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Vodka

Unquestionably a supremely popular spirit, Vodka is enjoyed around the globe thanks to its incredible versatility and, surprisingly, even its variation of flavour. Whilst typically enjoyed in the West as a means of adding spirit to mixed drinks, thanks to the superb quality and attention-to-detail found in craft Vodkas produced around the world, flavoursome premium Vodka is really burgeoning on the drinks scene.

As with anything universally popular, the origins of Vodka are hotly disputed, though most agree that its beginnings lie either in Poland or Russia. Ancient records date Vodka production in Russia centuries ago, with a number of early pharmaceutical lists referencing the “vodka of bread wine”. The earliest recorded use of the term “Vodka” was in 1405, in a set of Polish court documents in which it was placed alongside medicines and cosmetics.

In Eastern Europe and the Nordic countries, Vodka is traditionally consumed neat, differing from the Western world where it is usually mixed. The word itself derives from the Slavic “voda”, meaning water, etymologically linking the term with whisky (which comes from the Gaelic “uisge beatha”, the Scandinavian term Akvavit from the Latin “aqua vitae” and French “eau-de-vie” - all meaning water of life). It seems that a great number of spirits from around the world were once thought to be elixirs of life, containing mystical properties. Prior to the 1950s, Vodka was very rarely drunk outside of Europe, but thanks to its easily mixed flavour profile (and appearance), by 1975 sales of Vodka in America had surpassed those of bourbon.

Plain Vodka

Often fairly neutral in flavour, many commercial Vodkas can be mixed with pretty much anything. This is often due to numerous distillations and filtrations which popular vodkas (such as Smirnoff or Russian Standard) undergo, with advertising campaigns regularly flaunting a particular Vodka as being the “purest”.

Here at Master of Malt, however, we like our Vodka to be complex and bursting with flavour, and Vodka really can do both. It all begins with the base ingredient.

Poland, one of the motherlands of Vodka, tends to use either rye or potatoes. Popular rye vodkas include Belvedere or Wyborowa, and are notable for their bread-like sweetness and hints of spice. Potato vodkas on the other hand (brands such as Luksusowa, Chopin, or the English brand, Chase) tend to have a creamy, buttery, grainy character.

Scandinavian and Russian vodkas tend to be distilled from cereal grains such as wheat or barley. Sweden’s Absolut, for example, is a wheat vodka with a soft aniseed-like flavour with a little spice. For barley vodka, Finlandia, produced in Finland, offers nutty flavours and lasting spice.

For something completely different, France’s Ciroc is actually made of grapes, and is a rounded, fruity spirit.

Flavoured Vodka

Nowadays, the use of quality flavouring ingredients such as fruit and spice result in a variety of fine flavoured vodkas which allow for numerous fascinating and delicious mixed drinks.

For splendid examples of fruit-flavoured vodkas, try Davna Cherry Vodka or some of the fruity spirits in the English Vodka Company’s range.

For spicy vodka, Absolut Peppar works nicely in cocktails, or, if you’re feeling truly brave, have a sip of the exceedingly hot Naga Chilli Vodkas from The ‘Hot Enough’ Vodka Company.

Vodka

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Potentially named after the river that runs through central Russia - The Volga River - the antique bottle of vodka comes from the 1970s. Perfect for spirits collectors.  More info
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We think that this bottle of Italian vodka made by Ciro Frassineti in Bologna was produced between 1949 and 1959, putting it at over 50 years old! Unfortunately the label has sustained a tiny bit of...  More info
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Relsky Vodka - 1960s
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Relsky Vodka from the 1960s, featuring a rather happy looking chap on the label with a great big bushy beard that would suit a police officer in a quiet village in the South West of England.  More info
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Romanoff Vodka - 1970s
(38cl, 37.40%)
During the 1970s, this bottle of Romanoff Vodka was produced in England. At least 30 years old, this is a cracking antique for spirits collectors. Romanoff Vodka is still available today and is...  More info
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An early '80s bottling of classic Russian vodka, Stolichnaya.  More info
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Tvarscki Vodka was made by the American Distilling Co. in 1963, when this bottle was produced, although the brand is now owned by a different American company. This is a full quart of American vodka.  More info
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Carmel Vodka - 1970s
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This bottle of vodka was made in the 1970s by the Carmel Winery in Israel, whom are still producing wine even today! A rare, collectible piece.  More info
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A very old bottle of Keglevich Vodka, made by Stock in Trieste at some point between 1949 and 1959, presented in an interesting bottle that we think looks like a still (or perhaps we just think about...  More info
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Flavoured Italian vodka from the Alexander Colors range, made by Bottega using pure water from the Alps and featuring subtle but distinct notes of sweet berries.  More info
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Back in the 1980s, people thought the future would be full of stainless steel. By the 2000s, everything on this planet would be covered in gleaming silver (or, if you watched Tron too many times...  More info
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Kirov Vodka
(70cl, 37.50%)
This is a bottle of Kirov Vodka, which is made in England, presumably in the style of Russian vodka.  More info
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Odessa Vodka
(70cl, 37.50%)
Odessa Vodka is a Ukrainian style vodka, named after the major seaport city in the south of the country. For extra purity, the vodka is filtered, and then filtered again, and then once more. Third...  More info
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Blackcurrant flavoured vodka, produced in Ukraine in the 1990s. A neat collectible in great condition.  More info
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Beluga Allure Russian Vodka is filtered multiple times before the distillers add a very small amount of fig extract and maple syrup, resulting in a classically clean but subtly sweet flavour profile...  More info
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J.A. Baczewski Monopolowa is a potato vodka with a long history that dates back to 1782, when the Baczawski opened it's first distillery near Lvov. Over the years, the Austrian vodka has impressed...  More info
User Rating:  Rating (5.0/5)
$43.29
Rare Sunflower Vodka, produced in China during the 1970s. Lovely design this collectible bottle has. We're quite sure this isn't made with sunflowers, but think how interesting that would be!  More info
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Like your vodka dry and collectible? This shiny 1980s bottle of Cocalsa Brezloff Dry Vodka will be something you'll want to take a good look at.  More info
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Polugar is made using techniques and recipes from over 100 years ago. Their Single Malt Rye (that's what it says on the bottle - we had to stop and think about it for a minute too) is made with malted...  More info
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A classic rye "breadwine" spirit from Polugar, based on a Russian Vodka recipe from over 100 years ago. Using coarse-milled rye grain which is triple distilled in copper pot stills, then clarified...  More info
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Polugar Wheat Spirit
(70cl, 38.50%)
A Polish wheat spirit, made to a classic Russian vodka recipe from the days of yore. The distillers behind Polugar trice distil the spirit in a copper pot still and then clarify it using birch wood...  More info
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A flavoured spirit from Poland, based on very old Russian Vodka recipes. Polugar No.2 is produced using rye and wheat distillates and flavoured with garlic and pepper - ought to make for an excellent...  More info
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Polugar No.3 - Caraway
(50cl, 38.50%)
A wheat and rye spirit from Poland, based on a classic Russian recipe, produced using copper pot stills. This edition of Polugar has been flavoured with the complex flavours of caraway, creating a...  More info
$56.84
Polugar is made to a traditional recipe for Russian vodka (though it is now made in Poland), using rye and wheat which is triple distilled in copper pot stills. For Polugar No.4, the distillers...  More info
$56.84
New Amsterdam Vodka
(70cl, 37.50%)
New Amsterdam Vodka comes from the US of A and is five times distilled and triple filtered to achieve the desired purity of flavour and mouth feel. It takes its name from the history of New York, when...  More info
$28.14
Well would you look at this, an antique bottling of Puschkin Vodka, produced between 1949 and 1959. The German brand is still available today, although in a much more modern style of bottle with a...  More info
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ATOM Supplies Ltd trading as Master of Malt. Registered office: North House, 198 High Street, Tonbridge, TN9 1BE. Registered in England & Wales. Company number 3193057, VAT number GB 662241553.