So here we are in 2014 (Armageddon didn’t happen) and we want to start it with some new review/tasting notes, but this time not Whisky but Vodka!
What? Do I hear you mumble blasphemy? Yeah I know this blog is dedicated to whisky but it’s a new year and I decided to review some other spirits once in a while. And to top that – one of those is aged in cask vodka!
I usually do not dig Vodka that much as my past experience is tied to large brands which are manufactured on large scale and drinking it ice cold or mixed in cocktails or with fruit juices. I never lingered on those Vodkas while drinking – I mean, flavors? Vodka? It’s mostly considered as neutral spirit.
And then, last month I saw online a discussion on good vodkas and I was quite surprised to see that many artisan and/or small vendors exists that produce (supposedly, yes?) excellent Vokda. Suddenly, Into this discussion came William of Vestal Vodka, Artisan Vodka Producer company from Poland, and offered to send samples so we can see what’s
good excellent Vodka is.
Another shock – The origin of the Vodka matters a lot. You can distill Vodka from grains, sugar beets or molasses, potatoes, basically from starch/sugar-heavy origin.
In this case, Vestal Vodka is made with potatoes. The potatoes are of the Vineta variety, which are grown in the Kaszebe region of Poland. So terroir and Potatoes variant matters – just like the barley variant in Whisky.
But standard excellent Vokda isn’t the entire story here. Vestal Vodka are experimenting with aged Vokda – take the Vodka and put it in wood barrels – sherry, bourbon, etc (Yeah, again like Whisky) – restoring to the old ways of how Vodka was stored in the early days. Along with the standard Vodka sample, I also got a sample of their Vodka, aged in a bottle with different wood chips (different wood chips and different aging duration – between 4 days to 1 month). This should tell me (and you) how the real aged Vodka will be after it aged in 500 liter barrels for a couple of years.
So, tasting notes time!
Kaszebe 2009 (50cl bottles, 40%)
Nose: Hmm, Quite aromatic for Vodka with lovely fresh herbal notes. It reminds me whisky new make with fruity notes, creamy and buttered (starchy if such word exists), very mellow and lovely nose.
Palate: Starts with creamed buttered potatoes, then some spicy citrus, fruits and vanilla. Never expected that from Vodka.
Finish: Short, with some herbal/pine leftover.
Aged Kaszebe 2011 (%40, Cherry wood, bourbon barrel, medium toasted American oak & apple wood)
Nose: The creamy & herbal potatoes/starch notes are very evident here, but this time there’s bitter wood edge to it. some very distinct and separate apple and cherry notes from the wood chips (it didn’t have much time to marry together). Some coal/charred wood smoke in the background. After a few minutes in the glass I can also smell spicy vanilla from the bourbon barrel chips.
Palate: Creamy, strong cherry wood notes (not sherry liquid impact like whisky mind you), some smokiness, spices and herbal, some bitter wood and apples.
Finish: Much longer this time with heavy spices and herbals influence.
Conclusion: The Caszebe 2009 is a very good Vodka! I hope they will find some Israeli importer – as a country that drinks a lot of Vodka, we deserve some good Vodka here. And the aged one experiment shows lots of promise. Can’t wait to taste the final product.