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Żołądkowa Gorzka vodka

Żołądkowa Gorzka

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…

Xellent vodka


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…

Mernaya Honey Pepper vodka

Mernaya Honey Pepper

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…

Debowa Polska vodka

Dębowa Polska

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…

Legend Of Kremlin vodka

Legend Of Kremlin

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…

Eristoff vodka


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…

Rushkinoff vodka


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…

Rushkinoff Cannabis vodka

Rushkinoff Cannabis

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…

Belvedere Pomarancza

Belvedere Pomarancza

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…

Cîroc vodka


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…

Skyy vodka


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…

Bazic vodka


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…

Shtoffka vodka


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…

Belvedere Intense vodka

Belvedere Intense

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…

Ogni Kremlya vodka

Ogni Kremlya

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…

Russian Garant Horseradish vodka

Russian Garant Horseradish

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

Bree vodka


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…

Mama vodka


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…

Rublëvka vodka


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…

Bavarka vodka


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…

Minskaya vodka


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…

Nemiroff Premium vodka

Nemiroff Premium

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…

Kalinovaya vodka


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…

Callicounis Imperial vodka

Callicounis Imperial

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…

Nemiroff Honey Pepper vodka

Nemiroff Honey Pepper

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…

Stolichnaya Elit vodka

Stolichnaya Elit

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…

Partisan vodka


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…

Żubrówka vodka


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…

Samaani vodka


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…

Smooth vodka


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…

Etalon vodka


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…

Camitz Sparkling vodka

Camitz Sparkling

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…

Rutte vodka


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…

Finlandia vodka


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…

Three Sixty vodka

Three Sixty

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…

Alpha Noble vodka

Alpha Noble

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…

Jelzin Vanilla vodka

Jelzin Vanilla

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…

Klosowka vodka


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…

Snow Queen vodka

Snow Queen

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…

Vox vodka


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…

Danzka vodka


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…

Tarpan vodka


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…

Rusitsa vodka


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…


Ketel One

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…

Koskenkorva vodka


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…

Starka vodka


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…

Czar’s Gold vodka

Czar’s Gold

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…

Wyborowa Exquisite vodka

Wyborowa Exquisite

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…

Russkaya Ruletka vodka

Russkaya Ruletka

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…

Baykal vodka


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…

Grey Goose vodka

Grey Goose

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…

Vysota Luxe vodka

Vysota Luxe

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…

360 vodka


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…

Honor vodka


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…

Stolichnaya vodka


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…

Tito's vodka


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…

Most Wanted vodka

Most Wanted

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…

Svedka vodka


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, …

Five Lakes vodka

Five Lakes

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…

Crystal Head vodka

Crystal Head

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…

Kedrovitsa vodka


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…

Dvojnaya Belaya vodka

Dvojnaya Belaya

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…

Vikingfjord vodka


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…

Absolut vodka


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…

Hlebnaya vodka


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…

Nemiroff vodka


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…

Istanblue vodka


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…

Russian Standard vodka

Russian Standard

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…

Grasovka vodka


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…

Fürst Uranov vodka

Fürst Uranov

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…

Gorbatschow Blue Label vodka

Gorbatschow Blue Label

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…

Smirnoff Red Label #21 vodka

Smirnoff Red Label #21

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…

Belvedere vodka


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…

Green Mark vodka

Green Mark

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…

Russian Standard Platinum vodka

Russian Standard Platinum

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…

Kauffman vodka


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…

Beluga vodka


This one is called Beluga vodka. And it’s one of

Imperia vodka


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…

Parliament vodka


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…

Imperial Collection vodka

Imperial Collection

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…

Tigroff Ginseng vodka

Tigroff Ginseng

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…

Spasskaya Dal’ vodka

Spasskaya Dal’

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…

Blagoff Green Apple vodka

Blagoff Green Apple

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…

Mernaya Tradition vodka

Mernaya Tradition

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…

Kalashnikov vodka


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…

Georgievskaya Birch vodka

Georgievskaya Birch

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…

Back In USSR vodka

Back In USSR

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…



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…

Russian Billionaire Elite Club vodka

Russian Billionaire Elite Club

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…

Ozon vodka


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…

Zero vodka


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…

Ayu Vodka


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…

Kara Shorgo vodka

Kara Jorgo

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…

Kok Boru vodka

Kök Böru

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!

Kyrgyz Aragy vodka

Kyrgyz Aragy

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…

Ular vodka


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 now? Go to our rooms and call it a night? Or…

Atanbaj vodka


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…

Belenkaya Luxe vodka

Belenkaya Luxe

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 had kept myself busy doing other things besides…

Smirnoff White vodka

Smirnoff White

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…



Why does a vodka with this kind of name come in a bottle like this?

This one is called Tajikistan, and (of course) it’s from the country of Tajikistan. I got it in Khujand when I was there in June 2017, and I found myself wondering: would it live up to its impressive name?


Shohona Platinum

Why would you put mediocre stuff in a nice bottle?

I drank this one on a nice day in Khujand, and I was in good company. The bottle looked a lot better than that of Tajikistan. Worthy of the label Platinum? Not so sure. It did have the nice ground glass look that we know from top brands like…

Chinggis Gold vodka

Chinggis Gold

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 horse under the open sky. But then, I had never been to…

R. Jelinek Plum vodka
Czech Republic

Rudolf Jelinek Plum

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 usually drink?” There was a faint…

42 Blended vodka
Czech Republic

42 Blended

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…

Hanacka vodka
Czech Republic


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…

Nano Platinum vodka

Nano Platinum

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…

Exclusive Kosher vodka

Exclusive Kosher

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…

Stumbras Pure vodka

Stumbras Pure

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…

Amundsen vodka


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.

Starogardzka vodka


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 called Otto Winkelhausen, so I tried to look him up. I found nothing. At least nothing that had anything to do with vodka. So it seems as though I can’t…

Ostoya vodka


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: …


Absolut Elyx

Can you taste the copper?

A while ago I got an email from Jeremie. “Do you want to try some new vodka?” he asked me. Sure, I said. A little later I got a bottle in the mail. Just like that.


Beluga Celebration

Will Beluga Celebration be better than the original?

This being Beluga, and not just that, but Beluga Celebration, my expectations were high. And I didn’t feel disappointed. Beluga Celebration has only a very faint smell, which is always a good sign. If the stuff smells like some kind of…

Czech Republic


Will this one be more interesting than the bottle suggests?

Googled the name and landed on a surprisingly slick-looking website. It shows a bunch of awards that this vodka apparently won. I can’t really understand much of it because it’s in Czech and I don’t speak Czech. But there’s a hand at the bottom of the screen…


Tau Brilliant

Is this vodka trying too hard to appear upscale?

It was in the winter of 2016, and I was in the south of Kazakhstan, in a small town that had an awesome burger joint called Soul Food. My hotel room wasn’t very warm, so I wrapped a blanket around my body and nipped on some vodka when I…


Nordisch Vodka

Is this original recipe from Hamburg any good?

There’s not much left in the bottle. When did I drink most of it? Can’t remember. Anyway, I don’t need much anyway, just a bit so I can figure out whether I like the taste or not. I have no shot glass here and no ordinary glass either, so I’ll just drink it straight from the bottle. It doesn’t matter anyway. No one can…


Beluga Noble Winter

What does it mean when you don’t pay attention in a statement about paying attention?

Ever since trying Beluga for the first time while I was in Russia in the summer of 2010, I have been a fan. But you can only drink so much of this stuff, especially since it’s pretty expensive. So every now and then I keep an eye open for…

Chinggis Khan vodka

Chinggis Khan

What is it with vodka made in Mongolia, and why is it so expensive?

I hate autotune. And I’m not sure yet, but I think I might also hate Wiz Khalifa. Maybe I’ll turn him off before he ruins this vodka for me. For this is some good vodka. It’s from…

Shanghai White vodka

Shanghai White

How about some Chinese luxury vodka?

Shanghai White. On the bottle it’s called 上海幻 in Chinese – “Shanghai Fantasy”. I like Shanghai White better, because it sounds less tacky. Pouring a glass, and it comes out just right, with big gulping sounds. Vodka bottles should…



Should a pepper vodka be so fiery?

I got this particular bottle in Tashkent on the night before I was going to fly to Almaty in order to get a new visa for Uzbekistan. I took it to the lounge of the hostel where I was staying, figuring that there would be other guests to share it with. But I…


Kristall White

Does a vodka taste better if the bottle looks nice?

I had a bunch of blog posts to write, so I sat down, poured a glass of the first bottle, which was called Kristall White (Кристалл Водка White) and started going through my pictures. Then I took a sip. The smell should have been a…


Khaoma Original

Will Khaoma be the savior of Kazakhstan’s vodka market?

Right on the label it said that this was no ordinary stuff. This was a so-called “ecovodka”. I found an explanation underneath: “Distilled and bottled in ecologically pure region.” Interestingly enough, all of this was in…



Is a vodka still acceptable if the aftertaste is bad?

This one was called Argali, though on the label it said Argali Premium, but I think the Premium is probably not part of the name. Maybe I’m wrong, but I’m just going to call it Argali. I tried a…



How do manufacturers choose which animal they name their vodka after?

There’s a deer-like animal on the label, and indeed, Wikipedia says that Kabarga means Siberian musk deer, which is a hilarious (albeit tragically endangered) deer with long fangs, not unlike those of a saber-tooth cat. Apparently, some of these Kabargas live in the northeastern…



Why is there so much sweetness in this fire?

We’ve only had one Uzbek vodka on here before, and that one was Qalampir, a pepper vodka that really wasn’t all that good. So I decided to try a few more. This one is called Stopochkin, and it seems to be pretty…



Is this one more legitimate than the Russian vodka of the same name?

This one is called Grelochka, and I bought it in a liquor store next to a supermarket in Tashkent. Come to think of it, I’ve never seen any alcohol for sale in Uzbek supermarkets – only in specialized liquor stores, just like in the US. But then I’ve never seen anyone in Uzbekistan run around with brown paper bags…


Kyrgyz Standard

How much would a vodka of this quality cost in Europe or America?

Remember when I was staying on the shores of lake Issyk-kul, waiting for my Turkmen visa to go through? Well, I ended up spending several weeks there, during which I ate a lot of watermelons and even more lagman. And I tried a bit more of that Kyrgyz vodka. This one is called Kyrgyz Standard, and I will tell you right now it’s…



Can someone tell me who designed this bottle?

More time spent on the lakeshore meant more time spent with the finer things in life. There was a period of a week or two when I got sick and started experimenting with “secret medicine”, one ingredient of which turned out to be vodka. Good times. This one was called Elixir, and it came in a bottle that was…


Issyk Kul

Is it a good sign when my notes are undecipherable?

More vodka from the lake. And this time, the brand is even named appropriately – it’s called Issyk Kul. Just like the lake itself. And there’s a little sailing boat on the label. I’m listening to Glenn Miller, and it’s a delight. Ever wondered…



What’s with the dryness in this vodka?

Wow, this one was such a long time ago… Remember when I was hanging out in the Uzbek town of Navoiy? I had bought two bottles of vodka there, tried them and taken my notes, but I had never gotten around to properly write them up. So here I am, with my notes, listening to…


Navoiyskoe Zoloto

How cheap can a vodka be, and what can we expect from it?

So here’s the second vodka brand I tried when I was in Navoiy. I drank it with some friends I had made there. We all got a bit drunk. Not too much, but a bit. I’m listening to “Damaged” by Black Flag, which is still one of the strongest hc/punk albums of all time. Incidentally, it was also one of the first…


40 0,5

Does anyone know the actual name of this vodka?

I got this in a liquor store in Tashkent, and it wasn’t exactly cheap for Uzbek standards, but it was still very affordable overall. About 5 euros for 500ml, putting it in the 10/10 department. In hindsight I should have asked the clerks what this tuff was actually called. The bottle looks…



Why is Arassa vodka from Turkmenistan allowed to taste like metal?

Going to Turkmenistan isn’t easy. So when I finally got to go there in September 2017, I wanted to make sure that I bought some local vodka, if only for testing purposes. Sadly I was on a tight walking schedule (500+ kilometers in 15 days), so I did not have much time to enjoy the finer things in life, aka the testing of the V. But this one I did test…


Arassa Maritime

Why is Arassa Maritime vodka from Turkmenistan so much better than its sister label?

Apparently I was not quite done yet with the Turkmen vodka brand called Arassa. For even though their main label had been a major disappointment, I still had a bottle of their Maritime edition to try and test. Would it be better? I wasn’t very optimistic, but I chose to give it a try anyway…



What’s with the subtle chocolatiness of Amyderya vodka from Turkmenistan?

Aaaaaand here is the last of the three Turkmen vodka brands that I got to try during my time there. In hindsight I wish I had tested more different brands, if only because Turkmenistan is so difficult to get to. Or because the vodka there is so cheap. Anyway, this one was called Amyderya, and it was from the city of Turkmenabat…



Is this top shelf vodka worth almost forty euros, or is it just a pretty vase?

I got this bottle of Mansfeld vodka when I was hanging out in Luxembourg in February 2018. I don’t know why exactly, but I remember being surprised that Luxembourg had its own brand of vodka. Maybe it was because the country seemed so small?
Anyway, Mansfeld is from there. It was apparently named after a 16th century governor of Luxembourg. And why not…



Is this Isfjord vodka from Greenland as icy as it sounds?

As you can see from the background, I got Isfjord vodka in the same place I had tried Mansfeld: Luxembourg. And I ran into some problems as towards the nationality of this brand. It says Greenland on the label. Arctic water from Greenland. So was I supposed to make an individual category for it, and if I did, would it be part of The Americas or Europe?
In the end I looked up Isfjord vodka online and found out that the company headquarters were in Denmark. So I decided to simply list it as a Danish vodka…


Spring Vodka

Is this hipster bunny really just vodka, though?

Wow, this one is from more than a year ago, back from when I was in Taiwan for a book tour in November 2017. I bought it, drank it, jotted down some notes, took it home, snapped a picture, drank a bit more, jotted down some more notes, and then I found myself without much time to update this site…



Is it mean to say that Our Berlin vodka is being weighed down by its price and bottle design?

The first thing I noticed about this vodka is that the bottle was REALLY small. It’s 350ml, making it about half the size of a usual vodka bottle (700ml). It actually felt a little bit like one of those nostalgic mineral water bottles.

Did I like the design? Well, yes and no…



Is this colorful sable going to catch the goose?

Sobolinaya was being marketed as an upscale brand, and as such it would have been understandable had they went with the Belvedere/Goose ground glass finish that seemed to be so typical in this segment of late. But no, they went for clear glass, but they added something to it that gave it a rainbow-like, pearlescent effect…



How can fire turn to chocolate turn to metal, and is that something we want in a vodka?

I told the store clerk that I wanted something local, but he shook his head and mumbled something that sounded like there wasn’t any. Then he handed me this bottle. When I went to the cash register, though, the lady there told me that I was too late. They weren’t going to sell any alcohol after a certain time, it was the law. Then she took another look at me, paused, and decided to sell me the bottle…



Where is Napoleon vodka really from?

This one was part of my vodka experiment when I was in the old town of Sheki in Azerbaijan in the summer of 2018. I went to a little shop, bought a few bottles, also bought some food to go along with them, and then I had a good time. This particular brand was called Napoléon vodka, which sounded like…



Can Samovar vodka live up to its name?

Voici, the second instalment of my 2018 Sheki vodka experiment. This one was called Samovar vodka, a name that made me happy because I love samovars, I really do…



Do people drink Sostav vodka at four twenty?

The bottle looked weird. I mean, it looked like a bong. Or maybe not exactly like a bong, but sort of like one. Anyway, I figured that this was probably not intended (though many young people in Baku smoked weed), but that the whole thing had simply been an attempt to create a bottle that looked original…



Should Stolichniy vodka get a new name and a designer?

This one is the fourth and final contender of the 2018 Sheki vodka experiment. It was called Stolichniy vodka, and if that name reminds you of the formidable Stolichnaya, then you’re probably already a bit worried that this one might turn out to be a disappointment…


Belly Parus

Why does Belly Parus fail on so many levels?

When I asked the vendor where this vodka was from, he told me that it was from Akhsu, just like all the other vodka brands from Azerbaijan. I never went to Akshu, but I almost did, back when I decided to take the northern route along the mountains near Shamakhi…



Can Eskadra vodka convince simply because of its bottle design?

This one is also from my final vodka night in Azerbaijan. It was called Eskadra vodka, and the owner of the shop where I bought it told me it was supposed to be one of the better ones…



How can Korona vodka be so hot and so sweet at the same time?

The shop owner looked at me funny when I got my three bottles and walked out. I had asked him to recommend three brands, and I had added that they didn’t have to be all top-shelf. I wanted something good, something mediocre, and something less good. Right after I had walked out of the shop I couldn’t remember which was which…