Best Vodka 2016

Best Premium Imported Vodka - 2016

The Fifty Best Imported Vodka Tasting - 2016


The Tasting:
The Fifty Best held a “blind” tasting of 25 imported vodkas with 14 pre-qualified judges. The vodkas were judged and scored separately. 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, neutral unflavored crackers and chips were available to cleanse the palate. The judges tasted through three flights of 7 vodkas and one flight of 4 vodkas.

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 are awarded according to a set range of final point scores received from the judges for this highly competitive evaluation. There were no bronze medals awarded for this tasting. The tasting notes that follow are summaries of the judges’ opinions, with all replicated commentary eliminated. The countries of origin are given, with a few tidbits added for each brand. All of these vodkas are 80 proof, unless otherwise indicated.



elit by Stoli
Grain based. 3x distilled. Patented 'freeze-filtration' process.

Nose: Sweet vanilla, caramel, blood orange, fruity, toasty, wheat grain, wet stone, fresh laundry, clean, crisp, very subtle.
Palate: Toasted vanilla, vanilla egg cream, cocoa, buttery, creamy, fruity, blackberry notes, dried berries, hint of citrus, light spice, light mint, light grains, so clean, smooth, the world’s finest vodka, exceptional.
Finish: Honey, buttery, milky, flan, light citrus, peppery, tobacco, minerally, wet stone, smooth, nice, easy, super light, well crafted, great mouthfeel.

Double Gold Medal
Double Gold medal

   elit by Stoli Vodka

AVIV 613
Figs, dates, pomegranates, olives, grapes, wheat and barley. Water sourced from the Sea of Galilee. Grains distilled 3 times, fruits distilled 3 times – blended and distilled 1 more time. 6 filtrations.

Nose: Marshmallow, chocolate, fruity banana, mint, mineral, crisp, intense, clean, very delicate.
Palate: Vanilla, Nilla wafers, citrus, lemon, fruity, light cream, creamy, pastry dough, almond oil, floral, licorice, anise, mint, white peppercorn, peppery.
Finish: Vanilla, creamy, grapes, citrus, mint, black pepper, nutmeg, sweet, smooth, light, clean.

Double Gold Medal
Double Gold medal

   AVIV 613 Vodka

(Newfoundland, Canada)
100% Ontario sweet corn, pure harvested iceberg water. Triple distilled.

Nose: Citrus, lemon peel, melon, bread dough, biscuit, floral, grassy, mint, spearmint, soft, approachable.
Palate: Vanilla, powdered sugar, cocoa, grainy, pastry dough, dusty, powdery talc, dull citrus, floral, alluringly spicy, peppery, potato, coffee, mineral, silky, fresh, delicious.
Finish: Almond, minty, grassy, peppery, wine-like, clean, soft, silky, smooth, elegant, pretty.

Double Gold Medal
Double Gold medal

Iceberg Vodka

(New Zealand)
Fresh seasonal whey sourced from the Bay of Plenty Region. Pure New Zealand water. Triple distilled, filtered through carbon "rockets". Gluten free.

Nose: Citrus, grain, dough, bread, light cocoa, rye, peppery, new wood, lively, slightly zesty, impressively neutral, very mild, delicate, pretty.
Palate: Toffee, creamy, sweet grains citrus, floral, potato skin, anise, mint, peppery, cigar box, hint of wet stone, mineral, clean, savory, balanced.
Finish: Nutty candy, creamy, buttery, pepper, anise, spicy, growing minerality, clean, balanced, rich, silky, smooth, very soft, mellow.

Double Gold Medal
Double Gold medal


Blue Duck
(New Zealand)
Whey based, pure New Zealand water. 7x distilled.

Nose: Light vanilla, grain, mild grassy, very subtle.
Palate: Vanilla, confectioner’s sugar, cream, bread dough, pastry dough, wheat, sweet grains, citrus, floral, aggressively mossy, sweet mint, herbal, tarragon, spicy, jalapeno, peppery, wet stone, mineral.
Finish: Grapes, grassy, anise, mint, peppery, light pepper, clean, brash, very smooth, well-balanced, mellow.

Double Gold Medal
Double Gold medal

Blue Duck Rare Vodka

Sobieski Estate Single Rye Vodka
100% locally grown golden Dankowski rye, pure Carpathian Fore Oligocene spring water. Continuous distillation.

Nose: Citrus, grassy, anise, mint, clotted cream, light cream, wood, mineral, lively, subtle, complex, very mild.
Palate: Vanilla, creamy, milky, powdered sugar, cocoa, citrus, melon, floral, sweet fennel, minty, spicy, peppery, mineral, approachable.
Finish: Butterscotch, cream, citrus, anise, grainy, mineral, smooth powder, rich, crisp, light, smooth, easy, mellow.

Double Gold Medal
Double Gold medal

Sobieski Estate Single Rye Vodka

Winter wheat & barley, distilled 34x. Certified organic.

Nose: Vanilla, berry, grape, citrus, lemon peel, potato, nutty, mint, anise, cocoa beans, doughy, cereal, creamy.
Palate: Vanilla, melon, grape, floral, herbal, grassy, cashew, peppery, anise, licorice, wintergreen, mint, grainy, creamy, cocoa, dusty, crisp, complex, smooth.
Finish: Vanilla, sweet melon, herbal, spicy, pepper, mineral, clean, very smooth.

Double Gold Medal
Double Gold medal

Purity Vodka


Khortytsa De Luxe
100% grain. Ancient artesian well water. Filtered through birch and alder-tree charcoal and quartz sand.

Nose: Vanilla, citrus, lemon, basil, anise, minty, menthol, eucalyptus, mild grassy, wheat grain, minerals, approachable.
Palate: Strawberry, orange peel, ginger, candy, creamy, fresh grain, coffee, floral, herbs, basil, anise, licorice, cinnamon, spearmint, peppermint, white pepper, crisp, smooth.
Finish: Vanilla, creamy, lemon peel, plum, cinnamon, rye, crisp, delicate, shockingly smooth.

Gold Medal
Gold medal

Khortytsa De Luxe Vodka

3 Kilos
Highest quality hand-selected European golden wheat. 5x distilled.

Nose: Lightly floral, vanilla bean, mineral, approachable.
Palate: Vanilla, grapefruit, melon, almond, cashews, cocoa, silky grains, mineral, floral, herbal, mint, anise, spicy, peppery, full-flavored, smooth, well-balanced.
Finish: Vanilla, corn, nice bite of grain, floral, spicy, smooth, easy, clean, balanced, fabulous.

Gold Medal
Gold medal

3 Kilos Vodka

100% locally grown golden Dankowski rye, pure Oligocene spring water. Continuous distillation.

Nose: Vanilla, creamy, pastry dough, grain, citrus, grass, pepper, white pepper, wet stone, clean, delicate.
Palate: Vanilla, powdered sugar, grain, wet dough, citrus, tangy, white peppercorn, peppery, wet stone, mineral, smooth creamy mouthfeel, well-balanced.
Finish: Creamy, cocoa, lemon, grassy, peppery, rye, clean, tangy, zesty, smooth, silky, balanced.

Gold Medal
Gold medal

Sobieski Vodka

(The Netherlands)
European wheat, pure artesian water. Coal-filtered.

Nose: Floral, honey, light grain, lime, delicate.
Palate: Vanilla, caramel, powdered sugar, pastry dough, cocoa, creamy, whipped cream, passion fruit, tangy citrus, floral, herbal, anise, mint, grain, rye, nutty, pepper, spicy, crisp, zesty.
Finish: Creamy, cocoa, anise, mint, spicy, soft, smooth, silky, crisp, lively, tangy.

Gold Medal
Gold medal

Medea Vodka

50 Bleu
Dankowskie golden winter rye, natural spring water.

Nose: Vanilla, new fresh grain, Wonder Bread, pastry dough, cookie dough, baked goods, citrus, lemon, grassy, dusty, approachable, clean, lively, slightly vibrant.
Palate: Powdered sugar, creamy, cookie dough, citrus, lemon peel, watermelon, floral, grassy, herbal, spicy, mint, nutty, cracked pepper, grain, potato skin, wet stone, slate, soft mouthfeel, tangy, very interesting, mellow.
Finish: Creamy, cream and sugar, peppery, peppercorn, anise, balanced, tangy, clean, crisp, smooth, pleasant.

Gold Medal
Gold medal

50 Bleu Vodka

Potatoes, triple distilled.

Nose: Cotton candy, citrus, melon, floral, eucalyptus, grassy, spicy, anise, mint, dough, earthy, wet stone, intense.
Palate: Citrus, melon, grape, cocoa, creamy pastry dough, coffee, floral, herbal, mossy, black pepper, aggressive pepper, tangy, smooth, silky.
Finish: Vanilla, creamy, chocolate, floral, grassy, white peppercorn, spicy, mineral, crisp, delicate, exceptionally smooth.

Gold Medal
Gold medal

Monopolowa Vodka

Blend of wheat, rye and potato. Artesian well water. Ceramic and candle filtration.

Nose: Vanilla, creamy, cocoa, bread, rye, anise, mineral, slightly assertive, approachable.
Palate: Vanilla, light cream, buttery, sweet condensed milk, honeydew, citrus, floral, almond, cashews, toast, licorice, moss, grassy, herbal, rye, spicy, peppery, soft, zesty, lively.
Finish: Butterscotch, cream, creamy milky, caramel, white pepper, peppercorn, peppery, mint, earthy, this can come home with me, smooth.

Gold Medal
Gold medal

Ultimat Vodka

Blue Diamond
Premium European grains, artesian water. 5x distilled.

Nose: Vanilla, lemon peel, mineral, light wood, crisp, zesty.
Palate: Vanilla, melon, citrus, almond, cashew, doughy, rye, potato, herbal, anise, minty, zesty, spicy, peppery, mineral, wet stone, smooth, well-balanced.
Finish: Citrus, floral, anise, minty, tangy, spicy, buttery, creamy mouthfeel, mineral, balanced, clean, rich, smooth, silky, mellow.

Gold Medal
Gold medal

Blue Diamond Vodka

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

Nose: Citrus, orange, floral, basil, grainy, mineral, wet stone, assertive.
Palate: Vanilla, sweet whipped cream, almond, potato skins, herbal, moss, peppery.
Finish: Creamy, cocoa, floral, grassy, peppery, light pepper, stone, fresh, clean, crisp, lively, easy, smooth, balanced, elegant.

Gold Medal
Gold medal

Belvedere Unfiltered Vodka

White Diamond
Premium grains. Artesian water from European acquifers. 5x distilled.

Nose: Melon, cherry, raspberry, nutty, rye bread, grain, cocoa, mineral, spicy, assertive, delicate.
Palate: Toffee, honey, confectioner’s sugar, cream, cherry, citrus, rye, potato, herbal, sweet, vibrant, zestful, smooth, mellow, balanced.
Finish: Cane sugar, vanilla, grass, lively, rich, silky, smooth, soft, mellow, delicate, gentle.

Gold Medal
Gold medal

White Diamond Vodka

Scottish malted barley and Scottish mountain water. Quintuple micro-distillation.

Nose: Butterscotch, vanilla, Juicy Fruit gum, bubble gum, alluring sugar, citrus, cantaloupe, honeydew, figs, dates, agave, almond, nuts.
Palate: Butterscotch, vanilla, bubble gum, strawberry, melon, cocoa, coconut water, dark dates, almond, anise, grain, potato. mossy, grass, mineral.
Finish: Vanilla, bananas, grapes, melon, citrus, cocoa, nutty, creamy, smooth, velvety, rich, come home with me, memorable.

Gold Medal
Gold medal

VALT Vodka

Belvedere Intense
"Single Estate" Dankowskie Diamond Rye, artesian well water, double filtered through charcoal, 4 distillations. 100 proof.

Nose: Citrus, soft berries, floral, herbs, grassy, lemongrass, mint, cream, nutty, potato, light sweet grains, mineral, crisp.
Palate: Citrus, strong herbal, menthol, mossy, grain, bread dough, dusty, spices, peppery, bold flavors.
Finish: Alluring grass, red pepper, mint, light spice, lively, clean, silky, smooth.

Gold Medal
Gold medal

Belvedere Intense Vodka

Gold rye, artesian well water, 4 distillations.

Nose: Sweet citrus, lime, gravel, mineral, approachable.
Palate: Soft vanilla, powdered sugar, citrus, grass, mint, nutty, almond oil, herbal, spicy, tea, rye, grain, mossy, mineral, wet stone, cigar box, creamy, dusty, complex.
Finish: Vanilla, creamy, spice, pepper, pleasingly sweet, balanced mineral, clean, crisp, very light, soft, smooth, rich.

Gold Medal
Gold medal

Belvedere Vodka

(Great Britain)
Potatoes from Chase family farm in the UK.

Nose: Praline, caramel, vanilla, bubblegum, melon, honeydew, banana, orange zest, lemon, almond, coffee, soft.
Palate: Toffee, caramel, molasses, powdered sugar, vanilla, dessert, banana, agave, sweet potato, potato, grainy, silky floral, nutty, mocha, black pepper, mint, wet stone.
Finish: Lovely soft fruit, lemon peel, creamy, spicy, clean, easy, silky, smooth.

Gold Medal
Gold medal

Chase Vodka


(Saskatchewan, Canada)
7x distilled. Charcoal filtered water from interglacial aquifer.

Nose: Vanilla, black cherry, lemon zest, mint, grain, classic, very subtle.
Palate: Vanilla, cocoa, cream, melon, citrus, lemon, lime, orange, bread, grain, nuts, delicate spice, peppery, menthol, mineral, assertive wet stone, complex, smooth, clean, silky, refreshing.
Finish: Citrus, coffee, mineral, black pepper, peppery, crisp, approachable, balanced, soft, silky, smooth.

Silver Medal
Silver medal

Provincial Vodka

European wheat. Swedish Lake Boren water, so clean it requires no filtration.

Nose: Lemon, grass, spearmint, ozone, the smell before it rains, earthy,smoky, approachable.
Palate: Toffee, powdered sugar, citrus, green tropical fruit, grass, moss, herbal, tarragon, spices, peppery, stone, minerals.
Finish: Citrus, orange, grass, green olives, spice, white pepper, mineral, smooth, soft, crisp yet light, delicate.

Silver Medal
Silver medal

Precis Vodka

100% locally grown rye, water from Belovezhskaya Pusha National Park. Platinum filtered.

Nose: Pastry dough, bread dough, grassy, wintergreen, earthy, leather, wet rock.
Palate: Vanilla, creamy, sweet grains, bread dough, citrus, smooth melon, almond, mint, black olives, spice, peppery, crisp, lively, smooth, silky, well balanced.
Finish: Raspberry, creamy, buttery, soft pepper, mineral, subtle, soft, smooth, clean, silky.

Silver Medal
Silver medal

Platinka Vodka

Winter wheat and soft rye. Underground spring water. 6x distilled.

Nose: Creamy, herbal, grassy, licorice, rye, mossy, minerality, dusty, very subtle, complex.
Palate: Vanilla, confectioner’s sugar, cream, mocha, fruity, citrus, absinthe, herbal, grassy, spicy, peppery, black pepper, anise, mint, rye, wheat, smooth, assertive.
Finish: Vanilla, creamy, grassy, peppery, hint of sweetness, rich, tangy, clean, smooth, mellow.

Silver Medal
Silver medal

Ruskova Vodka



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Sat. June 10, 2017 6:26 PM - by: Thomas cope
Trying to find a tart flavored vodka Three Olives apparently discontinued theirs do you have any suggestions let me know I live in Pennsylvania I found vodka in California but they won't ship to Pennsylvania do you have any suggestions how I can get some good tart flavored vodka hope to hear from you
Sat. May 13, 2017 1:10 PM - by: uniquedrinks
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Tue. May 9, 2017 12:19 PM - by: Jeff
Success Vodka from the U.S., available only in TX KS and OK so far, but nothing compares to the cleanliness and purity of this vodka. It is Gluten-Free, Organic, and Kosher as well.
Mon. March 6, 2017 12:11 PM - by: Michael Hauser
When will White Tiger Vodka be included in this tasting?
Fri. January 6, 2017 8:50 PM - by: Steve
Surprised Chopin wasn't in this taste test, other quality vodka's missing are Wyborowa, Beluga, Russian Standard
Sun. December 4, 2016 12:23 PM - by: Mark
What happened to beluga gold This is by far the best in world!!!
Sat. October 8, 2016 3:22 PM - by: John S Grek
I don't understand why Cristall Vodka isn't on the list. This is one of the smoothest finest vodkas in the world. Try it for yourself and see.
Thu. September 1, 2016 2:22 PM - by: leslie leveson
We live and learn in this world,for I only have heard of one vodka in this list.What surprised me being countries like Israel New Zealand Iceland producing their own brands.When the market is dominated by the big companies,others are not thought of regards to choice.
Mon. June 13, 2016 7:33 PM - by: Gregory Lorenzen
Thanks for this ranking and posting.I believe it is non-biased because my favorite value- priced vodka, scored highly, twice. I will most certainly revisit your site and hopefully, I can recommend you to others.

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Fifty Best > Spirits Archive > Best Vodka 2016
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