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.



February 2015

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