Are all vodka brands that come in this kind of bottle good, or are there exceptions?
Last time I reviewed a vodka brand I was listening to Black Flag. Good times. Tonight is very different, though. Wanna know what it is I am listening to tonight? I am sorry, I cannot say. It is so unspeakably heavy, I must never tell you what it is. My apologies. Okay. If you insist. Here it is: ..
Who is Otto Winkelhausen and what could he have done to make this a better vodka?
I am listening to Black Flag while I am writing this. „TV Party“ is one of the biggest hits ever. Good for drinking or writing about drinking. As I was going through my vodka findings from Poland, this one somehow appeared before me: Starogardzka vodka. I don’t speak Polish, but the bottle featured a dude…
Is this vodka really polar, and what the hell is wrong with that cap?
This one is called Amundsen vodka, and it hails from Poland. I bought it there, along with several other fine bottles of V. Then I took them home to Hamburg and lined them up along the wall in the place where I live. It was beautiful
Can the biggest distiller in the country hold up to its other East European rivals?
This one is called Stumbras Pure vodka, and it is from Lithuania. I didn’t get it there, though, I bought it on a trip to Poland, thinking it was from there. Looking back, I think I must have looked a bit weird at the grocery store when my whole shopping cart was filled with different vodka bottles. But anyway..
When we are only talking about taste and aftertaste, does it make a difference if it’s kosher or not?
Remember a while ago when I went to Poland to visit the Auschwitz concentration/extermination camp? I stayed there for a few days and made a short video, my way of dealing with it, I guess. Anyway before I left, I did another thing: I..
If the vodka itself is good, then why don’t you give it a better-looking bottle?
Kyrgyzstan. Sanatorium of Jeti Oguz. There was clean mountain air, and there was many a drink. This one was the last and final vodka brand that came after Kyrgyz Aragy, after Ular, and after Atanbaj. You could probably say that it was the straw that broke the..
How do I know if this vodka is real?
This vodka came as part of Karel’s gift to me – two bottles, one of Rudolf Jelinek Plum and one of this. It was called Hanacka vodka. I took it home and opened it ceremoniously, pouring a shotglass and cutting a slice of..
Does this vodka really taste like plums?
Rudolf Jelinek Plum vodka – I got this one as a gift from my friend Karel the last time I was in Prague. And I can tell you, that guy really enjoyed a clever lead up.
„Do you like beer?“ He asked me in a most conversational tone.
„I like it, but I don’t know much about it.“ I replied. After all, I was in the land of beer.
„Well, then what do you…
Is this vodka different from other brands because it is blended?
I got this one in a mall in Prague, and to this day I am not sure what it is actually called. Is it Blend 42? Or rather 42 Blended vodka? I looked it up online and chose to go with the latter. Also, it apparently has a new bottle design now, meaning I got one of the old bottles. But I am not sure if I understood all this..
Is this vodka much better (or just whiter) than the regular Smirnoff stuff?
This one is called Smirnoff White vodka, and it’s from the UK. I picked it up in a duty free somewhere in an airport (I think it was in Istanbul), and that’s exactly where you are supposed to find it – it’s apparently only available in airports around the world.
At first I was a bit sceptical. I had..
Will this vodka be as good as I want it to be, and why does the Khan look so angry?
Well, this one was a first as well – Chinggis Gold vodka, a brand from Mongolia!
I had heard about Mongolian vodka before. I had heard that it was supposed to be the smoothest of them all, a liquid dream of green, rolling hills, a product so clear and so fresh that getting drunk felt like riding a wild…
Can the land of beer also produce some good vodka?
This one is a first: Pražská, or Prazska vodka if you want, is from the Czech Republic! I bought it when I went to Prague in order to give a presentation there. Or a lecture, as some might call it. But then I don’t like the sound of that very much. “Lecture” sounds like..
Is this one just de luxe in name or is it really that good?
Behold! This one is called Беленькая Люкс – Belenkaya Luxe vodka, and it is not from Kyrgyzstan, even though I bought it there. No, it is from Russia! I was in Cholpon-Ata when I tried it, a beach resort on the northern shore of Issyk-kul. It was a few weeks after that tumultuous night of Jeti Oguz, the hangover had passed, and I…
Is taste or aftertaste more important when we are talking about vodka?
Атанбай – Atanbaj vodka. This one is – surprise, surprise – from Kyrgyzstan. And it was also part of the infamous drinking night of Jeti Oguz.
By the time we opened this bottle, we were four people, and our faces were red and our gestures uncertain. We were trying to balance the intake of vodka by drinking huge amounts of..
Is there anything special about this vodka or is it just regular booze in a nice bottle?
Ular. Another vodka from Kyrgyzstan. This was the second bottle that graced our table during the „night of many drinks“ in Jeti Oguz. Night had fallen outside, the horses were coming home from the pastures, and we had just finished dinner and a very good bottle of Kyrgyz Aragy. What were we going to do…
Just how awesome is high-class vodka from Kyrgyzstan really?
This one was the first upper segment vodka that I ever tried in the beautiful country of Kyrgyzstan. Does that mean it was expensive though? No. I paid around 300som for 700ml (about 4€), making this another 10/10 in terms of affordability. But what about the other factors that..
Will the Kyrgyz alphabet save an otherwise mediocre vodka from oblivion?
Көк Бөру – Kök Böru vodka (or Kok Boru vodka, if you want). This one is from Kyrgyzstan (like the few others before it), and it even has specific Kyrgyz letters in its name: the „ө“ is usually transliterated as „ö“. Awesöme!
Is this vodka theme revolving around horses or around dances?
This one is called Кара Жорго – Kara Jorgo vodka. In the Kyrgyz language, kara means „black“, and jorgo means a certain „pacer“ horse, so that would make it a „black horse“ – what a fine name for..
How important is good aftertaste in a vodka?
This is Аю – Ayu Vodka, and it’s from Kyrgyzstan. Actually, there are three brands of this vodka, one comes in a green bottle (таежная – Taigan), one in a white bottle with a red label (юбилейная – Jubilee) and one in a white bottle with a..
Why would anyone advertise anything with the words „harmful impurities“?
Zero. In a world of corporate branding, this seemed like a pretty good name for a vodka: short, meaningful, easy to remember. „Hey, what have you been drinking?“ „Zero.“ I bought this half-liter for 150 som (less than 4€/700ml: 10/10) in a tiny..
What does the name Vivat have to do with the vodka, and will it be as good as Ozon?
This one is called Vivat, and it’s also from Kyrgyzstan. In fact, the next few vodka brands are ALL going to be from the Kyrg. I really should have updated the blog earlier, but..
Does oxygen-enriched vodka taste different, and would it be good for you if you drank a lot of it?
Hanging out at a hostel with a heavy cold, I didn’t know what to do with myself. So I went into this small shop somewhere and asked the guy..
Do Russian billionaires drink this stuff in those elite clubs they have?
When I first laid eyes on this one I thought: who in his right mind could say no to a name like that?! It came in a box that looked nice and stylish but..
Is this vodka recommendable for people who are not fans of Socialist nostalgia items?
The first thing that struck me about this one was its name and design: Back In USSR, with a hammer and a sickle. Was this supposed to be a sign of political nostalgia? Or just a humorous..
Can this herbal vodka still be considered a vodka at all, and should you drink it straight?
Normally when you drink a flavored vodka like Georgievskaya Birch, like Kalinovaya or Nemiroff Honey Pepper, it’s just regular vodka that has just been..
Surely the Swiss can make good vodka, but can they make a vodka that’s excellent?
Again, vodka marketing is not so much about the taste of the product, but about brand image. You have to somehow make your customers believe that they are buying into a..
Will this honey pepper infused vodka be as good as Nemiroff Honey Pepper?
This vodka actually has a nice golden color, but you can’t see it now because when I got the camera out, the bottle was already empty. Sorry I took the..
What does oak wood taste like, and if we put it in a bottle of vodka, will it be any good?
This „oak vodka“ came to me from Poland via a German grocery store, and there was some sort of wooden shaving in the bottle, reminding me of the bison grass in Żubrówka or the wheat ear in..
If there is a legend about the Kremlin, can we really expect to find it in a bottle of vodka?
This one is a premium brand like so many others. And like so many others it boasts a long tradition and some of the closest ties to Czar’s Family. There is apparently even..
Is it justified to expect a certain smoothness in vodka, or can it be an animal and still be good?
When I drink vodka, I am usually looking for two things: smoothness and aroma. I like my vodka to go down easily, as if it really is just a kind of „little water“. And I it to have an aromatic aftertaste, something..
Will the second contender coming in a plastic bottle be any better than the first one?
This original vodka was better than its cannabis version. Also, it wasn’t 100 proof but 80 proof, making it a lot easier to..
Why would anyone want to drink vodka that has been infused with… weed?
Okay, 100 proof vodka is nothing new, but this one has apparently been infused with cannabis. Cannabis? you ask, isn’t that for smoking in legal environments or..
Should this orange + lime flavored vodka be consumed straight, or is it meant for mixed drinks?
The first thing you notice when you open the bottle is the smell. I hope all the flavoring in this product has been done naturally, because the..
Are grapes the future of vodka making, or is this just a niche product for the affluent drunk hipster?
I have said it before: It’s fun to try new things. When I picked this one up in the store I thought: well, Bree vodka wass made from grapes as well, and it was pretty good, so..
Some vodka brands are more popular than others without actually tasting better, why is that?
Skyy is a vodka brand from the US that was established in the 90s, and it now seems to have taken over the club scene. It is using aggressive..
What do vodka manufacturers have to do in order to establish a brand image that is young and sexy?
I think the people at Bazic were trying to come up with a brand name that was cool and unique. So they took the word „basic“, but since „basic“ seemed a bit too..
Is this brand name hilarious, or is it just further proof that humor doesn’t improve from drinking?
You know how sometimes you get an idea stuck in your head, a totally random idea, and you just can’t get rid of it? To me, it was the idea that..
If there is there a way to make 100 proof vodka taste good, can Belvedere find it?
There is a popular legend that goes like this: back in the 19th century, Russian scientist Dmitri Mendeleev came up with a state standard for..
Is there anything reasonable I can say about this vodka after a long drunken night?
First of all, I have to apologize to the good people at Ogni Kremlya, because this review is probably not going to do them much justice. I usually try not to..
Is it a good idea to be infusing vodka with horseradish, or is it an insult to the senses?
Does the thought of mixing horseradish with vodka sound horrible to you? Well, it didn’t to me. Not before I tried it. I thought: well, I have
Does it make a difference that this vodka was made from grapes, and does it even have the right to call itself a vodka?
Human beings enjoy coming up with rules and regulations – we like to invent standards for things. Sometimes this makes sense: what if all trains were riding on different track widths? We would be living in..
What do mothers have to do with getting drunk on vodka, or is it all just part of a clever branding campaign?
I got this because it was so weird. It came in a box with white cotton wool around it, and it said that you were supposed to cherish thy mother or something, and I was like: since when..
If there is nothing particular to be said about a certain vodka, is that a good thing or a bad thing?
There is little to be said about this one, at least from me. It was the same scenario as usual: a group of friends, something to..
Is spending fifty euros for a bottle of vodka in any way justifiable in terms of product quality?
I guess there is always something to celebrate. I had seen this bottle in a rare foods store in downtown Munich before, and it had immediately..
Will this be the one that is really and unmistakenly from Belarus, and will it be any good?
I got this one from the same online-shop where I got Kalinovaya, and just like when I bought Kalinovaya, I didn’t think this would be special at all. The reason why..
Is this much better than the original Nemiroff or has someone just fallen victim to some tricky advertising?
So I finally found the vodka that I had seen in the Lady Gaga video back when I tried the regular Nemiroff! I figured if it’s good enough for the her, then it’s good enough for..
Is this the prettiest bottle design ever, and what do rowan berries really taste like?
I got this from a store on-line, and to be honest, I decided to buy it because the price seemed reasonable (ca. 13€/700ml: 8/10). I didn’t pay much..
Can vodka that comes in a plastic bottle and calls itself „imperial“ be any good?
This one was 50% alcohol. I initially bought it because I needed a disinfectant for a blister on my foot. When you have a blister, you need to..
Is adding some interesting flavors to an otherwise solid product enough to make it excellent?
After having tried the regular Nemiroff and finding it merely reliable, I wasn’t overly excited to go into any of its flavored varieties, but the lady at the..
Is this one of those luxury editions that are not much better than the originals?
There has to be something special for you to celebrate if you are going to drink a vodka like this. At least that’s the way it is for me. I would always rather..
What would be a good way to enjoy this vodka, and is it really from Belarus anyway?
Is it me or do I have a hard time finding out where these Belarusian vodkas are from? It was the same with Etalon, which I eventually declared to be Russian after meditating over the issue for a while. This one might be..
Is this one really the Holy Grail of bison-grass flavored vodkas, or is it just part of the hype?
Remember when I tried Grasovka and I liked the flavoring but not the vodka itself? Well this one, Grasovka’s bigger brother from the old country, was a total..
Does a vodka have to be smooth in order to be enjoyable, or is it good enough if it’s just fun?
This one was from Finland, made in what was supposed to be the “most northern distillery in the world” or something. Samaani means shaman, and there is a neat little..
Does it mean putting too much pressure on yourself if you name your vodka brand Smooth?
Interesting bottle design, but what a whacky name! That’s about what I thought when I picked this one up. But the vodka was surprisingly..
Where is this stuff really from, and if we don’t know where it is from, do we even care?
The first thing I noticed about this vodka was obviously the shape and color of its bottle. It had the feel of something traditional. I tried to find out..
Is this sparkling vodka something like a practical joke, or does it really taste good?
I got this because I wanted to celebrate the fact that I had finally turned in the manuscripts for my books. After so many months of toiling and of self-doubt, it felt like..
If an organic vodka has a greenish hue to it, is that a good sign or a bad sign?
This one was another gift from a friend. Probably the best thing about keeping this review blog is that people always know what to give me for my birthday. Gone are the..
Was this vodka specifically designed in order to help guys get girls drunk in the clubs?
For some reason, I was sure that this was going to suck. It felt like this was a sort of disco vodka, something that dancing girls drink when they are..
Can this one be as good as the Finnish classic drink Koskenkorva (which they call Kossu)?
If I am not mistaken, Finlandia is produced by the same state-owned Finnish company that makes Koskenkorva. But it’s not the same stuff. While Kossu..
What will a real pro say about this vodka, and is the word „noble“ in any way justified?
Last night I had Alpha Noble with a pro. This one is a French brand, and it’s not cheap. “What do you think?” the pro asked me after the first..
What’s with the historical Russian names on foreign vodka bottles, and will the vanilla flavoring be any good?
This was kind of weird. It’s as if only German vodka brands use the names of Russian personalities to boost their sales. You have Gorbatschow Blue Label from Germany, and then you have Puschkin, also from..
Does it change anything to put a wheat ear in a vodka bottle, and what’s with the import business?
I initially wanted to try this because it had a wheat ear in the bottle (you can hardly see it in the picture, but it’s there). Many vodka brands try to get your attention by..
With a bottle looking so much like Belvedere or the Goose, will this one be of the same immaculate quality?
You know how I am always obsessing about “smooth” vodka? Well, this one wasn’t exactly that. When you look at the bottle, you can’t help but..
Can anything that bears the same name as the singer of one of the world’s most terrible music groups be any good?
I can’t help it: whenever I hear the latin word „vox“ (voice), I immediately think of that terrible, terrible singer/sunglass-rack who calls himself „Bono Vox“. I dislike him so much I don’t even know where to..
This one has a solid reputation and was even recommended by my physician, but is it really that good?
My physician likes to talk about things. Whenever I show up, there is always something that both have an interest in. Sometimes it’s Russia. Sometimes it’s politics. And this one time, it was actually..
Will this eco-friendly vodka stand a chance against 360, and if it doesn’t, is it still worth a try?
Have you noticed how most things that are eco-green are actually really green (as in the color: green)? It’s as if there was an unwritten law that everything that wants to be eco-friendly has to..
What’s wrong with this cork cap and how important is it to attach a picture of a random hot chick to a vodka bottle?
I got this – once again – from the never ending reservoir of the little Russian shop around the corner. They seem to be always getting new..
Is it justified that this stuff is so popular in mixed drinks, and if so, does that mean it’s not good?
I got this as a present, so I was a bit more excited than usual (you know I am almost always excited to try out new stuff). So we sat down, prepared the..
Has the North become predictable, or are we in for a surprise with this vodka?
I thought vodka brands from the North were all the same: strong quality, good in drinks, nothing exceptional. That seemed to be..
Is there anything you can mix this with in order to make it appealing to the tastebuds?
Tried something new the other day: Starka – Polish vodka that has apparently aged 10 years in an oak barrel. Kind of looked like..
Was giving this vodka an imperial name a mistake, or was it smart marketing for an excellent product?
Almost every time I go to the little Russian shop around the corner to buy vodka, I ask them: “Do you have that Czar-vodka? And they never seem to..
Why are Polish vodka brands generally so awesome, and is this one an exception to the rule?
The very first thing you notice about this vodka is the bottle design: my friend Max intelligently pointed out that he would have preferred the cap to be the same diameter as the bottle, but we..
Is there a reason to try Russian Roulette, or should we just stick to our guns and drink other stuff?
I found this in a huge grocery store in Munich. And with huge I mean huge, like you couldn’t even find your way out unless you..
Is this the vodka brand with the best advertisement campaign ever, or do they need to put a tiger in there somewhere?
Here’s what you have to do: google the name Байкал Водка. Trust me! Not only does it have a cool design that resembles a deep, deep lake (well, the Baykal Lake, duh!), but there is also a..
Was it really worth digging deep down into my pocket just to have a few sips of the Goose?
I had been looking at this bottle in the store window for a long time. But just like Belvedere, it always seemed too expensive. So when I signed my second book deal (yes, we’re making a travelogue and an illustrated..
Why is this vodka called deluxe, and why is it not enough to just have a product that is decent?
I got this in the Russian store around the corner. I just pointed at it in the shelf and bought it. There was no use..
If this vodka is eco-friendly and even comes in a special bottle with a swing-top cap, will the taste still be okay?
This vodka is supposed to be “eco-friendly” – not only the bottle (note the swing-top cap) but also the production process. But what about the..
If this vodka has such a big name, will it be able to live up to it, or will it fail?
I got this in the same store where I had found Most Wanted before. And I got it in a..
Can this classic vodka live up to its name, and by the way: what is its name anyway?
I stayed in and had some of that good Stolichnaya today: a Russian brand that seems to be mainly targeted at foreign markets. The guys on..
What is the one ingredient that you must have in order to turn your vodka brand into a success?
This one is a Texan vodka that claims to be “handmade” – I never found out what that actually meant, but I figured it had something to do with..
Why should this be in your brown paper bag when you are leaving the liquor store?
I wasn’t expecting anything when I got this at the liquor store in Wichita. Good thing was I got it in a..
Is this any good, and is it even possible to pass judgement on a vodka brand from tastings like these?
I am thinking about the difficulties in vodka tasting these days. Vodka brands don’t differ as much in taste as do other liquors, say whiskey for example. Also, ..
When you drink this, will you feel the freshness of Siberian lakes or just the percentage of alcohol?
Like I said before, every vodka needs a certain angle to reach its customers. This one is marketing itself as being cool and fresh from a..
Is this drinkable even if you don’t believe in aliens or the new Indiana Jones flick?
How lucky I was that I hadn’t seen that infamous new Indiana Jones movie yet – my desire to drink from any sort of Crystal Head would have been instantly..
What do pine trees really taste like and why did I fail to notice them in this vodka?
Actually, I didn’t even notice the note about the pine tree flavoring until I had already finished most of the stuff. I started..
If this is so good, then why do the people who sell it not drink it themselves?
I got this at the Russian store around the corner. It (the store) is called „Russian Standard“, and it has all kinds of..
Do all Nordic vodka brands have something in common, and why is this stuff so cool?
When I set eyes upon it first, I thought there was something cool about this bottle. And with cool, I actually mean..
Has anybody tried all the different flavored editions of this brand, and are they even worth trying?
When I was working at Élysée Montmartre in 2003, we used to sell mainly one vodka brand, and that one was called: Absolut. I didn’t drink any alcohol when I..
Is there anything to be learned from drinking, and what does bread have to do with vodka?
It had been a pretty good day: First I managed to get some books from the library, then I wrote more words in two hours than I had written the day before that. After that I had dinner with..
Did I drink this because of Lady Gaga, or was there another reason, like maybe the taste?
Apparently, this brand was featured in a pretty popular music video, so I ended up watching a semi-nude chick bounce around a futuristic Russian bathhouse for five minutes. And now I..
Who in the world would have expected this relatively unknown brand to be so utterly awesome?
I didn’t expect much. Another bottle made of stylish frosted glass, another cool name, another brand that sells image, not taste. That’s about..
Does a vodka brand have to be old and established in order to be truly great?
In fact this vodka was the reason why I started this blog in the first place: one night I was hanging out in some friends‘ kitchen having a bottle of Russian Standard with them. In walks another dude and..
Why is a Polish vodka that Polish people don’t drink so popular in Germany, and what’s with the straw in the bottle?
Yes, this is another one of those flavored vodka brands. This one is flavored with buffalo grass, and if you look closely, you can even see that there is one straw in the bottle. If there isn’t, you..
Is it true that you can’t find any worse vodka than this one, and if it is true, why is the Fürst still around?
I got weird looks from my friends when I brought home this stuff. Why would I even waste my time with something that even teenagers would only touch with..
Is this lower-shelf classic good for anything or is it just a generic money-making brand?
I didn’t expect much from this. It is a widely available lower-shelf product from Germany with a generic name, what was there too expect? But it actually..
Why is this one of the most popular vodka brands in this part of the world?
Word has it that right after the end of the Cold War, a lot of the Russian solders stationed in parts of Germany loved to spend their pay on..
Is this just some liquor in a pretty bottle or is it really one of the best vodka brands around?
I had been eyeing this bottle for a while in a small store around the corner. But at 32€ for 700ml, it had always seemed..
Is this just another washed up legend, or can it still live up to old expectations?
It is one of the most popular brands in Russia. It is affordable, reliable, and you can find it virtually everywhere. I have talked to quite a few Russians who told me that..
Can a bit of Platinum make any difference, and is it worth the extra money?
It seems as though every decent vodka brand needs to have at least one „luxury“ offspring. Think of it like Toyota and Lexus: here is a big brand that..
Is the hefty price tag on this vodka brand really justified, or is it just another luxury hype?
There was one thing I particularly liked about it: the name, because it reminded me of Konstantin von Kaufman (Константин фон-Кауфман), the first Governor-General of Russian Turkestan in the 19th century. Still, after all..
This one is called Beluga vodka. And it’s one of the finest brands you can find in the whole of Russia. One of the best vodka brands is named Beluga vodka – after a whale It’s a premium vodka. It also comes in a gift box edition together with a little brush that you can ..
Is this what happens when you try to come up with something even more awesome than the original?
I am a great fan of Russian Standard, in fact that was the first vodka that I really liked. So when I found out that..
Does filtering with milk make any difference, and what is so awesome about this brand name?
Isn’t it funny how vodka brands are often trying to sell a certain image? It’s as if the stuff itself just wasn’t..
Is this true deluxe or is it just another regular ass vodka with a nice name on the label?
If you’re like me, you are wondering about the name of this vodka right now. Isn’t anything that has a word like „imperial“ in it either..
What does ginseng aroma have to do in an all-black bottle with tiger scratch marks?
I remember riding a bus through Vladivostok one day. There was this big guy sitting next to me, and I asked him..
Is this vodka too good to be cooled before consumption?
I didn’t cool this. I had it at room temperature, with some nice Russian pickles and some bread and some clear water as a chaser. Like a..
Is there a particular soft drink that can become this vodka’s best friend?
Actually, it is a bit hard to pass judgement on a drink that has sent you to the restroom wondering if you are going to..
Where exactly is the tradition in this vodka?
I hadn’t been planning on drinking that day, but when I stumbled upon this group of drunk people at the seaside near Vladivostok, I smiled and..
Is it cool to drink an assault rifle, and who has this vodka brand been made for?
I am not a great fan of the arms industry as a whole, but this bottle with the name Kalashnikov was just too beautiful and too intriguing for me..
What does a birch tree really taste like, and why do people put it in their drinks?
We are looking at a tree-flavored edition. When they say birch, are they talking about the wood, the pollen, the leaves or the bark? I am wondering about this, and I think it’s intriguing because even though we are all..