This is Аю – Ayu Vodka, and it’s from Kyrgyzstan. Actually, there are three editions 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 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.
Ayu vodka, like so many things in life, is both good and bad
I was at lake Issyk-kul in Kyrgyzstan when I had Ayu vodka. I had gone there 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, so I really wanted to slow down. 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.
I sat down on the roof and counted my expenses: I had paid 120 som for this 420ml bottle (a bit more than 3€/700ml). I suspected not even Big Rock Candy Mountain would have cheaper booze than this (10/10)! I thought the bottle design was ok, too. I mean it had a bear on it (5/10). The taste was surprisingly great, not too harsh, even a bit refined if I might say so (8/10), but the aftertaste was disappointing, a bit disgusting even (4/10). Too bad because the aftertaste is important for any vodka.
I only had two or three swigs, then I put the bottle down and looked over the lake. A storm was brewing, I saw it slowly roll across the sky from the north, and it was troubling the water.
My hand was looking for the bottle.