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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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Master of Malt Single Cask BottlingsView full range
Vestal Podlasie Vodka
(50cl, 40%)
A beautiful singly distilled Polish vodka from Vestal. This is made from select Polish grains and pure water from the east of the country. A release of just 4,640 bottles, distilled in 2010.  More info
$44.72
A very old bottle of Luxardo vodka that's around 55 years of age. The seal is slightly damaged and the label is a bit discoloured, although the vodka inside remains clear.  More info
$80.61
A great bottle this. One of our favourites. Vodka dating from the 1960s, the height of the cold war, and in wonderful condition.
The bottle boasts striking Soviet-era artwork and typography. A great...  More info
$161.22
A bottle of Polish vodka in amazing condition considering it dates from the 1960s. A fantastic addition to any antique spirit collection.  More info
$100.76
Samovar Vodka
(75cl, 40%)
A bottle of Russian Samovar vodka from the 1970s, a genuine Soviet-era vodka of the sort enjoyed long before the fall of the Berlin Wall. Great condition with a striking label.  More info
$60.46
A sealed bottle of Zamoyski vodka, in near perfect condition, from the early 1980s.  More info
$60.46
An early 80s bottle of Finlandia, that shows just how much the company has changed the look and feel of the brand. Great condition.  More info
$80.61
Petroff Vodka - 1960s
(100cl, 40%)
This bottle of Petroff Vodka, despite being about 50 years old, is in amazing condition. Sealed and sparkling, a great collectors' item. If you don't drink it that is...  More info
$80.61
Mint condition bottle of Soviet-era Russian vodka from Moskovskaya. Clear as day with the seal intact, this is from the 1970s.  More info
$100.76
A half litre bottle of the very tasty Polish luxury potato vodka, Chopin. We of course mean to say it's a luxury vodka made from potatoes, and not a vodka made from luxury potatoes - that would be...  More info
$53.66
A fantastically British quaff, this is the wonderful Chase potato vodka, flavoured with tangy Bramley apples. This is made in very limited batches and each bottle bears a handwritten batch number. On...  More info
This vodka packs a double hit of Columbian coffee as beans are used in the distillation process, then again to infuse the resulting spirit. This process creates a beautiful mahogany-hued spirit with a...  More info
$47.02
Belvedere (RED)
(70cl, 40%)
A very special edition from Belvedere, this stunning rye vodka from Poland was bottled in conjunction with (RED) to raise funds and awareness for AIDS charities around the globe. A proportion of the...  More info
$56.44
Absolut London
(70cl, 40%)
Absolut London is a limited edition vodka with a bottle designed by Gorillaz artist Jamie Hewlett. The bottles feature a cast of London characters including rakes, dandies bankers, and presumably...  More info
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Villa Lobos is a delicious pure grain vodka from Mexico, distilled five times and bottled with an Agave worm in the bottle! Why does it have a worm? Why not... That's why.  More info
$45.49
Wyborowa Orange Vodka
(70cl, 40%)
A delicious orange-flavoured Polish vodka from Wyborowa, made with orange essences, it has a medium level of sweetness, with a lot of zesty flavour.  More info
$34.63
Precious Vodka
(70cl, 40%)
A sextuple (hehe) distilled Bulgarian vodka, thrice filtered through charcoal, Precious Vodka is astoundingly clean and pure-tasting. It comes packaged in a handsome diamond-shaped bottle, with a...  More info
$77.54
Belvedere (RED) 1.75l
(175cl, 40%)
A very special charity vodka from Belvedere. This stunning Polish rye vodka was produced with (RED), and a proportion of the profits from every bottle sold will go to AIDS charities around the world...  More info
$105.72
Rectified spirit from Poland, this is perfect for making liqueurs and the like, but at 96%, it must be treated with caution.  More info
$41.90
Xellent Vodka
(70cl, 40%)
Xellent is a Swiss vodka made from "bread-quality" rye grown at altitudes of up to 800 metres. They use pure glacier water to dilute their triple-distilled spirit down to 40% abv.  More info
$60.68
Wyborowa Pear Vodka
(70cl, 40%)
A Polish vodka with a fresh, delectable Pear flavour. Wyborowa Pear is made using Klapsa pears, which are very sweet and juicy.  More info
$28.36
Diplomat Vodka
(70cl, 40%)
Diplomat Vodka was awarded Gold medals at the Grand Vodka Masters 2007 and 2008. It was originally commissioned in 1721 by Peter the Great, as a gift for King Phillipe V of Spain, and now it's yours...  More info
$47.19
Absolut Mode
(100cl, 40%)
A litre bottle of the delightfully crisp, pure-tasting Absolut Swedish vodka. Absolut Mode comes packaged in a beautiful-looking glass bottle with a label made out of cloth. It's the kind of vodka...  More info
This is 1980's bottling of the classic Stolichnaya vodka.  More info
$80.61
Russkaya is a superb Russian vodka made with specially refined water and filtered through birch coal and charcoal sand. This is a 1970s bottling of it, and is rather rare.  More info
$120.92

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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.