Asia

Taiwan

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…

Azerbaijan

Korona

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…

Azerbaijan

Eskadra

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…

Azerbaijan

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…

Azerbaijan

Stolichniy

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…

Azerbaijan

Sostav

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…

Azerbaijan

Samovar

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…

Azerbaijan

Napoléon

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…

Kazakhstan

Zerno

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…

Uzbekistan

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…

Uzbekistan

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…

Uzbekistan

Tanho

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…

Kyrgyzstan

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…

Kazakhstan

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…

Turkmenistan

Amyderya

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…

Turkmenistan

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…

Turkmenistan

Arassa

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…

Kyrgyzstan

Elixir

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…

Kyrgyzstan

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…

Uzbekistan

Grelochka

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…

Uzbekistan

Stopochkin

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…

Tajikistan

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…

Tajikistan

Tajikistan

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?

Kazakhstan

Kabarga

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…

Kazakhstan

Argali

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…

Kazakhstan

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…

Kazakhstan

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…

Uzbekistan

Qalampir

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…

Shanghai White vodka
China

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…

Chinggis Khan vodka
Mongolia

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…

Exclusive Kosher vodka
Israel

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…

Nano Platinum vodka
Kyrgyzstan

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…

Chinggis Gold vodka
Mongolia

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…

Atanbaj vodka
Kyrgyzstan

Atanbaj

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…

Ular vodka
Kyrgyzstan

Ular

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…

Kyrgyz Aragy vodka
Kyrgyzstan

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…

Kok Boru vodka
Kyrgyzstan

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!

Kara Shorgo vodka
Kyrgyzstan

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…

Ayu Vodka
Kyrgyzstan

Ayu

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…

Zero vodka
Kyrgyzstan

Zero

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…

Vivat
Kyrgyzstan

Vivat

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…

Ozon vodka
Kyrgyzstan

Ozon

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…

Eristoff vodka
Georgia

Eristoff

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…

Snow Queen vodka
Kazakhstan

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…