So this vodka blog has another new category: Uzbek vodka! Sounds exotic if you’re not from Uzbekistan. Or in Uzbekistan. Or in any of the neighboring countries. Then it just sounds normal. But anyway, I’m very happy about any new category.
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 was wrong. I was the only person there, so I had to try the vodka by myself, in the bluish light of the tv.
Qalampir means pepper, but it shouldn’t be so hot
A talkshow was on. It was Russian, and it was about people who were critiquing the news. I didn’t understand much of it, but they were constantly holding newspaper clippings into the camera, and they all sounded very smart and very snarky. I guessed that it was probably a pretty good show.
But anyway, we are here for the vodka. This bottle was cheap, like all vodka bottles in this part of the world. I got it for 28.000 som, which is between 4 and 8 euros, depending on which exchange rate we’re looking at, the official one or that of the black market. Either way, it’s a solid 10/10.
I thought the bottle design was very pleasing as well. It looked both simple and sophisticated, both stylish and traditional. I’d give it an 8/10, if the pepper theme of the vodka was a little bit more clear. Because “qalampir” means pepper in Uzbek.
So here we are, in the empty lounge of the Sunrise Caravan Stay, unscrewing our bottle of Uzbek vodka that’s called pepper. Will it taste good?
The smell was not very promising. There was a hint of motor oil in it, definitely not the kind of fume you would want to come out of your drink. And it tasted hot, very hot. Not hot like lava, but hot. I figured that this was because it was called pepper, but still, it seemed a bit too much. After all, I had tried Nemiroff Honey Pepper before, which was a very fine vodka, and Mernaya Honey Pepper, which wasn’t as smooth. So I knew that there were differences in pepper-flavored vodkas. This one, I decided to give it a 4/10 in taste.
Now the aftertaste is a completely different thing. Some vodkas that might seem a bit too unrefined in their taste can still surprise you after a few seconds. But sadly, not this one. There was a hint of sweetness in its aftertaste, but it was quickly burned away by a sense of raw hotness that still lingered in your mouth and throat after you drank it. So I’m going to give this a 4/10 for the aftertaste.
Overall rating: a 6.25.