Flavored Vodka
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Best Flavored Vodka

 

The Fifty Best Domestic Vodka Tasting 2019


The Tasting:
The Fifty Best held a “blind” tasting of 20 flavored vodkas with a panel of 14 judges. Strict tasting rules were applied. The order of service was established beforehand by lottery. The flavored vodkas were poured into fresh glasses from new sealed bottles, and served at slightly above room temperature. Only ice water, unflavored unsalted crackers and chips were available to cleanse the palate.

The flavored vodkas were tasted in groups, according to flavor category – with medals awarded on the basis of the judging panels’ rating of all flavored vodkas from that group. The judges were informed of the categories and flavors, but not the brands, writing down their impressions of each product on score sheets. The scoring was done on a 5-point system, with 5 as the highest. Double-Gold, Gold, Silver and Bronze medals were awarded according to a set range of final point scores received from the judges. The tasting notes that follow are summaries of the judges’ opinions, with all replicated commentary eliminated. The distilleries and states or countries of origin are identified for each brand.



DOUBLE GOLD MEDAL WINNERS

MMMINT Vodka
(MerryGo Spirits, NY)

Nose: Spearmint, peppermint, spearmint gum, Altoid mint, breath mints, fresh picked mint, strong eucalyptus, surprisingly soft.
Palate: Spearmint, wintermint Lifesaver, After Eight Thin Mints, Peppermint Patty, peppermint candy, sweet mint, so minty, mint blast, mentholated, honey, vanilla, pink peppercorn, smooth, lively, consistent, just right, WOW!!
Finish: Cool mint, minty fresh, chocolate mint, menthol, herbal, balanced, well integrated, clean, soft, better than Tic Tac, great in a peppermint chocolate martini.


Double Gold Medal
Double Gold medal



MMMINT Vodka



Black Fig Vodka
(Black Infusions, MA)

Nose: Fresh figs, true fig, gentle real fig dried fig, roasted figs, fig syrup, caramelized fig, Fig Newtons, dates, dried prunes, raisin, honey, toasted caramel, clover honey, walnut, peak ripeness.
Palate: Sliced fresh figs, Fig Newtons, dates, raisins, honey, clover honey, crème brulé, lemon, citrus, subtle bourbon barrel, true to fruit flavor, nice present flavor throughout, ripe, well balanced.
Finish: Sliced figs, ripe fig, liquid figs, dates, dried fruit, vanilla, wood note, raisins linger, really balanced, super smooth, great neat, satisfying, elegant.


Double Gold Medal
Double Gold medal



Black Fig Vodka



Belvedere Ginger Zest Macerated Vodka
(Poland)

Nose: Dried ginger, sweet ginger, ginger beer, ginger tea, effervescent ginger, Ginger Snaps, orange ginger, Meyer lemon, 7-UP, citrus, floral, herbs, spice.
Palate: Ginger, grated ginger, ginger beer, slightly sweet ginger, ginger candy, juniper, herbal, lemon, grapefruit, wood, zesty, not overpowering, gentle, delicate, yummy.
Finish: Muddled ginger, lasting ginger, ginger stays, honey, lime, citrus, lingering natural flavors, spicy, lingering heat, clean, crisp, zesty, use in a Mai Tai, delightful.


Double Gold Medal
Double Gold medal



Belvedere Ginger Zest Macerated Vodka



Heritage Distilling Blood Orange Vodka
(Heritage Distilling Company, WA)

Nose: Orange, blood orange zest, orange peel, bright citrus, nice citrus, tangerine, orange spice, grapefruit soda, berry fruit juice, natural ripe, compelling, aperitif-like.
Palate: Fresh blood orange juice, blood orange peel, fresh fruit, citrus, orange lollipops, grape note, spice, crisp, smooth, good mix of sweet & acidity, nice balance of tang & sweet, good fruit balance, great flavor, fun.
Finish: Lemon, more citrusy, sour berry, sweet tea, herbaceous, great with Sprite, delightfully smooth, tasty, elegant.


Double Gold Medal
Double Gold medal



Heritage Distilling Blood Orange Vodka



GOLD MEDAL WINNERS

HEEET Hot Cinnamon Vodka
(MerryGo Spirits, NY)

Nose: Red Hots candy, cinnamon candy, Big Red gum, cinnamon, candy cane, spicy, fresh.
Palate: Red Hots candy, Big Red gum, cinnamon Altoids, balanced cinnamon, spicy, sweet fire, good heat tones down sweetness, creamy smooth, delicious.
Finish: Red Hots candy, lingering cinnamon, spicy, citrus notes, well balanced, approachable, silky smooth, add to hot cider, enjoyable.

Gold Medal
Gold medal



HEEET Hot Cinnamon Vodka



Cokana Vodka
(Delicious Danger Spirits, NV)

Nose: 93% dark chocolate, chocolate, faint cocoa, nutty, coffee, matcha, chamomile tea, herbal, herbaceous, herbs, anise, slight menthol, wet bamboo, vegetal, earthy.
Palate: Dark bitter cocoa, cold brew coffee, matcha, Earl Grey tea, pepper, Chinese green tea, herbal, mossy, spicy, smoky.
Finish: Lingering cocoa, coffee, matcha, mint, grassy, dried herb, earthy, charcoal, interesting, versatile.

Gold Medal
Gold medal



Cokana Vodka



Żubrówka Bison Grass Vodka
(ROUST, Poland)

Nose: Fresh grass, fresh cut lawn, light grassy/herbal, garden, meadow, earthy, wild flowers, powdered sugar, cake, cinnamon, mint, clean outdoors, lazy summer pool party.
Palate: Distinctive buffalo grass, gentle mint, minty, menthol, herbs, rosemary, thyme, cinnamon, light cinnamon bun, vanilla, graham crackers, leather, earthy, wood, creamy, smooth.
Finish: Tall grass, minty, herby, cocoa leaves, blossom honey, sweet pastry, cream, nut.


Gold Medal
Gold medal



Żubrówka Bison Grass Vodka



Cascade Chipotle Pepper Vodka
(Cascade Street Distillery, OR)

Nose: Hot pepper, freshly opened jar of jalapeños, sweet chilis, pepper, fresh cut green pepper, veggie, wood, bright.
Palate: Chipotle pepper, light jalapeño, black pepper, cumin, very spicy, brine, touch of sweet, bold.
Finish: Chipotle, lingering pepper, spicy, sneaks up with flame thrower, burning hot, big kick, surprising, well integrated, smooth, beautiful, perfection.


Gold Medal
Gold medal



Cascade Chipotle Pepper Vodka



Sobieski Vanilla Vodka
(Poland)

Nose: Caramel, nougat, vanilla, vanilla bean, vanilla pudding, creamy, whipped cream, honey, bread pudding, yellow cake, Nila vanilla wafer, biscuit, toast, cocoa, rich, fragrant.
Palate: Vanilla bean, vanilla pudding, vanilla ice cream, creamy, maple syrup, cake batter, yellow cake, coconut, hazelnut, love the subtlety, rich, smooth, delicious.
Finish: Vanilla throughout, vanilla, creamy, powdered sugar, great in a dessert cocktail or with bourbon, smooth, delicious, amazing.


Gold Medal
Gold medal



Sobieski Vanilla Vodka



Giddy'Up! Zesty Horseradish Vodka
(Iron Wolf Ranch & Distillery, TX)

Nose: Fresh horseradish, shaved horseradish, horseradish brine, pickled okra, vegetal, ginger root, cocktail sauce, spicy.
Palate: Horseradish, strong horseradish, dried horseradish, big wasabi, mustard, briny, veggie, vegetal, herbaceous, fresh green grass, mushrooms, earthy, cayenne pepper, spicy, bitingly hot, increasing flavor, great for a Bloody Mary, smooth, crisp, delicious.
Finish: Horseradish, wasabi, okra, smooth, zesty, tingles, flavorful, for an amazing Bloody Mary.


Gold Medal
Gold medal



   Giddy'Up! Zesty Horseradish Vodka



Lolo Creek Distillery
Honey Huckleberry Flavored Vodka

(Lolo Creek Distillery, MT)

Nose: Huckleberry pie, fresh berries, tart berry, blackberry currant, cherry, mixed fruit, tropical fruit, cotton candy, salt water taffy, licorice, vegetal, grassy, green leaves, herbal, inviting.
Palate: Juicy ripe huckleberries, blueberries, huckleberry gum, currant, dark stone fruit, red fruit candy, banana, almond, mineral, full flavor, fruit develops well, stays nicely balanced, creamy, smooth, pretty.
Finish: Berries, well concentrated fruit, floral, minty, creamy, approachable, balanced, long lasting, great finish, develops complexity, great with club soda on a hot day, delicious, love it.


Gold Medal
Gold medal



Lolo Creek Distillery Honey Huckleberry Flavored Vodka



Pick Six Apple Pie Vodka
(Saratoga Courage Distillery, NY)

Nose: Red apple skins, McIntosh peels, green apple, apple cider, hot cider, Drake’s Apple Pie, hot apple pie, apple pie à la mode, coffee cake crumble, graham cracker, candied apples, caramel apple, caramel, vanilla, cola, cinnamon, nutmeg, almond oil, woody.
Palate: Red apple skins, Granny Smith apple, sweet green apple, cinnamon apple, apple pie, hot apple pie, sweet apple pie, canned apple pie filling, graham cracker, oatmeal, cola, almond oil, hot cinnamon, peppercorn, good balance, not too sweet, creamy, silky, smooth, autumn.
Finish: Apple crisp, applesauce, brown sugar, honey, creamy, almond paste, Big Red gum, cinnamon, basil notes, slight anise, black pepper, satisfying, great.


Gold Medal
Gold medal



Pick Six Apple Pie Vodka



Sobieski Cytron Vodka
(Poland)

Nose: Lemons, zesty lemon, lemon zest, lemon twist, lemon verbena, faint lime, Sprite, light navel orange, orange/grapefruit, delicate.
Palate: Lemon-lime, lemon drop, lemon zest, bright citrus, citrus fresh, lemon candy, light floral, herbal, grassy note, pleasantly dry, crisp, soft, smooth, delicious.
Finish: Lemon, lemon rind, orange peel, tangy, coriander, spicy, touch of saline, not too sweet, balanced, clean, approachable, fun.


Gold Medal
Gold medal



Sobieski Cytron Vodka



Guillotine Heritage Revolutionnaire Barreled Vodka
(Bastille Day SAS, France)

Nose: Caramel, molasses, butter, vanilla, honey, bourbon barrel, woody, wood mill.
Palate: Caramel, dark caramel, toffee, vanilla, mint, baking spices, pink peppercorn, oak, raw oak, woody, bourbon-like, smooth.
Finish: Burnt caramel, powdered sugar, wood chips, creamy, smooth, robust, rich.


Gold Medal
Gold medal



Guillotine Heritage Revolutionnaire Barreled Vodka



Belvedere Pink Grapefruit Macerated Vodka
(Poland)

Nose: Fresh grapefruit, freshly cut grapefruit, yellow grapefruit, pink grapefruit zest, lemon, citrus, pith, spearmint, clean, crisp.
Palate: Faint grapefruit, citrus, herbs, vegetal, spicy, mineral, natural tasting, not sweet, lively, surprisingly good.
Finish: White grapefruit, pink grapefruit peel, lemon notes, tart, spicy, perfectly balanced throughout, refreshing, a great mixer, meant for a martini.


Gold Medal
Gold medal



Belvedere Pink Grapefruit Macerated Vodka



SILVER MEDAL WINNERS

Guillotine Vodka au Caviar Petrossian
(Bastille Day SAS, France)

Nose: Coconut, pepper & salt, Himalayan salt, beach, brine, ocean water, faint seaweed, fishy, clean, fresh.
Palate: Caviar, roe, flying fish roe, sushi, fishy, anise, licorice, sake, wormwood, pickle juice, brine, ocean mist, ocean water, it works!
Finish: Seaweed, fishy, briny, charcoal, leather, nice balance, interesting.


Silver Medal
Silver medal



Guillotine Vodka au Caviar Petrossian



Pick Six Strawberry Jam Vodka
(Saratoga Courage Distillery, NY)

Nose: Fresh picked strawberries, hello strawberry!, dried strawberry, strawberry Starburst candy, tropical fruit, orange cream, pastry, cocoa nibs, yummy.
Palate: Macerated strawberries, strawberry, fresh fruit, stewed strawberries, strawberry & cream, sweet candied strawberry with creamy notes, strawberry ice cream, candy apple, cotton candy, Lifesavers, peachy cream & cake, butter, almond.
Finish: Strawberry jam, candy, well balanced, creamy, smooth, a sipper, great on the rocks, yummy.


Silver Medal
Silver medal



Pick Six Strawberry Jam Vodka



Belvedere Citrus Macerated Vodka
(Poland)

Nose: Lemon, freshly made lemonade, big lemon scent, lemon zest, lemon/lime, limeade, tangerine, pomelo zest, orange zest, lemon candies, vanilla bean, violets, vegetal note, earthy, clean.
Palate: Lemon, Meyer lemon tonic, lemon rind, lemon/lime, lime peel, limeade, Sprite, orange peel, light citrus, tart, herbal, black pepper, spice, smooth, zesty, refreshing, fresh summer.
Finish: Frozen lemon ice, lemon juice, lime oil, rye, very spicy, tangy,well balanced, crisp.


Silver Medal
Silver medal



Belvedere Citrus Macerated Vodka



BRONZE MEDAL WINNERS

Heritage Distilling Sweet Ghost Pepper Vodka
(Heritage Distilling Co, WA)

Nose: Pepper, sweet peppers, white pepper, spicy, vanilla, vanilla flakes.
Palate: Bold pepper, white pepper, peppercorn, pleasantly spicy, nice spice, flaming, cinnamon, almond, vanilla, creamy, candy corn.
Finish: Pepper, spicy, subtle heat, big kick, heat sneaks up, elegant.


Bronze Medal
Bronze medal



Heritage Distilling Sweet Ghost Pepper Vodka



Gold Apricot Vodka
(Black Infusions, MA)

Nose: Dried apricot, sweet apricot, dried fruit, cherry, green grapes, lemon, citrus, light honeysuckle, honey, vanilla, juniper, minerality, delicate.
Palate: Real apricot, nice dried apricot, unripe apricot skin, dates, lemon, lemon peel, citrus, Ricola honey drops, jam like, tart, mineral, balanced.
Finish: Ripe apricot, lemon peel, honey, tannic, silky, smooth, great in a hot toddy.


Bronze Medal
Bronze medal



Gold Apricot Vodka

 

 

 

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