I got this in the summer of 2018, when I was in Aktau in Western Kazakhstan, where I had to spend a few days waiting for a visa for Azerbaijan. There wasn’t much to do, and I ended up going to the mall sometimes. On one of these occasions I brought home a bottle called Zerno vodka.
Zerno vodka might need a bit of tweaking
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, 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.
It was half a liter, and it cost 1500 Tenge. This meant a fantastic price of only slightly more than 5 Euros for 700ml (10/10). To be fair, though, Central Asian vodka prices were generally very low.
The bottle design was nice and simple, at the same time conveying a certain retro-charm and a polished sophistication. I liked it (7/10).
There was a tractor on the label, and the word Zerno meant „corn“ as in „grain“. I took from this that Zerno vodka was made from wheat. It was 40% alcohol, and when I opened the bottle, there was a faint smell that seemed to hint at good things.
The taste of Zerno vodka was warm and full at first, and I was happy with it. But then it became spicy (or rather fiery), and it burned on its way down the throat. I decided to give it a 7 out of 10, but it could have been an 8 for the initial taste alone. Just the burning was a bit too much.
The aftertaste was a mixed bag as well. At first there was something chocolaty to it, and I figured I quite liked it. But then the aroma turned from chocolate to metal, and it became dryish. It was a 6/10 at best.
Overall, Zerno vodka still needs a bit of work. If you don’t mind your vodka to be a bit feisty, though, then you might want to give this one a try. A 7.5.