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.
So here it is, finally – Spring Vodka from Taiwan!
Is Spring Vodka really just vodka, though?
Taiwanese vodka? The truth is: nowadays most countries have their own brands. Russia, Ukraine, and Poland are responsible for the lion’s share – if not in gross volume then at least in their respective amounts of brands. But most other countries that might not have a comparably strong vodka culture eventually end up with one ore more domestic vodka brands as well.
So I wasn’t very surprised to find out that Taiwan had one, too.
hipster bunny in a bottle
I got this bottle from a hypermarket in Taipeh. There didn’t seem to be any other domestic brands for sale, only this one. It set me back about 450 New Taiwan Dollars (about 13 euros for a 700ml bottle), which put it in the 8/10 neighborhood, leaning closely toward a nine. Still, it’s an 8/10.
The bottle design seemed to be a bit upscale for this price level. It reminded me less of Russian Standard and more of a hipsterified version of Belvedere or The Goose, with the ground glass body and the Hefner-evoking bunny on the label. I’d give it an 8/10.
But it’s the taste that really counts, and this is where Spring Vodka gets interesting.
when vodka and Chinese liquor have a beautiful baby
You can tell right away that something is a bit off – the smell gives it away. It has a strangely sweet and aromatic note to it, something that doesn’t belong to the realm of vodka but to that of the world of Chinese liquor. Don’t be afraid, though – neither the smell nor the taste of Spring Vodka is anything like Maotai, the over-priced abomination that Chinese officials use to drink each other under the table. No, there is just a faint scent of something decidedly non-vodka in here.
And the taste is interesting as well. It’s sweet. It’s balmy. But it doesn’t quite taste like pure vodka. It’s more as if an upscale vodka and a brand of super-soft Chinese liquor had decided to have a baby. Spring Vodka is very interesting, very smooth, and I loved its taste. I’ll give it a 10/10, but be warned: your favorite cocktail recipes will probably end up tasting a bit funny if you use this stuff to mix them with.
So how about the aftertaste? Well, it’s a bit similar. When you breathe out through your nose after having Spring Vodka, there is something deeply aromatic filling your head, something that you wouldn’t expect in a vodka. Of course it doesn’t quite taste like Chinese liquor, either. Instead it’s more of a very balmy mix. I found it awesome (10/10).
Overall, Spring Vodka is definitely worth a try if you want something that is: new, interesting, sophisticated, tasty. A 9.0.