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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.

Smirnoff Vodka 75cl - 1970s

75cl, 46%
Smirnoff

It's lucky that at the Master of Malt office, we have a team of spirit detectives (detectives who investigate drinks, not ghost detectives), otherwise we may not have known this was a 1970s bottle of…  More info

Smirnoff Vodka 75cl - 1970s
$116.80

Romanoff Lemon Vodka - 1960s

75cl, 32%
Principe Dimitri

The two headed bird on the label of this Romanoff Lemon Vodka, made by Principe Dimitri in the 1960s, has wings covered in crests of even more two headed birds. Pretty fancy, right?  More info

Romanoff Lemon Vodka - 1960s
$218.99

Alexander Colors Lemon Vodka

70cl, 38%
Bottega

Alexander Colors Lemon Vodka is a smooth, delicate flavoured vodka from Italy. Enjoy it ice cold for a fresh, exciting tipple.  More info

Alexander Colors Lemon Vodka
$39.27

Grey Goose 4.5l

450cl, 40%
Grey Goose

Oh boy! A huge four and a half litre bottle of this now classic premium vodka. We're going to need a bigger ice bucket!  More info

Grey Goose 4.5l
$517.07

Ciro Frassineti Vodka - 1949-59

Frassineti

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

Ciro Frassineti Vodka - 1949-59
$218.99

Relsky Vodka - 1960s

75cl, 40%
Relsky

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

Relsky Vodka - 1960s
$175.19

Romanoff Vodka - 1970s (37.5cl)

37cl, 37.40%
Romanoff

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

Romanoff Vodka - 1970s (37.5cl)
$87.60

Tvarscki Extra Dry Vodka - 1963

95cl, 40%
The American Distilling Co

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

Tvarscki Extra Dry Vodka - 1963
$262.79

Alexander Colors Wild Berry Vodka

70cl, 38%
Bottega

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

Alexander Colors Wild Berry Vodka
$35.77

Artemida TBIC Blackcurrant Vodka - 1990s

50cl, 40%
Artemida

Blackcurrant flavoured vodka, produced in Ukraine in the 1990s. A neat collectible in great condition.  More info

Artemida TBIC Blackcurrant Vodka - 1990s
$58.40

Sunflower Vodka - 1970s

75cl, 40%
Sunflower

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

Sunflower Vodka - 1970s
$175.19

Cocalsa Brezloff Dry Vodka - 1980s

98cl, 40%
Cocalsa

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

Cocalsa Brezloff Dry Vodka - 1980s
$175.19

Polugar Single Malt Rye Spirit

70cl, 38.50%
Rodinov & Sons

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…  More info

Polugar Single Malt Rye Spirit
$147.18

Polugar No.4 - Honey & Allspice

50cl, 38.50%
Rodinov & Sons

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

Polugar No.4 - Honey & Allspice
$43.59

Puschkin Vodka - 1949-59

75cl, 40%
Puschkin

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

Puschkin Vodka - 1949-59
$218.99

Kord Zubrovka - 1980s

75cl, 40%
Kord

Kord produced this curvy bottle of Zubrovka vodka in the 1980s. It's flavoured with bison grass and, like its modern counterparts, even features a blade of bison grass in the bottle. A neat Czech…  More info

Kord Zubrovka - 1980s
$116.80

Limonnaya Vodka - 1970s

75cl, 40%
Limonnaya

Straight from 1970s USSR, this lemon flavoured vodka is best served cold.  More info

Limonnaya Vodka - 1970s
$175.19

Smirnoff Vodka 114cl - 1997

114cl, 40%
Smirnoff

A large 114cl bottle of Smirnoff vodka dating from 1997.  More info

Smirnoff Vodka 114cl - 1997
$175.19

Gorki Vodka - 1970s

75cl, 40%
Gorki

A rare bottle of vodka produced in Bolgna, Italy during the 1970s.  More info

Gorki Vodka - 1970s
$146.00

Landy Freres Vodka - 1950s

Landy Freres

This is a rather imperial-looking bottle of Landy Freres Vodka, which we believe was produced in the 1950s. Fans of ornate bottles and very old vodka brands, rejoice! Please note that the label…  More info

Landy Freres Vodka - 1950s
$218.99

Christiania Ultra Premium Vodka 1.75l

175cl, 40%
Christiania

A 1.75 litre bottling of Christiania Ultra Premium Vodka, produced in Norway using Trøndelag potatoes. It's distilled six times, charcoal filtered and aerated, according to a recipe said to have…  More info

Christiania Ultra Premium Vodka 1.75l
$88.56

Polmos Mazowiecka Zytnia (Mazonvoan Rye Vodka) - 1970s

50cl, 40%
Polmos Warszawa

A rare and old bottle of Polish rye vodka from the 1970s.  More info

Polmos Mazowiecka Zytnia (Mazonvoan Rye Vodka) - 1970s
$116.80

Polmos Jozefow Cytrynówka Lemon - 1960s

75cl, 40%
Polmos Jozefow

Lemon-flavoured vodka from Poland, produced over 40 years ago in the 1960s. This bottle has gathered plenty of dust over the years, like all good antiques do.  More info

Polmos Jozefow Cytrynówka Lemon - 1960s
$175.19

Boris Jelzin Lemon Vodka

100cl, 37.50%
GCF

A refreshing, vibrant lemon-flavoured vodka from the Boris Jelzin range, produced in France. Ought to be good in a mixed drink we reckon. Perhaps with lemonade if you really love your citrus.  More info

Boris Jelzin Lemon Vodka
$29.34

Boris Jelzin Vanille Vodka

100cl, 37.50%
GCF

A sweet, creamy vanilla-flavoured French vodka, named after the first president of the Russian Federation, Boris Yeltsin.  More info

Boris Jelzin Vanille Vodka
$29.34

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