In this age of modernisation, of progress and globalisation local brews and trades are making a bit of a revival, it’s like the public are bored with the same old coffee shop branded across everywhere; familiarity breeds contempt so they say, and so microbrews have risen up across the land and are marching down to the local pub.

Up north where I live there is indeed a local brewery and their beer is apparently quite nice; but drive several (lots) of hours south to the capital of this fair isle and, should you find yourself in Highgate you’ll find that they have a local distiller there, producing vodka (so stories tell me) in a kitchen and bottling it up to send out tothe world. Behold, the new wave of micro-distilleries have arrived, which makes me almost wonder, what do I need for a still license?

Maybe not, let’s see how someone who’s been doing it for a while copes before I start trying to kill myself with meths.

So; as usual starting with the chilled. Should have put a bit more in this glass really, but let’s see.
Very faint nose, but not sharp, nothing really distinctive, but I can tell that there’s something in that glass and it’s not water. Hmmm… can’t even feel the warmth. Do we have a situation here?

Ok, abandoning the non-frozen glasses, I think they’ve been tainted? If not this this pretty damn smooth. I’ll have to try again to make sure; so I’m going straight to frozen this time. The other two will have to wait, for me until tomorrow and for you a few paragraphs time.

So, frozen. No crystals in the bottle, and it’s been in the freezer for a week; that’s a good sign. Definate nose off of it, but it’s the faint smell of booze rather than flavour, not too bad.
That’s got a burn over the back of the tongue, just a little bit of heat; but nothing for the throat leaving the warmth until you get to the belly. That’s pretty respectable; it’s got a faint boozy taste, not crisp, more, a little raw. A few more sips from the bottle (I’m so classy) and that flavour is building on the tongue, numbing it in a rather pleasant way; now it’s stronger it’s hard to place, a flavour… alcohol; definitely smooth going down still, even after three gulps and nice and warm in the belly. But for the room temperature and chilled I’ll have to wait until tomorrow.

Okay now. Time travel over; time for the chilled.
Very, very faint nose; the merest hint of something there. Thats got a warmth going down, but it nips at the throat a little as it does; lovely warmth in the stomach however. Flavour is there in the mouth, good on the tongue; Just the edge of a tingle on the lips.

Last but not least; room temperature.
No real smell; got a bit of roughness to it, this definitely needs some cold to take the edge off that bite, unless you like something a bit more nippy. Still acceptable however, You get more of a burst of flavour at the back of the throat, that and the bite; maybe… edge of vanilla there. Nice.

The Scores
Quality 7/10 - Smooth, but with a bite at the edge of it. This isn’t silk, but it’s nice quality stuff.

Taste 6/10 - An edge of booze and maybe vanilla gives it a feeling as much as a taste as it goes down.

Presentation 7/10 - Rather a nice label, all in all, the bottle does look more than your average run-of-the mill stuff, looks like it’s had some decent effort there.

Alcohol: 40% volume.

Cost: ~£30 Pretty easy to find stuff, at least online. If you’re passing through highgate, it’s local. Although the pubs there didn’t seem to have it on drip, which is a bit of a shame.

Conclusion: A nice vodka thats above mixing grade, it’s got some aggression in the taste and flavour for when you’ve moved on from the silk and satin grade vodkas; a second tier drink I’d say, definitely not one to mix still as that’s a bit of a waste. Best served frozen, as the cold mixes well with the bite to smooth it off and just let the belly feel the warmth. But if you’re one for something more sharp then have it chilled, gives it an edge.

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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