Tasting Notes: Two Vodkas To Try

March 7, 2023

Vodka is a distilled alcoholic beverage that is made from grains or potatoes. It is typically clear and colorless, with a high alcohol content of around 40 per cent to 50 per cent by volume. Vodka is made by fermenting grains or potatoes with water and then distilling the resulting liquid. The distillate is then typically filtered through charcoal or other materials to remove impurities and create a smooth, clean taste. Vodka is a very versatile spirit and is used in a wide range of cocktails and mixed drinks, as well as being consumed neat or on the rocks. It originated in Russia and Eastern Europe but has become popular worldwide in recent years. Here are two to try. Guillaume Garih

Banff Ice Vodka

If I say “Smirnoff”, “Absolut” or “Stolichnaya” you say? Vodka, of course. But what about Banff? As it turns out, Banff is not just a fancy ski resort.

Banff Ice Vodka is a vodka brand owned and produced by Alberta Distillers Limited. At about $23 for a 750ml bottle, it costs about the same as its main slavic competitors. But is it any good?

The nose is crisp and boozy. It seems like all 40 per cent of alcohol by volume, obtained through triple distillation, are present. The taste is a very pleasant surprise. This vodka is very lightly sweet on the tongue and goes down very smoothly. This is all one might ask from a vodka, especially at this reasonable price. It is time for a “sip or mix test”.

Would I sip it? Yes. Would it be blasphemous to mix it? No.

This is not a political column, but if for some reason (like the one-year anniversary of something) you would rather ski in Banff than Sochi … why not swap to local boozeky?

Alberta Pure Vodka

Alberta Pure Vodka positions itself around the same price range as its main slavic and local competitors (around $23 for 750ml). It is one of the many offerings of Alberta Distillers Limited, which include other vodkas. I have yet to try a product from them that is bad or overpriced. So far they have lived up to their motto: “Honest Canadian Craft”.

The nose of Alberta Pure Vodka is, of course, spicy due to the high alcohol content (40 per cent) but also distinctly floral. The taste is lightly sweet, smooth and offers a subtle but fairly long finish. Let’s put it through the “sip or mix test”.

Would I sip it? Yes. Would it be blasphemous to mix it? Maybe, depending on the bartender’s skills. I think it is worth trying out neat, before any mixing takes place. Can it replace a slavic vodka that costs the same? Without a doubt.


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