The Vodkaphiles Review
Made in: Belarus
Distributed/Imported in the US by: American-Belarus Imports
Main raw material: Grain
Expected retail price: $ 32.00
This vodka from the former Soviet republic of Belarus has received numerous awards and honors and is produced by the Belarusan distillery Kryshtal. It is distilled with a unique filtering method that preserves the rich flavors of the natural ingredients, yet removes all the distasteful congeners.
Here are the comments our experts shared on this vodka.
The taste is smooth and velvety, but the aftertaste as well as the aroma are somewhat bitter. The packaging has strong graphics and bold colors. The name is difficult for English speakers and they should consider changing it for distribution in Anglo-American countries.
The bottle is beautiful, but the pouring mechanism was difficult to use the first time, even with the printed instructions. The vodka itself smells highly of alcohol, which is confirmed by the taste. I found it far too harsh; it burns and leaves an aftertaste of pure alcohol -- not pleasant.
Aroma and fragrance: Nose is fairly pungent and with air gets more so. There are faint notes of medicine, charcoal and smoke with a trace of spirityness. Appearance and texture: Pure, clean, clear. Soft, smooth, creamy texture. Medium body, good viscosity. Taste and aftertaste: Tastes of smoke, grain, an oily quality, charcoal, bit of a burn on the finish, with a faint sweetness, a slight alcoholic bite. Product/packaging appearance: Interesting bottle, two-dimensional in that you can see through front label to inside back. Attractive albeit somewhat cluttered.
A vibrant fragrance with licorice undertones, smooth and silky with a strong foretaste that is at first somehow pleasing, but which morphs into a slightly bitter aftertaste. The packaging is interesting: an odd mixture of elegance and Belarusan frumpiness. It does not quite convey the mysticism which the name implies. The self-sealing top is a nice touch -- giving a sense of striving for purity even after the bottle is opened.
I foudn this vodka difficult to open. The design of the bottle was strong in concept but weaker in execution. The taste itself is somewhat harsh; this product would probably be more suitable for a mixed drink than straight.
Soft, citric, stone fruit and greena pple aromas with hints of herbaciousness and brine with substantial spice, mint and tarragon. Somewhat viscous in mouthfeel with recurring spice, herbal tarragon like componant that masks the fleeting citric presence. Finishes a bit hot, with a bitter herb character. While flavorful and relatively intense, offers conflicting green flavors with lesser balance or harmony. Package is pleasantly attractive, with nice color compliment. Pourers are problematic as frost bite was eminent if the bottle was inverted any longer.
Our vodka experts are dispersed around the country, tasting the very best vodkas. We do not gather together in one place, engage in Groupthink, and otherwise influence one another's opinions. Each expert has their own tastes, preferences and quirks (but we share a tasting methodology). We feel all of this contributes to more interesting, honest results.
It is worth noting that, in our scoring, we use the full 100 point scale, not just the top 10 or 20 points of it. We don't believe in grade inflation, and we consider a score of 80 or above to be the mark of a fine vodka. The final scores tallied above are the average scores of our seven vodka experts from around the country.