the name means hotness
[40%, sampled in Uzbekistan]
So this site just got another new category: Uzbek vodka! This might sound exotic if you’re not from Uzbekistan. Or in Uzbekistan. Or in any of the neighboring countries. Otherwise it just sounds normal. But anyway, I’m very happy to be able to add this category.
I got this bottle of Qalampir vodka 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 drink by myself, in the bluish light of the tv.
A talkshow was on. It was in Russian, and it was about people who were talking about the media. I didn’t understand much of it, but they were constantly holding newspaper clippings into the camera, and they sounded very smart and very snarky. I figured it was probably a pretty good show.
the pepper theme
But anyway, we are here for the vodka. This bottle of Qalampir was cheap, like almost all vodka brands 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 affordable.
I thought the bottle design was very pleasing as well. It looked both simple and sophisticated, both stylish and traditional. I’d have preferred it if the pepper theme of the vodka was a little bit more clear. Because Qalampir means “pepper” in Uzbek.
Qalampir is hot
So here we are, in the empty lounge of the Sunrise Caravan Stay, unscrewing our bottle of Uzbek vodka. 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 very hot. Not hot like lava, but still hot. I figured that this was because it was called Qalampir, 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 wasn’t so good.
Now the aftertaste. Some vodkas that might seem a bit unrefined in their taste can still surprise you when the aftertaste kicks in after a few seconds. But sadly, not this one. There was a hint of sweetness, but it was quickly burned away by a sense of raw hotness that still lingered in my mouth and throat after I drank it.
Overall, this one is not very good.