Published on November 9th, 2011 | by Greg0
Three Vodkas- Wheat, Rye, and Potato- From Chopin And Vision
Not all vodkas are alike. Unlike most alcohols, vodka can be made from a few different sources. Grapes become wine, hops are almost used exclusively in beer, and good tequila is made from agave and nothing else. But not all vodkas are equal, and the origins can result in vastly different flavors and textures. We've got three on board today that our testers have tried straight, as a simple martini, and in a few basic mixed cocktails. All of ulta-premium top shelf liquors, and may not be widely available yet but are quickly speading.
We'll start with Chopin. They offer three varieties, and we've been working with two- their potato and rye vodkas. Though frequently vodkas are made from potato, our Russian sources indicated that this is more rare at home. Sourced from Poland, we liked the traditional copper still method and history. And their potato version was voted by tasters as the best for mixing, as it's light profile and mild burn made for a lovely note. Though largely flavorless, it was smooth and crisp with a bit of bitter and hint of smokiness. This one didn't make us clamor for more, but worked well as a sidenote.
Their rye, by contrast, had a lovely flavor that made it our highest rated overall. Taster comments included: "the vodka for bourbon lovers" and "a perfect vodka for drinking straight". At $35 per 750 mL bottle, it's not inexpensive, but is competitive. The Chopin Rye has a strong body, both on the nose and tongue, with an earthiness and spiciness that is unusual for vodkas. One of the neat things: a drinker gets to examine how a base grain affects the outcome, when most of the process and even the water source remains the same. Packaged nicely, this is the one we'd get as a gift for the spirits lover.
Finally, Vision Vodka offered a classy package and a slightly lower price point. And it was made from wheat, which is typically clean and clear. We weren't disappointed- this one has a mild burn, and a flavor that balances carefully between sweetness and spiciness. Dryer, several folks pointed out, it trails for longer than others we've tried and feels refined, almost polished. We weren't big fans of the cork- it was a bit difficult to extract at first and even on subsequent attempts. Ultimately, the Vision was fairly even and easy to like, and we'd recommend it for those who don't want a balanced and soft, silky vodka that still possesses a voice. $35 or so for 1 liter.