Vodka 2012

Best Premium Imported Vodka - 2012


The Great Vodka Tasting of 2012


The Fifty Best held a “blind” tasting of 21 imported, unflavored premium and ultra-premium vodkas with 18 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; 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 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. Prices may vary by state and do not include sales tax. Country of origin is given, with a few tidbits added for each brand.






1. FAIR. -
(France) $34 - Quinoa based, cultivated from a cooperative of 1200 farmers.

Nose: Floral, fruity, touch of wood, aromatic citrus, lime, approachable. Palate: Herbal, melon, cassis, berries, floral character, citrus, vanilla, nutty coconut, creamy, powdered sugar, soft mineral, slightly peppery, white peppercorn, feminine, lively, nice. Finish: Cedar, wood, citrus, smooth, soft, creamy, clean. crisp, mild.

Double Gold Medal
Double Gold medal

2. Quay - (Mediterranean) $36 - Grain based.

Nose: Light, delicate, butterscotch, subtle caramel. Palate: Cashews, vanilla, light citrus, fruity, banana, subtly herbal, grassy, hay notes, mossy, creamy, oily, mineral, wet stone, dusty, evenly balanced, exceptionally smooth, outstanding. Finish: Rich, soft, full-bodied, vibrant, robust.

Double Gold Medal
Double Gold medal



3. Two-Way Tie -
Cavoda -
(France) $34 - French wheat based, distilled 5 times.

Nose: Citrus, lime, 7Up, light floral, light cherry, olives, crisp. Palate: Lemon, lime zest, melon, fruit, banana, currant, cola, spearmint, white peppercorn, spicy, sweet, balanced, full-bodied, nice. Finish: Cola, soft, creamy, clean, silky, smooth, unique.

Double Gold Medal
Double Gold medal

(Denmark) $24 - Wheat based, spring water, freeze distilled 6 times.

Nose: Cedar, flowers, light herbal, nutty, subtle. Palate: Herbal, grassy, rye, anise, hint of nuts, flan, vanilla, powdered sugar, fruit, tangy, acidic, peppery, oily, balanced, well-rounded, very nice, easy to drink. Finish: Sweet, silky, creamy, full-bodied, dry, crisp, incredibly smooth, nice kick.

Double Gold Medal
Double Gold medal




666 -
(Tasmania) $30 - Natural Tasmanian malted barley based, 3 times distilled then charcoal filtered.

Nose: Eucalyptus, almond, coconut, floral, vanilla, wet stone, subtle. Palate: Almond, carob, nuts, oily, melon, vanilla, anise, pepper layers, mint, grassy, herbal, wet stone, mineral, distinctive. Finish: walnut, spicy, soft, smooth, nice, rich, creamy, full-bodied.

Gold Medal
Gold medal

Finlandia -
(Finland) $22 - Six-row barley based, glacier spring water.

Nose: Subtle, zesty. Palate: Grain, almond oil, nutty, vanilla, creamy, orange blossom, fruit, black peppercorn, peppery, spicy, mossy, clean, crisp, balanced, well-rounded, elegant. Finish: Light, dry, rich, oily, smooth, soft.

Gold Medal
Gold medal


Aylesbury Duck

Aylesbury Duck -
(Canada) Soft white wheat from the western prairies of Canada, 3 times distilled, no carbon filtering.

Nose: Fresh, clean, light, hint of vanilla, dusty, potato skin, wet stone, floral. Palate: Creamy, caramel, vanilla, sugar, sweet, cotton candy, touch of coffee, almond oil, dry grain, white peppercorn, mineral notes, floral, herbal, minty, mossy, balanced, easy to drink. Finish: Clean, crisp, rich, creamy, soft, silky. nice bite.

Gold Medal
Gold medal

(Canada) $18 - Winter wheat based, Canadian Rocky Mountain water, 5 times distilled, filtered 6 times.

Nose: Toast, sweet, creamy, herbal, butter, lemons, delicate, lively. Palate: Vanilla, nut, cocoa, toffee, caramel, potato, grain, black pepper, anise, spicy, herbal, smooth, rich, delicate, well-rounded. Finish: Toasty, smooth, silky, soft.

Gold Medal
Gold medal


Belvedere Unfiltered

Belvedere Unfiltered -
(Poland) $45 - 100% "Single Estate" Dankowskie Diamond Rye, artesian well water, 4 distillations, left unfiltered.

Nose:Delicate, slightly fruity, potato. Palate: Mint, citrus, fruity, vanilla, creamy, peppercorn, wet stone, mineral, mossy, grassy, oily, approachable, very well-rounded, easy to drink. Finish: Sweet, soft, smooth.

Gold Medal
Gold medal

Gera -
(Lithuania) $18 - Lithuanian wheat, blended with spring water.

Nose: Slightly fruity, grassy, nutty, light, subtle. Palate: Wet stone, mineral, cigar box, grassy, hint of grain/bread, vanilla, creamy, peppery, classic neutrality, subtle, fresh, lively, very mixable. Finish: Spicy, crisp, oily, light, soft, smooth, no bite.

Gold Medal
Gold medal


Snow Queen

Snow Queen -
(Ukraine/ Kazakhstan) $25 - Organic wheat based, blended with artesian water from the Tien Shan Mountains.

Nose: Light, sweet, mossy, subtle. Palate: Bright, light vanilla layers, touch of cocoa, citrus notes, peppery, rye, floral, sweet, melony, oily, lively, smooth, balanced. Finish: Mint, anise, spicy, hot pepper, nice bite.

Gold Medal
Gold medal

Akvinta -
(Mediterranean) $35 - Wheat based- Quintuple filtration (birch charcoal, marble, silver, gold, platinum), mountain spring water.

Nose: Light lemon-lime, citrus, floral, delicate. Palate: Floral, rose petals, rich, creamy, powdered sugar, vanilla, herbal, mossy, potato skin, mineral, citrus, spicy, pepper. Finish: Mint, grassy, coconut, robust, dry, clean, smooth, silky, light.

Gold Medal
Gold medal



Belvedere -
(Poland) $32 - Gold rye based, artesian well water, 4 distillations.

Nose: Light floral, citrus, lively, zesty. Palate: Herbal, flowery, vanilla, vanilla cream, almond oil, mint, peppery, oily, balanced. Finish: Grassy notes, spicy, dry, creamy, soft, smooth.

Gold Medal
Gold medal

Reyka -
(Iceland) $22- Wheat base, glacial water filtered through lava rocks.

Nose: Touch of citrus, flowery, grain, subtle. Palate: Notes of grain, nuts, citrus, light butter, light anise, wet stone, balanced. Finish: White pepper, intense, oily, sweet, light, fresh, silky, soft, creamy smooth.

Gold Medal
Gold medal




Luksusowa -
(Potato) $20 - Potato based, artesian well water, distilled 3 times.

Nose: Lavender, herbs, fruity, assertive. Palate: Fruity, grain, buttery, herbal, grassy, black pepper, peppery, wet stone, smooth, balanced. Finish: Subtle, clean, velvety, soft.

Silver Medal
Silver medal

Ultimat -
(Poland) $40 - Wheat, rye and potato based, artesian well water, 6 times distilled.

Nose: Lemon peel, light grain, oily, acidic, light, subtle. Palate: Citrus, rye, pepper, almond, nuts, anise, spearmint, minty, fruity, melon, layers of cream, white chocolate, sweet. Finish: Citrusy, creamy, clean, light, dry, metallic, round, smooth, balanced, bursting.

Silver Medal
Silver medal



Iceberg -
(Canada) $18 - Sweet corn based, blended with iceberg water.

Nose: Mixed citrus, cola, sweet, sugary. Palate: Floral tones, herbal, lime, redwood, vanilla, maple syrup, fruit, lightly sweet, creamy, smooth, clean, crisp. Finish: Candy, pepper, oily, creamy, smooth, rich, full-bodied.

Silver Medal
Silver medal

Regalia -
(Russia) $35 - Russian-grown wheat, blended with aquifer well water, followed by sand, birch, and charcoal filtration.

Nose: Light mint, spicy, light citrus, subtle. Palate: Fruity, melon, almond, vanilla, anise, rye, creamy layers, powdered sugar, citrus notes, pepper, spicy, smoky, oily, astringent, very smooth, dry. Finish: Spicy, smoky, woody notes, rich, zesty, soft, smooth, gentle.

Silver Medal
Silver medal


White Diamond

White Diamond -
(Latvia) $14 - Rye and wheat based, artesian well water, 5 times distilled, 14-step “mountain crystals” filtration.

Nose: Pepper, complex. Palate: Caramel, toffee, vanilla, cream, buttery, cassis, chocolate, licorice, mint, floral, mineral, semi-spicy, peppery, soft, smooth, lively, zesty, well-rounded, well balanced very nice. Finish: Pepper, melon, woody, oily, light mineral.

Silver Medal
Silver medal

Wodka -
(Poland) $14 - Rye based.

Nose: Citrus, lemon zinger, subtle. Palate: Lemony, citrus, almond extract, floral, moss, grassy, potato skin, horseradish, pepper, oily, woody. Finish: Rich, full-bodied, wood, oily, spicy, silky, smooth.

Silver Medal
Silver medal



U'Luvka -
(Poland) $55 - Rye, barley and wheat based, 3 times distilled.

Nose: Lightly buttery, nutty, woody, herbal, zesty. Palate: Citrus, floral notes, herbal, vanilla extract, buttery, nuts, leather, oily, distinctive. Finish: Hot pepper, sweet, light, smooth.

Silver Medal
Silver medal





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Comments and Suggestions:

Mon. March 24, 2014 6:28 AM - by: Shahram Farahani
Hello Good vodka
Sat. April 20, 2013 2:31 PM - by: Valerie Gardner
Fris is the best vodka by far ! I loved the "taste" without even knowing it takes second Place . I think I personally should be in first place but it is a must try vodka!
Tue. March 12, 2013 8:54 PM - by: Dave
Best vodka for the price is Haute Vodka
Wed. February 27, 2013 6:32 PM - by: Bill Hauff
Teton Glacier Vodka from Rigby ID deserves serious consideration; an excellent product at relatively low cost. Available also in half-gallon (US) bottles.
Wed. January 2, 2013 10:04 AM - by: Doreen
I personally think High Ore is the best Vodka
Wed. December 19, 2012 7:16 AM - by: Clement
Ah, you missed Pravda Vodka
Fri. December 14, 2012 12:29 PM - by: chrissy
what do most peopel perfer potato or grain vokda????
Fri. November 30, 2012 4:12 PM - by: HerbG
I personally think Tito's is the best around and a great price also!
Thu. November 29, 2012 5:18 AM - by: Glenn Strom
Hi, You must have missed one vodka? look at: or Best regards, Glenn Strom
Thu. November 22, 2012 7:22 AM - by: Ale
Any comments on VOLI?
Wed. November 21, 2012 7:16 AM - by: Nina
Tito's is the BEST!
Sat. November 17, 2012 6:34 AM - by: boris
hi I live in the uk and i am after buying the regalia vodka unfortunatly I cnt find it ! Any idea please an adress or name of a shop? thanks
Sun. September 30, 2012 11:33 AM - by: Mark
Why didn't you take samplings of ALL vodkas instead of just imported? Tito's out of Texas would beat most if not all of these and sky out of California, would have easily made the list.
Sun. September 9, 2012 7:39 AM - by: celia concepcion
Next time I will send our own hand-made Coconut Vodka distilled nine times, so smooth and it comes from the Philippines
Thu. August 30, 2012 8:27 AM - by: Dr G
Tito's handmade vodka should have been in the running.
Tue. August 7, 2012 7:54 AM - by: Rick
I like American hand-made vodkas like Tito's, Haute or Hangar One
Mon. July 23, 2012 12:15 PM - by: Andrew Rogers
Has anyone tried Purity Vodka? It is from Sweden,and to date the best Vodka I have ever had. I tend to get migraines from drinking, and have never had one from this brand.
Sat. June 16, 2012 4:02 PM - by: ronald spomer
Interesting. I notice the Jewel of Russia Ultra...score of 98 was missing from your list...even of a I cannot even have faith in the result...
Mon. May 21, 2012 9:52 PM - by: deltavogue
I would love to try the Belvedere Unfiltered.
Wed. March 28, 2012 7:12 PM - by: John M.
Have tried several of the above vodkas but none are as smooth or affordable as Gera.
Tue. March 27, 2012 12:13 PM - by: Jeannie
Gera is very smooth, and for the price you can't beat it!

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Fifty Best > Spirits Archive > Vodka 2012
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