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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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Ardbeg Whisky Distillery
Master of Malt Single Cask Whisky
Tasting Sets
FEW Spirits
The Hot Enough Vodka Co
Professor Cornelius Ampleforth
Finnish vodka from the Finlandia folks, produced all the way back in the 1970s. Presented in their classic, oddly-textured bottle, this is a rare, collectible piece. The label has a few minor scuffs...  More info
$187.87
Smirnoff Blueberry
(70cl, 37.50%)
A fantastically fruity Smirnoff. This is made with pot-still vodka, which is filtered through a whopping seven tons of charcoal. It is flavoured naturally with blueberry, and it works well in...  More info
$26.99
This little piece of history is a bottle of Burrough's English Vodka from the 1970s, made by James Burrough - a name that should be familiar to gin fans out there. Highly collectible.  More info
$150.30
An absolutely astonishing, angular, antique bottle of Smirnoff Silver Private Reserve Vodka, a vodka so good they had to keep it away from other people in private reserves! This incredibly stylish...  More info
$187.87
A delicious pure-tasting Polish rye vodka, Belvedere is distilled four times! This giant 6 litre bottle comes with a light in it which is very cool. We've also included a picture of Brandy, the...  More info
User Rating:  Rating (5.0/5)
$447.38
A classic bottling of Principe Dimitri Romanoff Vodka, produced between 1949 and 1959. Well preserved and collectible.  More info
$225.45
Bottled at 50% abv, this bottle of Smirnoff Blue Label Vodka is stronger than the regular Smirnoff Blue you would normally be able to aquire. Also, it is much, much older, as it was distilled in the...  More info
$187.87
Iceberg Vodka
(70cl, 40%)
Iceberg is a wonderful vodka made in Newfoundland in Canada and named for the fact it is made with water from 12,000 year old icebergs. This is delicate vodka that works miracles in vodka martinis…  More info
User Rating:  Rating (4.0/5)
$42.40
42 Below Feijoa Vodka
(70cl, 42%)
For the uninitiated the Feijoa is a fruit grown in New Zealand, although it is native to South America. It's a tangy, utterly unusual fruit, and it works brilliantly when used to flavour New Zealand's...  More info
$36.93
Chase Vodka 1l
(100cl, 40%)
A litre bottle of potato vodka from Chase, who also make Tyrell's crisps. Very creamy with a wonderful mouth feel. Great in a Vodka Martini.  More info
Stolichnaya Vanil
(70cl, 37.50%)
Stoli Vanil is a vanilla flavoured vodka from Stolichnaya. Distilled from winter wheat and made with glacial water, it is flavoured with Madagascan and Indonesian vanilla beans.  More info
$29.39
Absolut Level Vodka
(70cl, 40%)
Level is Absolut's ultra premium vodka, it was launched in 2004 and is made from winter wheat. It is incredibly smooth, and was launched as a direct competitor to France's popular Grey Goose.  More info
$44.89
The 5th batch of Chase Rhubarb Vodka, made by adding rhubarb for the final distillation and macerating it in the final distillate to give it a wonderful pink colour.  More info
User Rating:  Rating (5.0/5)
$67.79
Organic vodka infused with whole vanilla beans from Bainbridge Distillers, the first USDA Certified Organic distillery in Washington State. They've even been so kind as to leave a handful of those...  More info
User Rating:  Rating (5.0/5)
$101.70
Faust Cranberry Vodka
(50cl, 40%)
Fantastic Polish vodka and dynamic cranberry make Faust Cranberry Vodka a proper hero in our books.  More info
$39.27
Roberto Cavalli Vodka
(70cl, 40%)
Yep, that's right. Roberto Cavalli. The Fashion Designer. Can't really be bothered to finish this tasting note, I think I'm just going to hop in my car (upholstered by Benjamin Netanyahu), and drive...  More info
User Rating:  Rating (5.0/5)
$71.13
A Polish rye vodka flavoured with selected lemon peel and also lemon leaves. The result is a crisp and tasty lemon vodka.  More info
$52.53
Smirnoff Espresso
(70cl, 37.50%)
Coffee Vodka. Mmmmmm.  More info
$37.07
Limited edition Gooseberry Vodka from Chase in Herefordshire, made with their stunning potato-based vodka and locally grown gooseberries! Vibrantly fruity with a hint of tartness, the Chase Gooseberry...  More info
$64.66
Smirnoff - 1970s 3l
(300cl, 37.50%)
This is a rare 1970s bottle of Smirnoff Red - a classic Russian vodka distilled three times and filtered ten times for purity. This is a collectible edition of the world's best-selling vodka.  More info
$375.75
A wonderful vodka from Blackwoods, this is triple distilled over Nordic Birch charcoal and is also the first vodka ever to be "ice-filtered". It's how they distil it - ice cold, no mistakes. This...  More info
User Rating:  Rating (5.0/5)
$30.64
A limited edition salted caramel flavour bottling of Element 29, a British wheat vodka made with no filtration, only multiple distillations allowing its unique natural purity to shine through. The...  More info
$56.97
Grey Goose Le Citron
(70cl, 40%)
This is made with the zest of fresh lemons, and it is a brilliant fruit vodka with loads of flavour. Grey Goose use an essence of fresh lemons created by one of France's top fragrance houses.  More info
$54.53
Ciroc Peach
(70cl, 37.50%)
A peach of a flavoured vodka from Ciroc, advertised and enjoyed by the rap chap Sean Combs/Puff Daddy/P. Diddy. Made from a base of grapes which are harvested while frozen, then distilled 5 times for...  More info
$44.53
Chopin Potato Vodka
(70cl, 40%)
Potato vodka is the secret of a good Vesper Martini - James Bond's own concoction. Chopin is four times distilled from Polish potatoes and named for Frederic Chopin.  More info
$58.76

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