Beluga Allure Russian Vodka
Review: Beluga Allure Russian Vodka 91.5/100
A Review by Chip Dykstra (Aka Arctic Wolf)
Published June 18, 2013
BELUGA Vodka is produced by JSC Synergy, and it has been in production since 2002, when the first 38 bottles rolled off the production line at the Mariinsk Distillery on December 13th. The history of this plant stretches back 113 years to 1900 when it was built in a remote area of Siberia located in the town of Mariinsk. This town is situated in the Kemerovo Oblast of southwestern Siberia, where the West Siberian Plain meets the South Siberian Mountains. It was apparently constructed in this remote area of Siberia for a very special reason, the Getreidemalz Siberian spring water which is pulled from an aquifer 250 meters below the ground. The special properties of this water (the aquifer contains quartz) are said to make it ideal for making vodka.
Beluga’s Ultra-Premium Allure Vodka is produced from malted spirit and a mixture of softened water and pure Getreidemalz Siberian spring water. Even though the artesian spring water is naturally pure, it must undergo double filtration through quartz sand and a special silver filter. After the spirit and filtered artesian water are mixed, the water-spirit mixture is purified once more as it is filtered three times through a 10.5 meter birch charcoal column filter to complete the purification. At this point in the process, Beluga introduces small amounts of fig extract, and maple syrup. The addition of small quantities of special ingredients is consistent with what I know of traditional European production methods where each distilled vodka has its own recipe and its own special ingredients. It is these special ingredients used in very small proportions which contribute to the individual character of each Vodka. After the ingredients are added, but prior bottling, the Allure Vodka is rested 60 days. This rest period apparently allows the molecular components within to stabilize allowing for a smoother more velvet-like mouth-feel and taste.
I was contacted by the Beluga Vodka Company about three months ago inquiring as to how they could send me a sample of the their super-premium Transatlantic Racing and their ultra-premium Beluga Allure Vodkas. Thanks to the assistance of Thirsty Cellar Imports, who are the local distributors of Beluga Noble Vodka (see my review here), I was able to receive each sample in good order and provide this review on my website.
The First Impression 10/10
The Beluga Allure is promoted as an ultra-premium vodka brand. (The other Ultra premium brand in their portfolios is the previously reviewed Beluga Gold Line.) The brand was created in response to the successes of the Russia’s Beluga Polo Team in various international competition and symbolizes the spirit of this aristocratic sport.
The presentation for the Allure reflects the aristocratic position the company is seeking to occupy with this vodka brand. The bottle is housed in its own leather carrying case as shown to the right. The theme of leather is carried forward upon the label to great effect. The same attention to detail which I noted in my previous reviews for Beluga Gold Line and Beluga Noble Russian Vodka are apparent with the Allure. Of course, the positioning of the brand as an aristocratic indulgence is reflected in the price which varied from $92 to $150 depending upon which online site I found.
The First Sip 18.5/20
As is my way when I sample a Vodka for the first time, I placed my bottle of Beluga Allure Vodka into my deep freeze for several hours before I opened it for the first time. (When I checked the temperature I saw that it was between one and two degrees Celsius which is just about perfect for sipping vodka.
When I brought the spirit to my nose I had a hard time finding any aroma. I was hoping to catch a little wiff of maple syrup, but instead the air above the glass seemed to carry only a delicate hint of fresh bread. Perhaps there was also a vague sort of maltiness as well which gave the breezes above the glass a little sweetness; but there was nothing that reminded me of maple. After a few moments, there also seemed to be a light spiciness apparent which carried just a hint of lemon zest. Although I could not find maple, this was a good beginning.
As I took my first sip, my impression was that the Beluga Allure is very clean and smooth. I noticed a mild lemon zest and light grainy spiciness asserting itself across the palate. There is an ever so soft sweetness, and mild flavours of starch and bread dough seemed to be hinted at. There are even a few rye-like spices which ticked my palate. After I swallowed, I noticed a touch of light bitterness which reminded me of treacle or burnt sugar in the aftertaste.
When I repeated the experience with a much warmer sample (room temperature) my experiences were very similar. That light bitterness was more noticeable, but my enjoyment of the Vodka remained strong.
Taking a Shot 17.5/20
Next, I poured a second amount of the BELUGA Allure into my glass, and swallowed about 1/2 an ounce in my shot glass. As I expected (based upon my experiences with the rest of the Beluga Line-up) the vodka went down smoothly. There was a touch of spicy warmth tapping my tonsils, and after I swallowed, a creeping warmth moved up from my stomach towards my throat. The Vodka carried a light sweetness, hints of grainy spiciness, and a light balsam or lemon flavour. The only deterrent is a light bit of bitterness in the aftertaste. I wonder if this a remnant of the fig extract leaving a light imprint upon the ending of the taste experience?
Again, I repeated the experience the next day with a warmer shot glass poured at room temperature. The vodka was definitely spicier and that lightly bitter aftertaste seemed to have gained a little strength. However the Vodka remained very smooth and I enjoyed myself considerably.
Out for Dinner 18.5/20
The folks at Beluga Vodka are probably a little frustrated with me for my refusal to even attempt to eat a little caviar with their Vodka. It is after all, the recommended pairing for all Beluga Vodka brands. But I know my limitations, and seafood and caviar are definitely not foods which appeal to me. What I decided to do was to go to a local confectioner and pick up a nice assortment of cheeses, sausage and ham. Then I went to the bakery and picked up an assortment of specialty breads, and finally I made a nice batch of my home-made Pepper Pot soup. Then I sat down and sampled the food and the Vodka to see what worked, and what didn’t. In my opinion a good vodka will enhance the enjoyment of almost all types of food, especially salty and spicy foods. It does this by cleansing the plate between bites allowing you to savour the food much more thoroughly.
The Allure Vodka behaves just the way it should. The bread tasted sweeter, the spicy sausages were delightful, and my pepper pot soup seemed to have a richer fuller flavour than usual. It was the cured ham, however that I enjoyed the most. A fresh piece of bread with a slice of fresh Black Forest ham chased down with a shot of Beluga Allure is a wonderful experience.
What I found when I mixed a few cocktails with BELUGA Allure was that this vodka plays very nicely in my favourite cocktails. The Vodka Daiquiri I mixed was very tasty. The flavour of the lime was the centerpiece of the drink, however the Allure seemed to provide just a touch of softness which adds a nice sophistication to the cocktail. This hint of softness and sophistication matches very well with the aristocratic nature of the Beluga Allure Vodka. I also made a nice Vodka Tonic which provided a very similar experience.
Final Score: 91.5/100 (Soft and Sophisticated)
If you are interested in comparing more scores, here is a link to my other published Vodka Reviews.
My first suggestion isn’t a true cocktail. Rather it is simply well chilled Vodka in a large shot glass. This rather simple serving however goes by the well known name, the Russian Soldier. I will make the point that adding ice is not preferred. This is because ice can add bitterness as it melts in a glass of Vodka, especially if the ice was made in your own freezer with tap water.
The Alluring Russian Soldier
(Chill both the vodka and the shot glass in your freezer for a few hours)
2 oz Beluga Allure chilled to just above zero degrees Celsius
No adding Ice!
Serve in a Chilled Shot Glass
Sip the well chilled Vodka slowly and enjoy responsibly!
(This is a great way to enjoy the best Vodkas)
This is a recipe designed for those who want to experience the best that the cocktail realm can provide. This delightful imbibe is not just a bar drink; it is a sophisticated indulgence meant to be enjoyed by those who are not afraid to seek it.
(an Arctic Wolf recipe)
1 oz BELUGA Allure Vodka
1/2 oz Citadelle Reserve Gin
1/2 oz Citronge (Sub Cointreau)
1/2 oz Fresh Squeezed Key Lime Juice
3/4 oz Fresh Squeezed Navel Orange Juice
1/2 oz Sugar Syrup (1:1 ratio)
Lime slice for garnish
Add the first six ingredients into a cocktail shaker with ice
Shake until the sides of the metal shaker frost
Strain into a chilled cocktail glass
Garnish with an lime slice
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)