served in the Martini style as seen by my second recipe below.
Final Score 86.5/100
An Excellent Vodka which works well sipped, shot, and with food or in cocktails!
If you are interested in comparing more scores, here is a link to my other published Vodka Reviews.
2 1/2 oz Tryst Vodka
1/2 oz Fresh Lemon Juice
1/4 tsp Sugar Syrup (1:1 Ratio)
Add the first 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 ring of lemon peel
And of course enjoy responsibly!
Reverse Vesper (with lemon peel)
2 oz Tryst Vodka
2/3 oz No. 3 London Dry Gin
1/3 oz Vermouth
coil of Lemon Peel
Add the vodka, gin and vermouth into a metal shaker with ice
Shake until the sides of the shaker are frosted
Double Strain into a chilled martini glass
Add a thin coil of lemon peel
Of course, you should enjoy responsibly!
If you are interested in more cocktail recipes, please click this link (Cocktails and Recipes) for more mixed drink recipes!
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)