There is a long tradition of taking something that tastes nice and thinking, “Do you know what, what this really needs is alcohol.” and so that line of thought brings me to my first freebie review; a little 5 cl bottle of the Welsh toffee vodka ‘Toffoc’. Being an entirely professional reviewer it being free will naturally not affect affect my review - after all if price was a factor the £12 bottle of liquid petrol I reviewed the first time would have got a much better ride.

Anyway, one question that I have pondered often is what is the difference between schnapps and flavoured vodka? There’s three things really, I think, the first is alcohol content, schnapps tends to be lower alcohol than flavoured vodka, typically around 20%, whereas flavoured vodkas tend to be anything from 25% up to 50%. More booze for your money. The second thing is sugar, schnapps usually has a loads more of it than a flavoured vodka. Thirdly flavoured vodkas usually just involve dropping whatever flavour thing you want into the vodka and leaving it; schnapps is a bit more of an involved process. Historically schnapps was made from fruits rather than grains and was sweet - but these days the larger brands are just a neutral spirit filled full of sugar with added flavouring - bam - you’ve got a schnapps; so it’s a bit of a grey area at times.

Which brings me to the chilled glass of Toffoc.

Smells good. A soft smell of caramel, very distinct, not quite butterscotch levels of toffee flavouring but a mild smell of toffee not burnt. Not very viscous. But it tastes like liquid toffee, there’s utterly no burn on the lips, mouth, or throat and it was about a good four seconds before I felt the warmth from it in my belly. This is really smooth stuff. Rolling it around in the mouth the caramel taste is lovely, not cloying, the watery aspect of the drink makes it more refreshing than sticky. Delicious.

Frozen. Thankfully it’s not frozen solid, as lower level alcohols can freeze, I’ve even seen bottles of vodka freeze (Usually lower quality stuff) but this is still entirely liquid. No signs of crystals in the liquid either. The smell is a lot more muted, I can barely smell the toffee at all. However the freezer has brought out the warmth a lot more, that’s science folks! I can feel the heat from the alcohol sliding over my tongue, but there’s no burn at the back of the throat, or any burn down until once again I get a nice warmth in my belly. Nice. Freezing it has made it very slightly more viscous, but only a little.

Room temperature. Not so much scent as the chilled again, strange but there you go. The flavour is a little watery actually at room temperature, it’s a little disappointing after the chilled. The flavour is still nice, no burn at all; lips, tongue, nothing. Warm in the belly again, but needs some chill to pick it up a bit.

The Scores

Quality 8/10 - This is very smooth stuff, it’s helped considerably I suspect by being a lower alcohol content than most vodkas but it’s still a hefty 20% but there’s no heat at all. Really impressive for a flavoured vodka.

Taste 8/10 - If you like toffee, and I do, the chilled taste is just delicious. It’s warm in the belly and like drinking a really nice caramel sweet, really nice stuff. If you’ve not got a sweet tooth then you’ll probably still be alright, it’s not sickly at all. Good stuff.

Presentation 4/10 - It’s a pretty plain stick-on label on a plain bottle. Nothing fancy, a nice-ish logo and a little Welsh dragon.

Alcohol 20% by volume.

Cost £15 plus delivery. This is actually pretty hard to find, my local off-license told me that they’re looking to distribute further afield; but unless you’re in Wales where they distribute to ASDA and SPAR you’re out of luck as the shipping costs are pretty steep. If you’re in Wales, buy it and bring me a bottle back too. http://www.toffoc.com

This is a delicious flavoured vodka. If you like toffee and alcohol you’ll not go wrong with this at all; smooth and well flavoured this is a great find. Definitely best served chilled, the cold brings out the flavour and makes it that bit more delicious, warm it’s a bit of a pale shadow of it’s chilly self.



February 2015

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