"The only thing you have to lose is your ice!"

3027 reviews and counting...

Bogdan Petculescu

Reviews to date: 25Average score: 4.42


Even though it is sually overshadowed by its sister, Stolichnaya, Moskovskaya is still THE Russian vodka. And this is so because (1) it is made of rye, the most traditional vodka ingredient in Russia and Poland (see Wyborowa), without added spices, and (2) it is still made in accordance with the recommendations coming from the great Mendeleyev (the "Moscovite standard"). Moskovskaya's sweetness is genuine, not, like is the case with Stoli, due to the added sugar (oh, yes ... the famous Stoli, being made of wheat, needs some extra sugar). A remarcable, traditional Russian vodka. The real stuff.

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It's worth every penny ... Maybe not as drinkable as other brands, because (and I'm thinking here of wines and trying to make an analogy) it is full-bodied and exhausts your taste buds, but definitely a remarcable vodka in the genuine Polish tradition (100% rye), smooth and full of character.

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Smirnoff Red: one of the few vodkas in the western tradition (style, if you wish) that have character. Maybe it's not so western: after all, we must credit the original Russian recipe. Among so many "neutral grain spirits" that are so neutral that you can only taste alcohol and water (and who could tell one brand from another ?), Smirnoff has the texture that joins together in a beautiful wedding the two pure components (remember it's triple distilled, the water is demineralized and the blend goes through tons of activated charcoal). Don't be surprized if they've started to drink it in Russia (oh yes, lately) - and be sure they don't make cocktails there ... Timeless, majestic and essential. La vodka par excellence.

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Very fine Ukrainian vodka (horilka) coming from the Zlatogor distillery. Triple distilled, smooth, full-bodied - highly recommended.

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Pan Tadeusz

Named after a famous poem by Adam Mickiewicz, this is a splendid 100% rye vodka from Poland. Four times distilled but still full-bodied, very tasty and smooth, with a nice and clean smell. A delight.

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Extra Zytnia Vodka

Yet another Polish jewel: a classic rye vodka full of character. Very tasty and smooth, crystal-clear, obviously the result of a careful distillation.

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Russian Standard

I discovered Russian Standard a few months ago, just before Christmas 2009, when it became available in Canada. It was a very pleasant surprise: I never thought that a wheat-based vodka could taste and smell so good and have so much character... I was wrong. This is definitely in a class of its own. Do not get confused by the sumptuousness of their advertising campain (which I don't dislike at all actually); rest assured, the product itself is of very high quality. I can hardly wait to taste the Platinum version and Imperia...

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Stumbras Lithuanian Original Vodka

Splendid vodka from Lithuania (won the gold at the San Francisco World Spirits Competition in 2006), distilled (three times) at the Stumbras distillery (established 1906). This is a grain vodka, wheat definitely playing a major role in the mash bill, though there may be a bit of rye involved (unfortunately I haven't been able to find more about the ingredients; the bottle and the website simply say, "grain"). Beautiful and classic bottle; nice smell; clear, irridescent; very smooth and tasty, with a slightly bitter aftertaste which is not unpleasant. A traditional vodka - highly recommended.

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Absolutely amazing vodka. So pure (continuous distillation) that they don't even filter it... And I guess the six-row barley is in no way inferior to any kind of wheat or rye. Nice smell, delicate and delicious grain taste, a good amount of heat with no burn at all and no bitter aftertaste - what more could you ask for? Brilliant - a dangerous vodka!

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A bright and refreshing winter wheat vodka, very pure and with exquisite smell and taste.

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Mazowiecka Zytnia

Delicious Polish rye vodka coming from "The Chopin Distillery", Polmos Siedlce. Spicy, full-flavoured and with a hint of genuine sweetness (the mark of a quality rye vodka). A classic.

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Zelyonaya Marka (Green Mark)

Another great wheat vodka from Russia. Producer's site (www.rusalco.com/en) claims it is the number one vodka in Russia, and second in the world in terms of sales volume. No wonder... The wheat aroma is pervasive, and yet gentle and inviting. Compared to other (good) wheat vodkas, this one is balanced and quintessential (Absolut seems a bit harsher, Russian Standard a bit sweeter) - it's a classic, and very rewarding drink. Can't wait to taste their rye vodka...

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Smirnoff Black

As many other reviewers already mentioned, this one has nothing to do with the usual Smirnoff vodka found in the North American liquor stores. Distilled and bottled only in Russia and England, Smirnoff Black is seldom available outside Europe (unfortunately). It is a wheat vodka distilled in copper stills in accordance with an old recipe (small batches). The most striking feature of this elixir is its floral aroma and taste - and no, they did not add pollen or honey... If you want to understand why the Russians say that the best vodka is made from wheat, try Smirnoff Black.

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Very light and delicate grain taste with a bit of sweetness and significant heat (without burn though). Reminds me of Finlandia, and, since it is made in Karelia, I'm wondering if barley is not part of the mash bill. A very good vodka overall - the only reason it doesn't get five stars is the price (more expensive than many other better brands).

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A good Swedish wheat vodka (not as good as Absolut though). The smell, taste and texture are nice, but the aftertaste is a bit bitter.

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Alberta Pure Vodka

Not sure why there are so many negative reviews of Alberta Pure Vodka here. Of course, it's neither Ketel One nor Belvedere, but it is a very decent, smooth vodka, with enough grain taste and without the unpleasant industrial alcohol smell that so many other, overrated brands exhibit.

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A fine, tasty grain vodka (rye is dominant, but it seems there's also some wheat involved). Nothing spectacular, though its pedigree is remarkable (a noble family's original recipe from 1806).

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Ketel One

Ketel One is Dutch for "Pot Still One", and this wheat vodka is thus named because it is distilled in an old copper still at the Nolet Distillery in Holland. It is a flavourful, spicy vodka, full of character and warmth, and with a nice texture. The only reason it does not get five stars is because I'd wish it were a bit smoother.

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Grey Goose

Grey Goose is not a bad vodka - on the contrary, it's a fine one. Unfortunately it's also a very expensive vodka, so the question is: is it worth paying twice the usual vodka price for this drink? In my opinion it is not. Again, it's not a bad vodka: it has nice wheat flavour, good texture and balance, and a surprisingly short and pleasant finish, but those attributes don't make it twice as good as Absolut or Russian Standard (to remain in the wheat vodka category).

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Three Olives

Vodka from England? Well... yes, and a very nice one! A wheat vodka (of course) that is rather neutral on the nose, with a sweet, grainy note on the palate. The finish is dry and a bit spicy - quite pleasant. Well done, gentlemen!

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Yet another vodka from France, a country that's extending its shelf presence in the vodka area day by day. Pinnacle is a wheat vodka, and a very good one. The texture is almost silky, the taste grainy and a bit sweet, with fresh aromas. It's a smooth, very drinkable vodka with a rather short finish. A la votre!

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Prezidentsky Standart (Presidential Standard)

A very good Ukrainian grain (probably mostly wheat) vodka coming from the Zhytomyr Distillery (established in 1896). Smooth (distilled eight times!), with a pleasant sweetness and grain flavour, this vodka does not disappoint. Another commendable thing is that it lists the ingredients (water and grain spirits), unlike many other brands.

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Tag No 5

A fine Canadian vodka made from corn at Maverick Distillery in Ontario. It is distilled four times and filtered five times through white birch charcoal, which imparts just a hint of smoke. A smooth vodka which, like other corn vodkas, has a nice sweetness and absolutely no bitter aftertaste.

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Unfortunately, this one was a bit disappointing... Sobieski vodka smells nice and has a pleasant initial taste, and a good texture, but everything is spoiled by a terribly bitter aftertaste. I was expecting more from a fast-growing, 100% rye Polish vodka.

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Kryshtal Present

Here's a grain vodka from Belarus - I thought I would try it, having had no experience with Belorussian vodka. Not much to notice, apart from the strange claim that it is filtered through silicone (whatever that means). The grainy taste is rather faint, and the finish bitter and unpleasant.

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