Domestic Vodka 2011
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Best Domestic Vodka - 2011

The Great Domestic Vodka Tasting of 2011

 

The Tasting:
At Beacon in NYC, 28 journalists, retailers and aficionados tasted 28 small batch handcrafted American vodkas. The products were served "blindly", without distractions of brand names. The order of service was randomly selected through a lottery system. Each of the vodkas were poured into fresh glasses from new sealed bottles, and served at slightly above room temperature. Ice water on the side, bread and crackers were available to cleanse the palate. There were four flights of seven vodkas each. Food was served during a break 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, Silver and Bronze medals are awarded based on a set range of final point scores received from the judges. The tasting notes are summaries of the judges’ opinions. Prices quoted are for 750ml sizes in 2011. Prices will vary by state and does not include sales tax.

 

Here are the final results:

Prairie Organic

DOUBLE-GOLD MEDAL WINNERS:

1.  Prairie Organic- (Minnesota)- $25
Certified organic #2 yellow corn based

Pastry dough vanilla nose, caramel, vanilla, cream, coconut, dried herbs, fruit, silky, smooth, sweet, assertive, inviting, distinctive, delicious, lovely, full-bodied, herbal hot finish.


Double Gold Medal
Double Gold medal

2.  Valentine- (Michigan)- $30
Blend of barley, Red Michigan Wheat, and corn

Vanilla, nutmeg, butterscotch, honey, toffee, creamy, buttery, grain, mineral, smooth, velvety, delicate, dry, nice, clean, peppermint, mellow, light sweet finish.

Double Gold Medal
Double Gold medal

Valentine

Dry Fly

3.   Dry Fly- (Washington)- $30
Locally sourced wheat-based, fresh mountain water

Vanilla nose, anise, licorice, butterscotch, cotton candy, citrus, nutty, spicy, black pepper, intense, slightly sweet, distinctively different, off-dry, robust, light-bodied, great smooth finish.

Double Gold Medal
Double Gold medal

GOLD MEDAL WINNERS:

Beyond- (California)- $18
Grain-based, special filtration

Vanilla, floral, spicy, sweet, subtle, velvety, smooth, delicate, vibrant, clean, gentle, intense, classic, full-bodied, peppery finish.

Gold Medal
Gold medal

Beyond

Cooper's Chase

Cooper's Chase- (Nebraska)- $14
Grain-based

Butterscotch, creamy, vanilla, citrus, anise, dried herbs, potato skin, hint of pepper, white pepper, smooth, sweet, delicate, clean, complex, balanced, sweet hot spice finish.

Gold Medal
Gold medal

Heart of the Hudson- (New York)- $40
NY State Hudson Valley apples based, twice distilled

Fragrant grassy nose, peppery, anise, butterscotch, candy-cane, caramel, sweet, fruity, floral, buttery, silky, smooth, subtle, crisp, pleasant, different, full-bodied, even on palate, slightly sharp finish.

Gold Medal
Gold medal

Heart of the Hudson

SAVVY

SAVVY- (Texas)- $20
Grain-based, distilled five-times through charcoal, natural spring water

Butterscotch, candied, vanilla, caramel, creamy, smooth, sweet, spicy, floral, pine needles with butter, clean, subtle, lovely, balanced, medium-bodied, nicely smooth with comfy heat.

Gold Medal
Gold medal

Most Wanted- (Missouri)- $13
Grain-based, slow-filtration

Herbs, spicy, citrus, wet stone, smooth, dry, velvety, excellent, sharp, intense, balanced, sweet & pepper finish.

Gold Medal
Gold medal

Most Wanted

Sloop Betty

Sloop Betty- (Maryland)- $32
Sugar cane and wheat-based

Anise, lemon, grassy, floral, nutty, spice, some pepper, dry, light, delicate, elegant, vibrant, clean, very smooth, velvety, complex, exciting, balanced, medium-bodied, good for mixing.

Gold Medal
Gold medal

Southern- (Georgia)- $13
Corn-based, slow carbon filtration

Anise nose, citrus, almond, pepper, basil, soft, light, perfumy, smooth, dry, sharp, medium-bodied, nice finish, bitter caramel that ends smooth and buttery.

Gold Medal
Gold medal

Southern

Teton Glacier

Teton Glacier- (Idaho)- $25
Idaho potatoes, filtered through garnet and crystal, Rocky Mountain well water

Grain, floral, almond, mineral, wet stone, mild spice, sweet, approachable, aggressive, dry, smooth, light, clean finish, very nice, full-bodied.

Gold Medal
Gold medal


Vermont Gold- (Vermont)- $38
Sugar from maple sap, triple-distilled, lightly filtered

Nice nose, approachable, vanilla, bit of fruit, butterscotch, cream, honey, floral, maple walnut, butternut, hint of citrus, peppermint, sweet, smooth, velvety, full-bodied, long finish.

Gold Medal
Gold medal

Vermont Gold

Bootlegger

SILVER MEDAL WINNERS:

Bootlegger- (New York)- $25
Corn-based

Almond oil, peppery, nutty notes, hint of hazelnut, potato, mineral, smooth, light, clean, sharp, assertive, delicate, balanced, medium-bodied, mossy, sweetness in the finish.

Silver Medal
Silver medal


River Baron- (Iowa)- $30
Blend of corn and wheat based

Full sweet nose, butterscotch, vanilla, buttery, cotton candy, banana, nutty, sweet butter, pepper, light spice, smooth, velvety, assertive, very light, really good, perfect.

Silver Medal
Silver medal

River Baron

Death's Door


Death's Door- (Wisconsin)- $30
Organic hard red winter wheat based

Smooth, velvety, silky, creamy, butter, honey, spicy, some citrus, grass, pepper, mineral, white pepper, elegant, alluring, assertive, lively, off-dry, nice, medium to full-bodied, even finish.

Silver Medal
Silver medal

Peabody Jones- (Washington)- $30
Washington State organic soft winter wheat based

Sweet peppermint nose, mint, schnapps, creamy, floral, caramel, butterscotch, toffee, vanilla, candy-cane, nice, sweet, smooth, silky, stoic, dangerous mixer.

Silver Medal
Silver medal

Peabody Jones

UV 80

UV 80- (Minnesota)- $13
Grain-based, water purified with "three bed de-ionization process", 4x carbon filtered

Vanilla, cream, peach, honeysuckle, wheat, bread, mineral, peppery, complex, spicy, oily, assertive, crisp, lively, alluring, balanced, very smooth, velvety, medium-bodied.

Silver Medal
Silver medal

 

 

Enchanted Rock- (Texas)- $18
Grain-based, 6x distilled, natural limestone-filtered water

Grass & citrus nose, wet stone, spicy, green, some ginger, white pepper bite, nice, welcoming, dry, soft, light, delicate, approachable, warm fruity finish with teeth.

 

Silver Medal
  Silver medal

 

1860s Genuine American Vodka- (Missouri)- $30
Grain-based, 5x mesquite charcoal filtered

Spicy, citrusy, mint with vanilla, mixed pepper, silky, smooth, delicate, elegant, intense, dry, complex, yummy, late butter finish.

 

Silver Medal
  Silver medal

 

Brandon's- (Arkansas)- $30
Arkansas soft red winter wheat based

Lemony, fruity, vanilla, caramel, sweet, crisp, spicy, grain, silky, vibrant, off-dry, oily, smooth, delicate, elegant, medium-bodied, warm finish.

 

Silver Medal
  Silver medal

 

Vision- (Oregon)- $30
Wheat-based, Cascade Mountain spring water, 5x distilled

Tangy, citrus, floral, dusty, fluffy, vanilla, caramel, brown sugar, white peppercorn, nice, approachable, velvety, subtle, light, lively, hot finish.

 

Silver Medal
  Silver medal

 

BRONZE MEDAL WINNERS:

Twenty 2- (Maine)- $28
Wheat-based, Northern Maine water, charcoal filtered

Subtle, nutty, black pepper, fruity, peppery, light, balanced, smooth.

 

Bronze Medal
  Bronze medal

 

Bardenay- (Ohio)- $20
Brown sugar cane based

Peppery, lemongrass, potato, cayenne, sweet, elegant, smooth, silky, dry, approachable, lively, aggressive, balanced, full-bodied, nice even strong heat and finish.

 

Bronze Medal
  Bronze medal

 

Crater Lake- (Oregon)- $27
Grain-based, Cascade Mountain water, filtered 10x through charcoal and lava rock

Caramel, a little cinnamon, sharp, tart, spicy, silky, very smooth, interesting, full-bodied, late warmth.

 

Bronze Medal
  Silver medal

 

Americana- (New Jersey)- $30
Grain-based, NJ water, charcoal filtered

Anise, peppercorn, herb, buttery flowers, mossy, grain, creamy, sweet, spicy, quite smooth, velvety, intense, strong, medium-bodied, peppery finish.

 

Bronze Medal
  Bronze medal

 

Plantation- (Georgia)- $16
Blend of Southern grain and corn based, aquifer water naturally filtered through limestone

Anise, dry, lemon, white peppercorn, green olives, grassy, spicy, velvety, mellow, complex, medium-bodied.

 

Bronze Medal
  Bronze medal

 

 

Deep Eddy Straight- (Texas)- $18
Barley-based, Texas spring water, 10x distilled

Grain, pastry dough, maple, nutty, spicy, smooth, dry, clean, intense, sharp, biting, good balance, nice finish.

 

Bronze Medal
  Bronze medal

 

 

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Comments or questions welcome, please e-mail to: editor@thefiftybest.com

 

 

Comments and Suggestions:

 
Sun. April 15, 2012 4:07 PM - by: Roger Baer
Where is Blue Ice Vodka ? Rated 94, distilled by Master Distiller Bill Scott, Distilled Resources, Rigby, Idaho. One of the best potato vodka's out there.
 
 
Mon. January 30, 2012 5:15 PM - by: Benjamin
I will also second the River Baron from Mississippi River Distillery. We live in Wisconsin and drive across state just to get this spirit. Absolutely awesome in specialty sodas.
 
 
Mon. October 3, 2011 6:21 PM - by: Steve
I love the River Baron from Mississippi River Distillery in IA! The rest of their products are top notch as well.
 
 
Sat. September 10, 2011 9:16 PM - by: Kelly
I second the recommendation for River Baron! It's the best I have ever tasted.
 
 
Sun. August 28, 2011 3:59 PM - by: Jeff
Love River Baron Vodka, made in the Quad Cities, LeClaire, Iowa. Mississippi River Distilling. They also make great gin and whiskey.
 
 
Fri. July 22, 2011 11:57 AM - by: JB2
Love the Twenty 2 vodka. Surprised it didn't do even better than bronze
 
 
Tue. July 12, 2011 2:38 PM - by: Lea M.
1860's is by far the best! Try it - it rocks!
 
 
Tue. July 12, 2011 7:46 AM - by: JB
Where the heck is Tito's? It destroys all of these imposters!!!
 
 
Mon. July 11, 2011 3:10 PM - by: Rooster
There is a little State out West. It's called IDAHO. I believe Bardenay is in there and not Ohio. Nor is it in Iowa or Sun Valley.
 
 
Mon. July 11, 2011 11:23 AM - by: Dr. CK Walker
Love Dry Fly!!
 
 


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