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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 Blue - 1949-59

75cl, 50%
Smirnoff

Very, very old vodka from the world-famous Smirnoff brand. This is a bottle of their higher-ABV Blue Label vodka, which we believe to have been produced between 1949 and 1959. Rare and collectible.  More info

Smirnoff Blue - 1949-59
$262.98

Stolichnaya 1l - Late 1970s

100cl, 40%
Stolichnaya

This is a 1970s bottling of Stolichnaya, which has long been a back-bar favourite. Though this 1 litre bottle has impressively survived for over 30 years, the label has sadly suffered some damaged…  More info

Stolichnaya 1l - Late 1970s
$197.24

Wyborowa Wódka & Fruits Orange - 1970s

50cl, 45%
Polmos Poznan

1970s fruit flavoured vodka. Orange Wyborowa, specifically.  More info

Wyborowa Wódka & Fruits Orange - 1970s
$94.97

Hophead Hop Vodka

70cl, 45%
Anchor Distilling Company

From the Anchor Distilling Company out in San Francisco, California, comes a very interestingly-flavoured vodka, made with two types of hops from the Yakima Valley in Washington (both of which…  More info

Hophead Hop Vodka
$54.60

Vodka Czystia

50cl, 40%
Polmos Siedlce

Vodka Czystia is a Polish vodka from Polmos Siedlce.  More info

Vodka Czystia
$17.88

Moskovskaya Vodka - 1949-59

50cl, 40%
Moskovskaya

A very popular brand of Russian vodka, Moskovskaya can still be found today (if you go looking...). However, this particular bottling is an ancient piece, which we believe to have been produced…  More info

Moskovskaya Vodka - 1949-59
$146.10

Kubanskaya Vodka - 1970s

75cl, 40%
Kubanskaya

Kubanskaya is a classic brand of Russian vodka which is flavoured with just a little bit of lemon. This bottle comes from the 1970s, back when the brand was produced by the Kristall distillery in…  More info

Kubanskaya Vodka - 1970s
$146.10

Kazbek Vodka - 1970s

75cl, 40%
Kazbek

This bottling of Kazbek Vodka dates from the 1970s, with the brand presumably taking its name from Mount Kazbek, in the Caucasus.  More info

Kazbek Vodka - 1970s
$116.88

Polmos Wyborowa 50cl - 1970s

50cl, 40%
Polmos Poznan

A rare 1970s bottling of Polish vodka, created long before the takeover of the distillery by Pernod Ricard. Let us know if you can taste the difference.  More info

Polmos Wyborowa 50cl - 1970s
$80.36

Polmos Zytnia Vodka - 1980s

75cl, 40%
Polmos

A 1980s vodka bottling - perfect for pretending you're James Bond. Or whatever. You know.  More info

Polmos Zytnia Vodka - 1980s
$87.66

London Vodka

70cl, 40%
London Alcohol Co

London Vodka is a superb British vodka with a modern, stylish feel to it. Very creamy, this stuff is great in cocktails, or just neat over ice.  More info

London Vodka
$29.19

Russkaya Vodka - 1980s

50cl, 40%
Russkaya Priviet

This is a bottle of the Russkaya vodka from the 1980s. Listen to electronica and drink this for a vintage experience.  More info

Russkaya Vodka - 1980s
$73.05

Boaka Russian Vodka - 1970s

50cl, 45%
Boaka

This Vodka hails from the Soviet Union, well 1970s Russia. Now that's a talking point for a vodka based cocktail.  More info

Boaka Russian Vodka - 1970s
$87.66

Starka Russian Vodka - 1970s

50cl, 43%
Starka

This is an ancient half litre bottle of Starka - an aged Russian vodka (note the colour) which was billed as being "Imported from the USSR".  More info

Starka Russian Vodka - 1970s
$87.66

Kristal Russian Vodka - 1970s

75cl, 40%
Kristal

This Russian Vodka was distilled back in the 1970s during the height of the Soviet Union. Antique spirits are great for adding a historical edge to a cocktail.  More info

Kristal Russian Vodka - 1970s
$116.88

Russkaya Priviet Vodka - 1970s

50cl, 40%
Russkaya Priviet

This is a Russian vodka from the 1970s. Unbelievably many spirits survive in collections and drinks cabinets for decades, the upshot is you can try these spirits from years gone by.  More info

Russkaya Priviet Vodka - 1970s
$87.66

Debowa Red Oak Vodka

70cl, 40%
Dębowa

A vibrantly colourful vodka from Poland, made by the very well respected company, Debowa. Red Oak Vodka combines the pure, natural flavours of their oak vodka with forest fruit extracts for a sweet,…  More info

Debowa Red Oak Vodka
$34.41

Moskovskaya Vodka - 1980s

70cl, 40%
Moskovskaya

A 1980s Russian vodka, Moskovskaya's label proudly boasts that it is "Imported from the USSR". Very rare and very cool to have on the back bar!  More info

Moskovskaya Vodka - 1980s

Luxardo Vodka Imperiale Suraroff - 1950s

37cl, 40%
Luxardo

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

Luxardo Vodka Imperiale Suraroff - 1950s
$58.44

Polmos Wódka Wyborowa - 1960s

75cl, 45%
Polmos Poznan

A bottle of Polish vodka in amazing condition considering it dates from the 1960s. A fantastic addition to any antique spirit collection.  More info

Polmos Wódka Wyborowa - 1960s
$73.05

Krzeska Ziolowa

70cl, 40%
Polmos Siedlce

Krzeska Ziolowa is a Polish herbal vodka. It comes in a very handsome decanter bottle.  More info

Krzeska Ziolowa
$53.52

Chase Seville Orange Marmalade Vodka

70cl, 40%
Williams Chase

A bottle from the first batch of 1,000 bottles of Chase Marmalade Vodka, flavoured with Seville Oranges. Each bottle is numbered and signed.  More info

Chase Seville Orange Marmalade Vodka

Zlota Gorzka Original Vodka

50cl, 40%
Zlota Gorzka

Traditional Polish vodka which was originally created at the Bialystok Distillery which was established in Poland in 1928. It is flavoured with various spices and has a wonderful bittersweet flavour.  More info

Zlota Gorzka Original Vodka
$29.22

Polmospure Spirytus Rektyfikowany (Rectified Spirit)

35cl, 79.90%
Polmos Warszawa

Spirytus Rektyfikowany is Polish for Rectified Spirit. This can be used as the spirit base for liqueurs.  More info

Polmospure Spirytus Rektyfikowany (Rectified Spirit)
1
$25.26

Grand Cherry Vodka

50cl, 40%
Polmos Siedlce

A Polish vodka flavoured with cherries.  More info

Grand Cherry Vodka
$18.09

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