Ayu Taigan



both good and bad

[40%, sampled in Kyrgyzstan]

This is Аю таежная – Ayu Taigan vodka, and it’s from Kyrgyzstan. Actually, there are three editions of this brand, 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 blue label (сибирская – Siberian).

I chose the Taigan one, the green one, mainly because I figured that the bear on the label would be most happy when it was surrounded by green.

looking for boredom

I was on the shores of Issyk-kul in Kyrgyzstan when I had Ayu Taigan. I had gone to the lake with a mission: to get bored. I felt that I was missing the times when I didn’t know what to do with myself, when I didn’t feel like life was such a rush. I wanted to slow down.

So I went to the lake, found a sanatorium and got a room overlooking the blue tranquility of Issyk-kul. Then I went and bought the green bottle with the bear on the label.

there’s something wrong with Ayu Taigan

I found a place to sit on the roof and counted my expenses: I had paid 120 Som for this 420ml bottle (a bit more than 3€/700ml). I figured not even Big Rock Candy Mountain had cheaper booze than this. The bottle design was ok, too. It had a bear on it.

The taste was surprisingly good. It was a bit sweet, not too harsh, and I would even say it seemed a bit refined. But the aftertaste was disappointing. It wasn’t that there was no aroma at all, just that the aroma was slightly disgusting. This was too bad because the aftertaste is important for any vodka.


Anyway, Ayu Taigan was drinkable. I had two or three swigs, then I put the bottle down and looked over the lake. A storm was brewing. I saw it roll across the sky from the north, and it was troubling the water.

My hand was looking for the bottle.

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