For a long time vodka, or at least vodka marketing, has revolved around one of two points:
i) an array of gaudy, bonkers flavours*
ii) extensive and intensive filtration and distillation
This second category has becoming increasingly elaborate either by distilling the spirit icosuple** times or by filtering through a variety of expensive precious metal or stones or even utilising millennia old volcanic rock for the purpose.
So it was genuinely refreshing to come across a vodka moving towards the other end of the scale, the vodka remains unfiltered.
The vodka in question is the new Belvedere Unfiltered, bottled at 40%ABV this is made using just Single Estate Dankowskie Diamond Rye. This is a baker’s grade rye from Poland and is grown in just a few locations. It is also a patented variety of the crop. The vodka is distilled 4 times.
nose: grainy with a hint of salt and a little alkaline.
taste: this is still quite smooth with some warmth only at the end. Having tasted it against the classic Belvedere this does have a lot more texture (not just warmth) and flavour too. Grainy, pepper and creamy vanilla. Once swallowed the vodka seems to have a little more numbing effect.
Cool tingle and full of character. It is still quite smooth but has a touch more intrigue to the Belvedere Original if it were the rougher more mysterious cousin. Reminds me of some of the best authentic local Russian or Polish vodka I have tried. Tastes rather authentic. Lovely.
A good clean Martini but more flavourful than usually with a mix if cereal and vanilla with some cream too. The vodka seems in harmony with vermouth but lacks that cutting “shard of ice” quality that some vodka martini drinkers crave for.
4) On the Rocks
Lovely. A really nice drink that has a rustic quality but is still of good quality. Very pleasurable to sip on a Friday evening – as I am now.
5) Vodka Tonic
A pretty flavourful Vodka Tonic with the grainy, bready notes as well as the creamy vanilla working well with the deep earthy bitterness of the tonic water. If you usually find a vodka tonic boring try this.
6) Mrs B’s Take
Belvedere Unfiltered bills itself as being “The Whisky Drinker’s Vodka” so how does it live up to the claim. I ask my own in-house whisky fan and vodka sceptic Mrs. B.
“The nose is clean and creamy, and primarily of grain alcohol. Silky on the tongue, this had an immediate, glowing warmth that gradually builds. Alongside the warmth, the flavour also builds: it is very much like the nose in that it’s predominantly of grain, with a slight creaminess at the end. With such a strong taste and interesting development of flavour, I can see why it’s billed as a vodka for whisky drinkers!”
Firstly I think it’s great that people to continue to innovate with vodka and for cynics that may think that Unfiltered vodka is “just another gimmick” I must say that it really made a difference. When blind tasting Belvedere Original and Unfiltered it was relatively easy to differentiate the two and, for me, the extra character of the Unfiltered, whilst it retained it’s smooth texture, had the edge for my money.
Belvedere Unfiltered is available for around £39 form70cl from The Whisky Exchange
** 20 times distilled