Saturday, December 19, 2009

Vodka - The Other White Wine

By Rob Bralow

Oh man.

I need to take a deep breath. I do not do vodka tastings very often and switching gears from wine to vodka is not easy. The tastes are just as subtle and the intrigue of finding vast (and I mean VAST) differences between producers and styles is still lots of fun.

But that alcohol is a kicker!

If you have not done a vodka tasting, I would suggest it. You'll be surprised how different each one can be.

I received several samples in the mail and I was psyched to taste them. I received a bottle of Finlandia, Karlsson's Gold, and Chopin. Finlandia is a barley vodka and Karlsson's and Chopin are both potato vodka. Not even close to fair to compare them all together, but really I have no idea what I am doing with vodka, so I thought I'd just have fun and see what happens.

I did almost exactly what I do when I taste wine, except instead of bowl shaped wine glasses, I put them all in rocks glasses. I am so glad I did, otherwise I would have been hit with a wave of alcohol. The rocks glasses gave me enough air to smooth everything out.

The Finlandia was grassy and light, almost a little sharp. I wanted to mix it with something, which is not a bad thing. There is a reason why there is a healthy mixology culture currently in the US. Mixologists (don't call them Bartenders) need a wide range of products to continue to produce tastes and experiences. Finlandia is definitely an ingredient.

The Chopin was earthy and smooth. This could easily have been a drink by itself or something to mix with. I thought the balance between the grassy notes and earthy minerals was nice.

The Karlsson's Gold was my clear favorite. This was dirty earthy with exciting minerals, and a smooth soul. The taste was rich and almost creamy in texture. This is no mixing vodka. This is what my grandfather would love to have in a rocks glass while sitting on a porch.

A great experience. Now I need to go breath some fire...
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