Distillers are, as a rule, individualists. They make their own way through life and their spirits are an expression of their own world view and inspirations.
Recently I had the opportunity to have a drink with several of them and the one thing they could all agree on was how much they hated vodka, and what a simplistic spirit it was.
I’ve written elsewhere that sometimes vodka is its own worst enemy by the way it markets itself.
My first vodka experience started with a well known Scandinavian brand which came in several versions including a lemon citrus style. At the time I thought this very cool and so handy when making Vodka Martinis with a twist. I know, I know…but I was young and silly back in the day.
So what happens when an award winning gin makers decide to make vodka?
Steve and Vivienne Muir come from North Berwick in East Lothian, Scotland. I’ve already reviewed their award winning gin previously, and so I approached this release with confidence.
Taking their perfectionist approach to this release, each distilling batch produces less than 300 bottles at 40% ABV.
What is distinctive is that they adapted the London Dry distillation method usually reserved for gin, to produce their vodka based on British grain spirit and three botanicals: cassia bark , coriander and of course, lemon peel.
Unlike some flavoured vodkas, no other additives are involved and the resulting distillation is then cut to the desired alcohol level with filtered water. This process is probably unique for a vodka.
Neat/ Chilled: Super clean nose, no hints of alcohol and only the very faintest hint of lemon. On the palette its super fresh and bright, with a medium dry and spiced finish, the citrus notes are delicate – almost an after thought in a very harmonious way with no alcoholic heat.
Martini: Given the above first impression I was looking forward to this. First a tip. Go easy on the lemon twist otherwise it will take over the cocktail. I prefer a thinner garnish on a cocktail pin to stir and discard early on.
Since the Vodka is so refined in its flavour profile I opted for the more austere Dolin Dry Vermouth – just about 5ml- as dry as can be, with the vodka having been chilling nicely in the freezer. The result being as crisp and elegant Vodka Martini you could hope for, again the citrus is there as a subtle back note which elevates and freshens the vodka.
The Take Home
Using a tightly controlled process with the highest quality ingredients, the Muirs have produced a refined vodka with plenty of finesse. It’s far too good to be a served in a mixed drink, rather enjoy it chilled neat or in a Martini where it shines. I might even share it with my distiller mates when next we meet, they might even be converted!
First class. 5 stars.
- NB Vodka Website
- Find them on facebook
- Purchase online in Australia here.
- Internationally online here.
Disclaimer: this review is of an unsolicited bottle provided by the makers, views are my own.