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Archive for the ‘Vodka’ Category

Review: Zirkova Vodka

Posted by Arctic Wolf on March 25, 2012

Zirkova Vodka is a relatively new Vodka brought to the market here in Canada by Multiculture Bevco owners of the Slava Ultra Premium Vodka and Zirkova Vodka brands. Although this company is based in Oakville, Ontario, the Zirkova is an authentic Ukrainian Vodka produced in the Cherkassy region of Ukraine at the Zlatogor Distillery from rye and wheat grain. This Premium Vodka is four times distilled with only the ‘center cut’ of each distillation brought forward to the final spirit.

I spent a little time with John Vellinga at the Rocky Mountain Food and Wine Festival this past fall. He is the founder of both the Zirkova and Slava Vodka brands and the CEO of Multiculture Bevco. I found that Mr Vellinga is passionate about his Vodka, and this passion was evident in our discussions as he went to great lengths not only in educating me about his Vodka production, but he also poured me several shots and cocktails to demonstrate the character of both of his Vodka brands in the glass.

I was given a bottle of Zirkova Vodka by the local distributor, River Valley Beverage Group for the purpose of a review here on my website. Here is an excerpt from my review:

“… The Zirkova is not as creamy as some of the more recent vodkas my tasting group have tried. It is, however, very clean upon the palate, and as I swallowed this first sip, it was very clean in the throat as well. A mellow rye-spice ‘heat’ is present in my throat after I swallow. I detect no bitterness, only a very light aftertaste of rye and a delicate impression of lemon-lime flavour of citrus zest… “

Here is a link to the full review:

Review: Zirkova Vodka

As well I have included a recipe for the Rustic Breeze, a cosmopolitan style cocktail with a nice raspberry twist.

Please enjoy the review and the cocktail recipe!

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Review: Regalia Vodka

Posted by Arctic Wolf on March 11, 2012

Regalia Vodka is produced in the Russian City of Yaroslavl. It is a wheat based Vodka produced upon from a 5 time distillation process. After distillation the vodka is processed through a series of quartz-sand and birch-charcoal filters to remove any leftover impurities. Regalia then utilizes an additional silver filtration system to bring the Vodka up to the standard which is known in Russia as ‘luxe’ grade.

My friend, Lukasz ,was gifted a bottle complete with an accompanying gift stand and 6 shot glass (see picture below) for Christmas. He could not resist the impulse bring this new spirit to my latest Vodka Tasting event to see how it would compare when sampled blind next to four other Vodkas (Proof, Tito’s, Zirkova, and Citadelle 6C) that we were sampling. We chilled all of the spirits in my freezer before the tasting, and when we sampled them, they were all approximately at a serving temperature of 1 degree Celsius.

Here is an excerpt from my review:

“… Lukasz and I both noticed a sort of yeasty bread dough like aroma arising from our glasses with light hints of citrus. The initial flavour of the Vodka tasted nice with light citrus impressions of lime and a bit of rye-like bite in the mouth… “

Here is a link to the full review:

Review: Regalia Vodka

I included three nice recipes for your enjoyment, the Pink Pussy Cat, the Screwdriver, and the Kamikaze Soda. I hope you enjoy the review and the recipes I provided!

Cheers!


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Review: Tito’s Handmade Vodka

Posted by Arctic Wolf on February 23, 2012

According to their website, Tito’s Handmade Vodka is produced at the oldest legal distillery in Texas in the City of Austin. It is a small batch Vodka produced in a pot still by Bert Butler ‘Tito’ Beveridge (yes, that is apparently his real name). According to the information on the back label of the bottle the spirit is distilled six times from grain, where only the heart of the distillation run is captured to be bottled. The product has enjoyed a remarkable growth in popularity after winning the Double Gold Medal for Vodka at the San Fransisco World Spirits Competition in 2001.

I was given a bottle of Tito’s Handmade vodka by the local distributor, Diamond Estate Wines & Spirits for the purpose of a review here on my website.

Here is an excerpt:

“… When I swallowed my first shot of the Tito’s Vodka, I was impressed that the spirit was extremely smooth and imparted no burn to my throat. There is a certain amount of spicy warmth which is imparted to the palate and to the back of the throat. A sort of lemon aftertaste persists, but it is pleasant and you could almost say that it was refreshing…”

Here is a link to the full review:

Review: Tito’s Handmade Vodka

I have included some nice cocktails with this review, The Vodka Daiquiri, The Vodka Tonic, and The Rustic Breeze.

Please enjoy the review and the accompanying cocktails!

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Review: Proof Vodka

Posted by Arctic Wolf on February 9, 2012

Proof Vodka is a relatively new brand of Vodka produced by Proof Brands. The company currently produces whisky, rum and vodka all of which are bottled at 42 % ABV in unique stubby 500 ml bottles. The brand and the spirits are the creation of Michael Riley, a ten-year veteran of the alcohol beverage industry. Michael spent 5 years as the Director of Spirits for the LCBO (Liquor Control Board of Ontario). He has also has worked with such brands as Crown Royal, Absolut, Captain Morgan, Chivas Regal and Molson Canadian.

As part of the review process, I emailed Michael Riley to learn a little about his vodka. What I learned is that Proof Vodka is triple distilled from wheat which, according to Michael, creates a European style, smooth, clean spirit.  The product is bottled at 42% to highlight the sweetness of the wheat and to bring out the clean citrus notes.

I was recently given a bottle of this Proof Rum by the local distributor of Proof Brands, Diamond Estate Wines & Spirits for the purpose of a review here on my website.

Here is an except:

“… As I poured the Proof Vodka into each shot glass during my recent Vodka tasting I noticed the spirit had a creamy texture. At this cold serving temperature (1 degree Celsius) the Proof displays a clean nose with perhaps a hint of anise and mint in the air above the glass. I also sense some very light citrus, and a touch of grain …”

You may read the full review here:

Review: Proof Vodka

Please enjoy the review and the delicious recipe I have provided for the Vodka Cooler.

Cheers!

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Review: Highwood Premium Vodka

Posted by Arctic Wolf on January 24, 2012

Highwood Vodka is a triple distilled wheat Vodka produced at the Highwood Distillery in High River, Alberta, situated near the foothills of the Rocky Mountains just 30 minutes south of Calgary. This vodka follows the recent trend of low-priced premium vodkas which take up the lion’s share of the market here in Alberta, Canada.

I used my Vodka Review Methodology, putting this spirit through the same paces as I have done for the higher priced spirits which I have reviewed. It turns out that the Highwood Vodka stands up to its higher priced competitors quite well.

Here is an excerpt from the resulting review:

“… There was very little aroma apparent as we raised our shot-glasses to our noses, light wispy bits of starch and grain perhaps, and maybe a touch a citrus zest in the air. As the vodka covered my tongue, my first impression was that this is a rather soft vodka which carries a nice bit of rye-like spice forward. I also seemed to be able taste just a hint of that lime citrus which I had noticed in the aroma…”

Here is a link to the full review:

Review: Highwood Premium Vodka

I have included a a nice cocktail with this review, The Kamikaze.

Please enjoy the review and the accompanying cocktail!

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Review: Signature Vodka (MASV)

Posted by Arctic Wolf on November 10, 2011

M. A. Signature Vodka is a spirits manufacturer based in Montreal, Quebec. They produce what they call a ‘Herbal Infused’ Vodka which is at its heart, a Canadian grain vodka, that has been infused with a rhizome herb called curcumin (a component of turmeric) also called curcuma longa. This herb has a distinctly earthy flavour. It is somewhat bitter, somewhat peppery, and perhaps a little like ginger or mustard. As far as I can tell it has many culinary uses including being used as an ingredient for Indian curry powder.

If you visit the Hang Over Free Vodka website you will see that it is the same as the website for Signature Vodka. That is because Signature Vodka promotes itself as an infused ‘hangover free’ vodka. In fact, the Signature Vodka website devotes a great deal of space to the hangover free concept, as well as other reputed medicinal benefits of curcumin.

The nature of the Signature Vodka website prompted me to email the company and try to get some more information about the herbal infusion. What I was told, is that the infusion is in such small quantities that the FDA, the LCBO and the SAQ could not actually find it using their regular lab tests.  I will be honest and say I really do not know what to make of all of this; therefore my review, for the most part, ignores the herbal infusion and instead concentrates on the merits of this spirit as a Premium Vodka.

Here is an excerpt:

” … We all noticed how there was very little aroma apparent in the  glass, and only wisps of flavour which resembled a faint touch of lemon and a mild citrus spiciness. After the sip, a nice feeling of warmth was imparted to the back of the mouth and into the throat. The Vodka is soft, mild, and very nice … “

You may read the full review here:

Review: Signature Vodka (MASV)

Please enjoy the review and the suggested recipes, the Russian Soldier, The Blue Glacier, and the Harvey Wallbanger!

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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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