Kalinovaya

Russia

Taste
7
Aftertaste
8
Design
10
Price
8
8.3

none prettier

This is a review of Kalinovaya vodka from Russia. I sampled it in Germany in 2013. It’s a clear infusion, 40% alcohol, and I found it pretty good.

Kalinovaya vodka (Калиновая) is infused with viburnum and red raspberry. Viburnum is called kalina (калина) in Russian, and a lot of Russians like to make their own vodka infusions with it.

homemade infusions

When you enter Kalinovaya vodka into a search engine (in Latin or in Cyrillic), you will get lots of articles and photos of homemade viburnum infusions. It took me a while to find the actual Kalinovaya vodka brand online.

It is owned by Bashspirt, a large producer of alcoholic beverages that sits in Bashkortostan near the Kazakh border. Their website looks nice at first:

Bashspirt Company website
from bashspirt.ru on October 11th 2021

Note that the first thing they offer is a Putinka vodka though lol!

Anyway, the website has a bit of company history:

Bashspirt Company history
from bashspirt.ru on October 11th 2021

And there’s a nice educational video about the difference between the company’s Luxe vodka and Alpha vodka:

Lux vodka vs Alpha vodka
from bashspirt.ru on October 11th 2021

Lux alcohol contains 0.02% methyl alcohol, Alpha alcohol contains less than 0.003%.

The thing is, there isn’t a trace of Kalinovaya vodka on this new, shiny website. I ended up finding it on Bashspirt’s old website, a very serious looking place with lots of long paragraphs:

Bashspirt Company old website
from bashspirt.ru/old on October 11th 2021

Kalinovaya vodka had its own page there. It didn’t offer much, just a picture and a short text:

Kalinovaya vodka page
from bashspirt.ru/old on October 11th 2021

GENTLE ORIGINAL TASTE, CLASSIC TECHNOLOGY, CENTURIES-OLD TRADITIONS, etc.

I didn’t learn much from this. Is Kalinovaya vodka still around? Why is it not on Bashspirt’s new website?

But wait! Here’s something else I found – a brand film from the early 2010s:

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It’s basically just a few shots of a bunch of berries set to Larionov’s “Kalinka”:

Kalinovaya vodka brand film
from youtube.com/watch?v=vv0ZZ-XTTPo on October 11th 2021

There are some shots of the bottle:

Kalinovaya vodka brand film
from youtube.com/watch?v=vv0ZZ-XTTPo on October 11th 2021

And in the end it says IN RUSSIAN TRADITIONS:

Kalinovaya vodka brand film
from youtube.com/watch?v=vv0ZZ-XTTPo on October 11th 2021

The end.

love birds

Okay, back to our 2012 review of Kalinovaya vodka. Little did I know how much I would love this one. The vodka itself was of solid quality, nothing overly exciting, but solid. Maybe it could have been a bit more smooth.

The aftertaste materialized as a hint of sweetness floating through my head. I wouldn’t have been able to tell you that it was supposed to be viburnum and red raspberry. But it was there, and it was pleasant.

Here it is, though: the bottle! Look at it! I just loved the birds and the berries and everything else about it. This was the most beautiful bottle I had ever seen. Better than Belvedere or Crystal Head.

Oh, and at 13€ for 700ml, the price was good, too.

Get this, and you will have a bottle of good vodka. And once you’ve finished it, you’ll have a beautiful bottle.

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