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Archive for the ‘Vodka’ Category

Review: Last Mountain Hand Crafted Vodka

Posted by Arctic Wolf on November 1, 2011

Photo Courtesy Brittany Bellamy (All Rights Reserved)

Colin Schmidt was drafted by the Edmonton Oilers in 1992. After being drafted, he spent four years playing College Hockey and then signed his first pro contract in 1996. Colin’s pro experience was brief, cut off by a few shoulder injuries after a short spell of what Colin referred to as “playing left bench.” Fortunately, as far as we are concerned, Colin’s story did not end there.

A few years later, Colin, who was working in the mortgage industry, and his wife, Meredith, whose background was in banking, began to look for their own business opportunities in Saskatchewan. Colin had a friend who had started up a micro-distillery in Colorado, and the idea to begin a similar operation in Saskatchewan was very appealing to them. In August of 2010, Colin and Meredith’s hard work and perseverance paid off when they opened Saskatchewan’s first micro-distillery, in Lumsden, Saskatchewan, called the Last Mountain Distillery.

Colin arranged for me to receive a bottle from batch number 12 and asked me to provide a review. I set up a gathering with my friends, and we sampled the Vodka blind in a tasting with three other vodkas I had recently acquired.

Here is an excerpt from my review:

“… When I poured out the samples of Last Mountain Vodka into each shot glass for my guests, we discovered the vodka displayed a pleasing light citrus (lemon and lime) aroma and a clean mouth-feel that was very appealing. I noticed a mild rye-like spiciness in my mouth, and when I sipped the spirit those lemon and lime sensations seemed to grow as the vodka sat on my tongue…”

You may read the full review here:

Review: Last Mountain Hand Crafted Vodka

As well I have included a nice cocktail called, the Mountain Raspberry Cocktail and a nice Punch recipe called Mountain Raspberry Punch.

Please enjoy the review and the cocktails!

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Review: Slava Ultra Premium Vodka

Posted by Arctic Wolf on October 25, 2011

Slava Vodka is a spirits company based in Oakville, Ontario. The Vodka brand itself is an authentic Ukrainian Vodka produced in the Cherkassy region of Ukraine at the Zlatogor Distillery from rye and wheat grain. This Ultra Premium Vodka is four times distilled and based on the advertising videos I have seen online, it is 12 times filtered. According to the company website all of the Vodka production is all done under the supervision of  their Technology Chief Anatoliy, who holds a PhD in Vodka.

I was invited visit the local office of the River Valley Beverage Group recently where I was allowed to sample some of the spirits which they were importing into Alberta. At the end of the visit I was given several sample bottles to review on my website, and Slava Ultra Premium Vodka was one of them. Here is an excerpt from my review:

“…As we brought the vodka to our noses it was very difficult to decipher any aroma from the shot glasses. Perhaps a light citrus entered the breezes above the glass as well as a light floral scent. The first sip was very clean with hints of a rye-like spiciness, and little dabs of light citrus flavour on the palate….”

Here is a link to the full review:

Review: Slava Ultra Premium Vodka

As well I have included a few of my favourite cocktail suggestions for this spirit including the Pink Pussy CatElectric Lemonade and The Sloe Comfortable Screw.

Please enjoy the cocktails and the review!

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Review: Lerskaa Vodka

Posted by Arctic Wolf on October 18, 2011

Lerskaa Vodka is produced in Belize, the northernmost mainland country of Central America. A former British Colony, Belize lies just south of Mexico with the Caribbean Sea to the east and Guatemala to the west and south. The Vodka is a product of  Traveller’s Liquors Limited who have been involved in the production of 1 Barrel Rum in Belize since the early 1960s.

Lerskaa Vodka is distilled to over 190 proof, and interestingly, it is a sugar cane based spirit rather than a grain vodka. In my tasting sessions my guests and I each noticed a light caramel aroma and flavour associated with the spirit.

Here is an excerpt from my review:

“…This was the very first cane Vodka my group had ever tasted, and in order to keep everything unbiased, I conducted the session in a blind format … As the first sip sat on my tongue, I could taste that the vodka had a very lightly sweet caramel/syrup taste. There was also some noticeable spiciness of  lime citrus…”

Here is a link to the full review:

Review: Lerskaa Vodka

As well I have included a popular Vodka Cocktail called Blue Hawaii.

Please enjoy the cocktail and the review!

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Review: Schramm Organic Vodka

Posted by Arctic Wolf on October 11, 2011

The Pemberton Distillery is located in the heart of the Coast Mountains, an area known for its massive ice caps and pure glacial streams. The spirit the distillery produces, Schramm Organic Vodka debuted in August of 2009 as an authentic sipping vodka which is produced  from whole organic potatoes (grown just 15 km from the distillery in the Pemberton Valley). The Master Distiller, Tyler Schramm, studied a Masters of Science in Brewing & Distilling at Heriot-Watt University in Edinburgh, Scotland. He focused his University thesis on the complex art and science of potato vodka distillation with the goal to prove that vodka could be just as rich and complex as a single malt scotch.

To that end, Schramm Vodka is produced using an all natural fermentation process that does not use of chemicals, synthetic anti-foaming agents, or additives. In fact, the distillery boasts that they follow the same traditional methods used by single malt scotch distilleries. They distill in small batches using a hand-operated copper pot still, and the entire distillation is performed by Tyler Schramm, who is continuously testing and sampling the vodka for quality. The blended spirit is charcoal filtered to maximize purity while still maintaining the smooth mouth-feel and unique character of the Pemberton potato.

Here is an excerpt from my review:

… The Vodka has kind of a punky, starchy potato flavour (and trust me that is better by a lot than how it sounds). The palate is heated up and the back of the throat experiences a lot of warmth but the spicy, let me call it ‘rye-like’ heat doesn’t become uncomfortable….

You may read the full review here:

Review: Schramm Organic Vodka

I have included a couple of recipes, The Blue Lemon Martini, and Schramminade.

Please enjoy the recipe and the review!!

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Review: Patriot Excellence Vodka

Posted by Arctic Wolf on October 4, 2011

The Patriot Excellence is a French Vodka which was brought into my local by Paul Charabin of PB Beverages, an Alberta based company which imports and distributes a wide selection of spirits from around the world. The Vodka is filtered six times, and is made from a blend of 100% natural grain spirits and pure spring water.  It is advertised as an exceptional vodka with an elegant, ideal, and smooth taste.

My friends and I approached this spirit blind against four other vodka spirits at one of my recent taste events. Much to our surprise, the Patriot Excellence Vodka (unlike other hyped spirits we have tried) lived up to its advertising being by far the best Vodka at the event.

Here is an excerpt from my review:

“…When I poured out the samples of Patriot Vodka into each shot glass for my guests it was obvious right from the beginning that the Vodka was going to be a hit with everyone. It was creamy, and displayed a clean aroma and mouth-feel that my tasting group has only experienced in the very best of Vodkas…”

Here is a link to the full review:

Review: Patriot Excellence Vodka

As well I created a nice cocktail featuring raspberry syrup and Patriot Excellence Vodka called, Rustic Breeze.

Please enjoy the Review and the Cocktail!

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Review: Luksusowa Vodka

Posted by Arctic Wolf on September 27, 2011

Luksusowa Vodka is an authentic potato vodka produced in Poland and distributed world-wide by the Pernod Ricard conglomerate. The vodka is produced utilizing a combination of traditional and modern production methods which include an initial distillation at a local ‘farm distilleries’, and then further refinement at a larger centralized plant where a continuous column still processes the distillate in a triple distillation which is used in conjunction with gas chromatography to produce a pure potato spirit. This pure spirit is combined with natural spring water from deep artesian wells to produce Luksusowa Vodka.

I learned while researching this spirit that Luksusowa, being a pure potato vodka is gluten-free. It is a good alternative spirit for those who are gluten intolerant or those who may have Celiac disease. For my review, I received a bottle of from the PR agency which represents Luksusowa in Canada. I put the spirit through the paces of my, Vodka Review Methodology and here is an excerpt from the resulting review:

… When I sampled the Luksusowa Vodka, I invited three friends to help me. I poured each of us a sample in a shot glass for the initial sip, and asked each person to sip just a little letting it sit on their tongue before swallowing…. We all felt the Vodka was very clean on the nose. I thought I could smell a very light starchiness with perhaps a very light hint of citrus zest and spice…

Here is a link to the full review:

Review: Luksusowa Vodka

As well I have included a nice recipe for this spirit called the Arctic Vodka Cooler.

Please enjoy the review and the included recipe!

Posted in Cocktails & Recipes, Vodka, Vodka Reviews | Tagged: , , , , , | 2 Comments »

Review: Zubrowka (Bison Grass) Vodka

Posted by Arctic Wolf on September 13, 2011

Zubrowka or ‘Bison Grass’ Vodka is an original Polish Vodka distilled at the Polmos Bialystok Distillery located 200 km northeast of Warsaw. In this region of the world, Vodka(or at least a spirit similar to Vodka) has been flavoured with Bison Grass for over 600 years. The Bison grass (Hierochloe odorata or Herchloe Australis) grows in the Białowieża Forest (which lies in Northern Poland and Belarus), although distinct varieties of this herbal grass grow in other locations as well including North America where the plant has been known as ‘Sweetgrass’ or ‘Holy Grass’.

I should mention that received a bottle of Zubrowka Vodka from Ashley Calapatia, who is with the PR agency representing Zubrowka Vodka in Canada. I was requested to provide a review of the spirit here on my website, and here is an excerpt from that review:

“… The vodka carries a light herbal aroma in the glass but identification of any particular scent was remarkably difficult. Descriptors like vanilla, sage, thyme, rosemary and cinnamon were tossed back and forth amongst us, but I think it is somewhat safer to say we discerned a lightly pungent herbal quality on both the nose and the palate that was quite different from what any of us had encountered before….”

My full review may be read here:

Review: Zubrowka (Bison Grass) Vodka

Cheers!!

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Review: O2 945 (Super Premium) Sparkling Vodka

Posted by Arctic Wolf on August 30, 2011

O2 945 Super Premium Sparkling Vodka bills itself as the world’s first Super Premium Sparkling Vodka. When I sampled this spirit at the Wine and Food Festival last fall I was actually quite smitten by what I encountered, hints of citrus, and some awesome tiny bubbles filling my mouth. (Anyone who has read some of my reviews, and the cocktails which I like to construct for the various spirits I have sampled, realizes that I am a soda loving  person. A spirit that combines my love of soda bubbles with a light crisp taste really has my attention from the get go.)

I contacted the importer of O2 Vodka, Premium Imports, to see about getting a sample to review on my blog. After a few months they came through in spades with samples of each the O2 Premium Sparkling Vodka and the 945 Super Premium Sparkling Vodka. Both versions carry nice light citrus notes and those wonderful champagne-like bubbles to the palate. These bubbles are supposed to stimulate the taste buds accentuating the flavours of food the vodka is served with, and the flavours of the cocktails the vodka is served in.

I invited several of my good friends over for a Vodka Tasting where we put the O2 (945 Super Premium) Sparkling Vodka through the rigors of my review methodolgy.  Here is an excerpt from what we discovered:

“…The first sip brought forward a stronger citrus presence which one of my friends at the tasting likened to a spear’s thrust of citrus zest. The carbonated bubbles seem to be bringing forward much more of the citrus flavours of the vodka…”

You may read the full review here:

Review: O2 945 (Super Premium) Sparkling Vodka

As well I have included a nice cocktail with the review, Rustic Soul.

Please enjoy the review and the cocktail!

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Review: Black Stallion Vodka

Posted by Arctic Wolf on August 2, 2011

Black Stallion Vodka is a product of Black Stallion Spirits, a Calgary, Alberta based company which has been importing Russian Vodka since 2002.  This is an authentic Russian Vodka distilled at the Kratos Distillery, one of the oldest producers of liquor products in Russia. The distillery was fully reconstructed and modernized in 1997, and a new main building was constructed with modern equipment installed.

There is a lot of information on the back of the bottle; but, unfortunately for me it is all written in Russian.  I would have liked this information to be translated as I like to read about the heritage of the spirit I am sampling, but I can glean from the bottle that it is a 750 ml size, and the spirit is bottled at 40 % alcohol by volume.

Here is an excerpt from the review:

“… As we all took our first full swallow of the Black Stallion, I noticed the spirit imparted some real warmth to my palate and the back of my throat. The vodka was carrying some hotter rye-like spices from the grain distillate forward….”

You may read the full review here:

Review: Black Stallion Vodka

As well I hope you enjoy the recipe at the end of the review, The Vodka Darby Cocktail.

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Review: Pristina Vodka

Posted by Arctic Wolf on July 21, 2011

You might say that I am a bit of a Highwood Distillers enthusiast. I toured their distillery last year (See Highwood Distillery Tour), and I have unabashedly fallen in love with the quality of their whisky which seems to me to be one the best kept secrets of the whisky world. In spite of my fondness for this distillery, I find myself continually underestimating their abilities.

And so we come to Pristina Vodka

I guess I should have known when I received my sample bottle that what was inside would be nothing short of marvelous. But maybe it was the uninspiring bottle and label, or maybe it is just a case of us Canadians being a little too self conscious to believe we can be as good as everyone else in the world. Whatever the reason, when I put the Pristina in a flight of Vodka samples at a recent tasting where it was up against an Authentic Russian Vodka called Black Stallion, a real Polish Vodka called Alchemia Czysta, and a Vodka made in France called Grey Goose, I was not expecting what happened.  What happened was that every person at my tasting session chose the same Vodka as their favourite, and every person said it wasn’t even close. That favourite, the clear head and shoulders winner without reservation in everybody’s opinion, was of course the Pristina Vodka from Highwood Distillers.

I guess I have already tipped my hand that the score will be high, but here is an excerpt from my review:

“…My good feelings towards the Vodka continued as I took my first large swallow (shot). I was happy to taste no vegetal tones and to feel no burn at all in my throat. The swallow was clean and completely smooth. The back of my mouth received a mildly spicy warmth; but my throat felt no heat, even with a substantial swallow of the Pristina Vodka…”

You may read the full review here:

Review: Pristina Vodka

As well I have included a suggested recipe in the form of a Vodka Tonic.

Please enjoy the review!

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