Review: Regalia Vodka (81/100)
A review by Chip Dykstra (Aka Arctic Wolf)
Posted on April 10, 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 the resulting review for Regalia Vodka:
The First Impression 9/10
The Regalia Vodka arrives in an attractive gift box which features a red mahogany stand which holds the decanter/bottle on top and the 6 included shot glasses down below. The presentation speaks of luxury and decadence and my friend Lukasz loved it from the moment he saw it. He pestered his wife, Connie, daily about the Regalia until, in a moment of weakness, she finally relented and bought it for him for Christmas.
At the Vodka tasting we noted a disappointing feature of the bottle design. The Crystal topper is actually made of plastic not glass, and rather than sealing the bottle the topper covers the true closure which is perhaps the thinnest, flimsiest metallic screw cap I have ever seen. Resealing the bottle with this cap is a nightmare, especially if it happens to fall off the counter and becomes damaged. I removed one point from what would have been a perfect score, as this seemly incongruous element in the presentation speaks to me of corners cut and compromises made.
The First Sip 15.5/20
I am really happy that we decided to do this particular tasting blind so that no one knew what spirit they were sampling. The reactions were honest, and they were not swayed by the cool looking decanter presentation, nor the unsettling flimsy cap. I gave each of my guests a shot glass of Regalia and listened for their reactions.
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. However, the vodka also carried a noticeable ‘grassy’ aftertaste. If not for the aftertaste I would have scored this much higher, but the grassy flavour left over detracted from what had been a very nice experience.
Taking a Shot 15.5/20
‘Shot Style’ the Regalia Vodka was very similar. It seemed smooth going down the throat and even brought a nice warmth up from the stomach; but, the aftertaste we all noticed on the first sip continued to derail our pleasure. I tried the spirit alone in my tasting room a week later, this time at a warmer serving temperature and the grassy flavour was now apparent not only in the aftertaste but, also upon the palate as I sipped and shot the Vodka. I use the term ‘grassy’ to describe the flavour because the flavour of dry sawgrass seems to fit. (I grew up on a farm with a sawgrass meadow which we sometimes cut for hay, Although the memories are dim with time, when I sip and shoot the Regalia I seem to remember that dry sawgrass hay.)
Out for Dinner 15/20
We had a nice assortment of food to sample with the Regalia Vodka. I had made a big pot of pepper pot soup. We also had mini-smokies, pickles, cheddar cheese, miniature tomatoes and bread with spinach dip. Tasting the Reglia with the food was a mixed sort of affair. The Vodka tasted fine with the bread and spinach dip making the bread taste fresher in our mouths, but with the spicier foods like the mini-smokies and the pepper pot soup, the Vodka seemed to be interfering with our pleasure. A good vodka should cleanse the palate between bites allowing the food to have more expression or flavour in the mouth. I suspect that whatever was causing that ‘grassy’ aftertaste coexisted well with bread and veggies but not so well with spice.
At the tasting, I made my standard Cosmopolitan for comparison. I always make the same cocktail at each tasting to use a reference cocktail for our scores. The Regalia makes a sweeter tasting Cosmo than other vodkas we have tried, and it is a nice sort of sweetness that allows the lime in the cocktail to ‘pop’ a bit in the mouth. Everyone seemed to agree that it was solid although not exceptional. I made a few other cocktails for myself over the next few weeks, some simple ones like the Pink Pussy Cat, and the Screwdriver, and some fancier ones like the Kamikaze Soda (see recipes down below). In each cocktail, I was quite happy with the result. The Regalia Vodka seems to be a fine vodka for mixing.
Final Score: 81/100
(Can be Sipped but Recommended for Mixing Cocktails)
The Regalia Vodka is a nice, solid mixing Vodka. However, it is priced at a level which would imply something much more than this. I rarely make comments on price, but in the case of the Regalia and the $70.00 to $80.00 price range I have seen in my locale, I am led to believe that the mahogany gift stand and the six extra shot glasses are a rather expensive indulgence.
If you are interested in comparing more scores, here is a link to my other published Vodka Reviews.
1 1/2 oz Vodka
1/2 Pink Grapefruit Freshly Squeezed
3 Large Ice-Cubes
1/4 oz Grenadine
Add ice to a tumbler or Collins glass
Pour the Vodka and the Grapefruit juice over the ice and stir
Float the Grenadine on top
Serve with a straw
1 1/2 oz Vodka
3 oz Orange Juice (1 Large Navel Orange Freshly Squeezed)
This is one of the easiest of cocktails to prepare.
Squeeze one Large Navel Orange and place the juice in a tumbler with ice
Add the Vodka and Stir
Garnish with an Orange Slice if desired
(And please enjoy responsibly.)
1 1/2 oz Vodka
1 oz Triple Sec
1/2 oz Lime Juice
lime slice for garnish
Add the three ingredients with ice into a metal shaker
Shake until the sides of the shaker frost
Strain into a cocktail glass
Add a few splashes of soda
Garnish with Lime
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)