Best Vodka 2013
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Best Premium Imported Vodka - 2013

 

The Great Imported Vodka Tasting of 2013

 

Method: The Fifty Best held a “blind” tasting of 26 imported, unflavored premium and ultra-premium vodkas with 20 pre-qualified judges. Strict tasting rules were applied. The order of service was established beforehand by lottery. Each of the vodkas were poured into fresh glasses from new sealed bottles, and served at slightly above room temperature. Only ice water and neutral unflavored nuts and crackers were available to cleanse the palate. The judges tasted through 3 flights of 7 vodkas each and 1 flight of five vodkas; with food served during a rest period after the second flight.

The judges wrote down their impressions of each product on score sheets. The scoring was done on a 5-point system, with 5 as the best.  Double-Gold, Gold and Silver medals were awarded according to a set range of final point scores received from the judges. There were no Bronze medals awarded for this tasting. A point of fact: The judges' scores were remarkably close, particularly for the Gold medal winners.

The tasting notes are summaries of the judges’ opinions, with all replicated commentary eliminated. Countries of origin are given, with a few tidbits added for each brand.

 

TASTING RESULTS:

 

Emperor vodka

DOUBLE-GOLD MEDAL WINNERS:

Emperor
(France)
Several varieties of wheat grown in Northern France, water from the Cognac area, distilled 6 times.

Nose: Light lemon, citrus, pineapple, fruity.
Palate: Vanilla, brown sugar, toffee, butter, cocoa, violet, ginger, pineapple, citrus, anise, grassy, herbal, rye, mineral, spicy, smooth, silky, clean, lively.
Finish: Smooth, clean, complex, balanced, loaded with character, full body, medium.

Double Gold Medal
Double Gold medal



Monopolowa
(Austria)
Potato based, triple distilled.

Nose: Herbaceous, cucumber, romaine lettuce, citrus zest, mint, anise, rye, delicate.
Palate: Sweet upfront, salted caramel, cream, butter, cotton candy, lemon, citrus zest, minty, wheat grain, potato skin, mossy, mineral.
Finish: Soft, smooth, herbal, clean, crisp, light body, medium-long.

Double Gold Medal
Double Gold medal



Monopolowa vodka


I-Spirit vodka



I-Spirit
(Italy)
Distilled 4 times from white wine from Friuli & Veneto and cereal grains, with water from the Dolomites. Active carbon filtered.

Nose: Vanilla, custard, creamy, buttery, caramel, white peppercorn, spice, almond, nutty, floral, anise, juicy, melon, mineral, soft mouthfeel, refreshing.
Palate: Vanilla, custard, creamy, buttery, caramel, white peppercorn, spice, almond, nutty, floral, anise, juicy, melon, mineral, soft mouthfeel, refreshing.
Finish: Smooth, silky, soft, easy, herbal, creamy, balanced, medium body, short.

Double Gold Medal
Double Gold medal



Ultimat
(Poland)
Wheat, rye and potato based, artesian well water, 4 times distilled.

Nose: Vanilla, citrus, cut grass.
Palate: Spice & hints of cayenne pepper upfront, sweetness emerges, creamy, butter, vanilla, caramel, custard, powdered sugar, melon, nutty, pistachio, caraway, anise, floral, clean, complex, silky.
Finish: Pepper, rye, creamy, smooth, assertive, balanced, medium body, short.

Double Gold Medal
Double Gold medal



Ultimat vodka


Blue Diamond vodka



Blue Diamond
(Latvia)
Premium grains, artesian water, triple distilled.

Nose: Mineral, floral, faint violet, fruit, light cream.
Palate: Honey, caramel, vanilla notes, creamy, subtle cocoa, almond, nuts, grain, eucalyptus, grassy, herbal, pepper, potato skin, hint of salt.
Finish: Soft, smooth, clean, light pepper, spice, light body, medium.

Double Gold Medal
Double Gold medal



Quay -
(France)
Grain based.

Nose: Lemon, citrus, banana, wet stone, pepper, potato.
Palate: Vanilla, butter, peanut chew, walnut, raisin, citrus, grassy, mint, mineral, rye, white pepper, peppercorn.
Finish: Smooth, delicate, medium body, short.


Double Gold Medal
Double Gold medal



Quay vodka


Primo vodka



Primo
(Argentina)
100% grape based, distilled 3 times.

Nose: Fruity, melon, chamomile tea, cinnamon, butterscotch, vanilla, heavy cream, sweet, peppercorn, Pop Tart crust.
Palate: Honey, caramel, cream, buttery popcorn, grain, light pastry dough, melon, banana, citrus, chestnut, cashew, floral, pepper, mineral, wet stone, delicious.
Finish: Smooth, dry, crisp, rich, cream, vanilla, peppery, complex, balanced, full body, long.

Double Gold Medal
Double Gold medal



Slovenia
(Slovenia)
Buckwheat & winter wheat based, water from the foot of the Julian Alps.

Nose: Slightly herbal, faint wood, vague citrus, cocoa, crisp, clean.
Palate: Fruity, melon, subtle banana bread, citrus, vanilla, creamy, caramel, cashew, almond, nutty, licorice, anise, grassy, peppery, rye, mineral, wet stone, lively, elegant.
Finish: Smooth, clean, complex, hot pepper, intense, even, balanced, full body, long.

Double Gold Medal
Double Gold medal



Slovenia vodka


Bimber vodka



GOLD MEDAL WINNERS:

Bimber
(Poland)
Winter wheat, distilled 6 times.

Nose:Light citrus, floral, pepper, light herbal.
Palate: Hints of vanilla, powdered sugar, caramel, dough, cashew, nutty, mint, floral, herbal, anise, slate, spicy, silky, smooth.
Finish: Smooth, silky, clean, rye, peppery, mineral, rustic, rich, even, long.

Gold Medal
Gold medal



FRÏS
(Canada)
100% whole wheat grain, pure natural water, patented "Freeze distillation" process.

Nose: Vanilla, citrus, floral, herbal, grassy, cigar box, light.
Palate: Vanilla, crème brûlée, toasted almond, white peppercorn, peppery, olive, citrus, lemon, mint, herbal, rye, stone, oaky notes, balanced.
Finish: Light, crisp, melon, mineral, fresh, zesty, peppery, very dry, full body, medium.

Gold Medal
Gold medal



FRÏS vodka


Vektor vodka



Vektor
(Russia)
Russian winter wheat based, distilled 7 times, birchwood filtered, using 15th century recipe.

Nose: Citrus, pastry dough, powdered sugar, pine, faint potato, lightly herbal, very clean.
Palate: Vanilla custard, crème brûlée, cream, pastry dough, biscuits, coconut, citrus, herbs, grassy, pine, fresh, airy, approachable.
Finish: Citrus, silky, light body, short.

Gold Medal
Gold medal



Belvedere Unfiltered
(Poland)
100% "Single Estate" Dankowskie Diamond Rye, artesian well water, 4 distillations, left unfiltered.

Nose: Fruity, citrus, caramel, pine, light potato.
Palate: Peanut, cashew, toasted almond, nutty, almond oil, vanilla, creamy, light caramel, anise, pepper, minty, pine, rye, savory, ethereal.
Finish: Rye, spicy, smooth, rich, perfectly balanced, lingers.

Gold Medal
Gold medal



Belvedere Unfiltered vodka


Crystal Head vodka



Crystal Head
(Canada)
Grain based, water from Newfoundland, quadruple distilled, filtered 7 times of which 3 are through semi-precious crystals ("Herkimer Diamonds").

Nose: Slight potato, wet stone.
Palate: Vanilla, caramel, cream, cocoa, almond oil, wheat, citrus, floral, herbal, mineral, earthy, wet stone, pepper cascade, peppercorn, smooth, robust.
Finish: Smooth, faint sandalwood, minty, balanced, medium body, lingering.

Gold Medal
Gold medal



Luksusowa
(Poland)
Potato based, artesian well water, distilled 3 times.

Nose: Floral, banana, grain, faint musk.
Palate: Walnuts, toasted almonds, peanuts, creamy, vanilla, caramel, almond butter, sweet, spicy, white pepper, black pepper, rye, so smooth.
Finish: Pepper, spicy, fruity, light, clean, delicate, medium body, medium-long.

Gold Medal
Gold medal



Luksusowa vodka


42 Below vodka



42 Below
(New Zealand)
GE-free wheat based, spring water, 4 times distilled, filtered through 35 separate filters.

Nose: Fruit, faint anise, clean.
Palate: Spicy upfront, cocoa, cream, fruit, hazelnut coffee, nutty, almond oil, peppery, black pepper, spicy, lemon, floral, herbal, grassy, anise, grain, cigar box wood, soft.
Finish: Lively, dry, balanced, light body, medium.

Gold Medal
Gold medal



Belvedere
(Poland)
Gold rye based, artesian well water, 4 distillations.

Nose: Vanilla, pastry dough, bread, toast, potato skin, herbal, faint melon, grassy, cherry, cola notes, almond oil, smooth, lively.
Palate: Vanilla, pastry dough, bread, toast, potato skin, herbal, faint melon, grassy, cherry, cola notes, almond oil, smooth, lively.
Finish: Smooth, crisp, clean, balanced, light body, short.

Gold Medal
Gold medal



Belvedere vodka


Finlandia vodka



Finlandia
(Finland)
Six-row barley based, natural spring water filtered through glacial moraine rock.

Nose: Slightly herbaceous, faint citrus, light tobacco.
Palate: Caramel, vanilla, butter cream, cashew, almond, nutmeg, light citrus, minty, mineral, creamy texture, wet stone, slate, smooth, balanced, classic.
Finish: Smooth, delicate, even, mineral, stones, light body, medium.

Gold Medal
Gold medal



Platinka
(Belarus)
100% rye based, artesian well water, distilled 5 times, charcoal & platinum filtration.

Nose: Mint, citrus, faint sugar, clean.
Palate: Butter cream, vanilla, salted caramel, toffee, peppermint, citrus, herbaceous, jalapeño, stone, approachable.
Finish: Smooth, clean, fresh, light body, medium.

Gold Medal
Gold medal



Platinka vodka


Purus vodka



Purus
(Italy)
100% certified organic Italian wheat based, water from the Italian Alps, distilled 5 times, charcoal filterd.

Nose: Floral, herbal, citrus, anise, grain, faint mineral, clean.
Palate: Vanilla, powdered sugar, melon, fruit, subtle citrus, lemon, tangy, grassy, mint, spicy, pepper, dusty, potato skin.
Finish: Light, woody notes, dough, easy-drinking, medium body, long.

Gold Medal
Gold medal



Signature
(Canada)


Nose: Almond oil, floral, herbaceous, bread, mineral, lightly citrus, sweet.
Palate: Pistachio upfront, cocoa, subtle milk chocolate, vanilla, pastry dough, creamy texture, nutmeg, cashew, coffee bean, nutty, potato, mineral, wet stone, silky, smooth, balanced.
Finish: Soft, gentle, clean, rich, mineral, spicy, sweet, light body, medium.

Gold Medal
Gold medal



Signature


U'Luvka



U'Luvka
(Poland)
Rye, barley and wheat based, 3 times distilled.

Nose: Melon, sweet pepper, clean.
Palate: Port barrel, prune, raisin, rich toffee notes, walnut, rye, spicy, pepper, lemon, anise, celery, minty, herbal, mossy, mineral, wet stone.
Finish: Smooth, clean, assertive, well balanced, full body, short.

Gold Medal
Gold medal



Van Gogh BLUE
(Holland)
A blend of wheat sourced from Holland, Germany & France, melted ice water from mountain in Germany, triple distillation.

Nose: Floral notes, light citrus, fruit, faint potato.
Palate: Vanilla, butter cream, crème brûlée, caramel, almond oil, walnut, coffee, bread, herbal, anise, mint, pepper, spicy, classic.
Finish: Very smooth, rich, pepper, medium body, short.

Gold Medal
Gold medal



Van Gogh BLUE vodka


Bully vodka



Bully
(France)
Wheat based.

Nose: Floral, cocoa, melon, bread.
Palate: Vanilla, cream, coffee, melon, lavender, heather, grassy, rye, herbal, tea, anise, white peppercorn, dough, potato, mineral, dusty, balanced.
Finish: Smooth, light, vanilla, creamy, dry, bold, complex, easy on the palate, medium body, medium.

Gold Medal
Gold medal



SILVER MEDAL WINNERS:

Punzoné
(Italy)
Italian organic wheat, water from the Italian Alps, 5 times distilled.

Nose: Lemon, light mint, anise, cola notes, spicy.
Palate: Anise, licorice, subtle mint, mossy, herbal, juniper, fruit, citrus, sweet melon, vanilla, cream, caramel, peppercorn, peppery.
Finish: Smooth, dry, crisp, grassy, floral, anise, light pepper, light body, medium.

Silver Medal
Silver medal



Punzoné vodka


Iceberg vodka



Iceberg
(Canada)
Sweet corn based, blended with iceberg water.

Nose: Creamy, mint, citrus, lightly floral, powdered sugar, coconut.
Palate: Vanilla, cream, caramel, hazelnut, almond, almond oil, citrus, grassy, grain, pepper, zesty, spicy, mineral, lively, pure, silky.
Finish: Vanilla, peppery, spicy, clean, bold, rich, medium body, medium-long.

Silver Medal
Silver medal



Karlsson's Gold
(Sweden)
Different varieties of virgin new potatoes, distilled once and unfiltered.

Nose: Moss, grassy, citrus, melon, dusty, spicy.
Palate: Grassy, green olive, potato skin, earthy, mossy, wet soil, wood, anise, herbal, mineral, creamy.
Finish: Tropical fruit notes, prune, licorice, mineral, spicy fade, light body, short.

Silver Medal
Silver medal



Karlsson's Gold vodka

 

 

 

 

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