I remember being very impressed when I first saw a bottle of vodka with a winding crystal sculpture of a dragon inside the bottle - how do they get it in there? Magic!
This bottle is the same brand, or family, and still impressive but there is more room for vodka. It turns out there are two types of this vodka; The crystal dragon bottle and this, still very impressive, black with an engraved style pattern of a dragon.

Given that I haven’t yet broken into the world vodka review forums I decided on the cheaper option; the bottle is still pretty impressive, but the price shows that for higher end vodkas you are paying as much for the art as you are the drink itself. It’s why I decided to do a presentation category for marking, after all a lot of people go to a lot of trouble to make very pretty bottles, I wouldn’t want them to think all their efforts were for naught.

This is a Russian vodka and it’s interesting to me that there’s a small sticker added over the label at the bottle that masks out only the volume. Strange. Anyway it’s a beautiful design as you can see.

But is it any good? First stop - the chilled.

It’s got a smell, the smell of alcohol about it, but nothing that bites at the nose. Something that tells you that what you’re about to drink is little water (which is what ‘vodka’ means in slavic). This is a bit viscous, which is good. A bit of warmth on the tongue, a nice warmth, almost a burn, but on the right side of it. It goes down a treat and that warmth floods out into the belly, smooth as anything going down, no bite there in the throat. But more warmth on the tongue with a second gulp. Nice stuff.

Now from the freezer, the cold has soothed that burn on the tongue and made it even better. The bite is a clash between warm and cold and that is really nice. Still smooth as anything going down, all the way to a delicious feeling in the belly. Mmmm.

Room temperature. Not any nose really that I can smell. Well, I’ve got a nose, but the vodka hasn’t got one. Or any smell, not that I can make out. It’s got an edge of roughness to it, nothing serious, but after how smooth it is chilled and frozen it’s a bite. This dragon definitely has a bit of flame to it. The bite is just at the edge of the throat when you swallow however, it’s still smooth going down and warm in the belly. Good stuff.

The Scores

Quality 9/10 - I can see I’ll maybe have to expand out these ratings a bit. It’s not as smooth as the milk vodka, but this has more character. A bit of flame or bite. When people tell me vodka is boring this is the sort of vodka they should try, a nip of fire on the tongue and then smooth going down. Very nice.

Taste 7/10 - No taste I can detect, but it has a delicious viscosity even when at room temperature which gives it a nice feel on the tongue.

Presentation 8/10 - A beautiful golden dragon on a black bottle, it’s really striking. If you’re flush and get the crystal dragon, that’s a straight ten staring right at you.

Alcohol 40% by volume.

Cost £37

This is vodka with character. It has bite that doesn’t make you gasp, smoothness that is good to swallow down and warmth that gives you that good boozy feeling all over. This is really nice stuff, if you know someone who likes impressive bottles and good strong alcohol give them this.
Best served from the freezer into cold glasses, the bite from the alcohol tempers really well with the chill from the cold, it’s a great combination.

Emotional state should probably be taken into account if you’re going to be scientific; but since when does that come into context in a blog? A blog is all about the emotions. The ranting, the personal opinion and the kicking your brain out there to let it run around like a fevered lemmings amongst the hapless souls who are (un)lucky enough to encounter your witterings.

Which is a rather long winded way of saying, I need a drink.

Thankfully tonights selection promises to be much better than the last one (which incidentally is still at the same level it was a week ago, which just goes to show how bad it is)

Tonight I sup on distilled milk; well, you can make vodka out of just about anything, boot polish, tank fuel and of course cow juice. This is a brand from deepest Dorset and in an excellent nod to history it has a gold cap as well. Gold top vodka, what could go wrong?

First, let’s try the chilled from the fridge because it’s going to warm up soon. Not much nose to it, very subtle flavour, it might be my brain saying “cream” but it does have an almost faint silkly milky texture to it and damn, damn it goes down smoothly; there’s just no burn at all; no burn until about five seconds later a delicious warmth fills your stomach. Now, bare in mind this stuff is a stronger vodka as well, 40%. That is silk in a glass.

Winding it back a notch I’ll try the room temperature shot next. This has been taunting me all evening sitting next to the sink, it’s lucky I just didn’t chug it earlier. But after the smoothness of the chilled chugging this would be like chugging 20 year old single malt, it’s doing the drink a great disservice.
Still no appreciable nose, well, it’s not got a face of course but there’s no smell, corny old dog jokes aside. Not always a bad thing. Ooooo, that is good. And room temperature as well; no burn, more lovely lovely warmth, I can’t pinpoint a taste really, it’s just more a lovely soft feeling that tells you that this is definitely not water here. Which is probably just as well, because this stuff goes down like water.

No smell from the frozen, but I wasn’t really expecting any. Ooo, but that gives it a bit of burn, the freezer has actually given it a bit of bite, nothing fierce about that at all, but it’s a little nip at the back of your throat as it just slides down. Scuse me… another chug later (out of shot glasses, so it’s from the bottle) flavour is building and the heat is as well; so this has got a lot of potential to cater it exactly to how you like your drink.

And just in case you’re worried? On the back of the bottle it does say, suitable for lactose intolerance. Nice.

The Scores

Quality 9/10 - This stuff is amazing smooth, there’s few vodkas I’ve tried that have been this silky smooth, If you like it with a bit of bite, stick it in the freezer, otherwise, you’d barely feel the burn until it’s in your belly. Delicious. About the only thing I’d like is a bit more viscosity, it feels like water almost but damn, damn it’s good.

Taste 7/10 - It builds on you and your mind tells you it’s cream, well mine does anyway, it also tells me that the space monkeys are preparing their tutus for a line dance so maybe this isn’t a perfect assessment. That said, it’s very, very subtle. But for something this smooth it’s amazing. Since there’s little taste you’d be forgiven for thinking it’d be an ideal mixer, and I think you’re right but something this good really shouts out to be drunk neat just because it’s so nice.

Presentation 8/10 - A clear bottle with classy text and that gold cap really give it that old ‘milk bottle’ like look to it, very clever really, right down to the dancing cow on the bottle.

Alcohol - 40% by volume

Cost - ~£30. Master of malt is selling it for £28 which is damn good.

Conclusion: This is an amazingly smooth vodka, really fantastic quality. I don’t know how many times they’ve distilled it (no info on the bottle or website) but I don’t care, they’ve done a fantastic job. What’s more this is the vodka to wave under the noses of people who say that vodka can only be made from wheat, rye or spuds. Best temperature to serve will depend on your taste, if you want a bit of bite, freeze it. But I’d recommend just chilling it in the fridge, just for that nice cool feel down the throat before the warmth that follows. Delicious. Now if you excuse me, I have to go drink some milk…



February 2015

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