Top 10 Best Vodkas Of All Time


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Vodka does not always get the respect it deserves and is sometimes overshadowed by its younger cousin, Gin. We have embarked on a mission to correct the balance by taking the time to produce this exhaustive Top 10 Best Vodkas Of All Time article.

Not only do we review 10 ultra-premium vodkas for your consideration, but we also uncover the extraordinary lengths taken by these brands to ensure their vodka is a worthy contender for the best of all-time title.

Let’s start with a quick bit of vodka history, then dive right in.

Origin Of Vodka

Although I was forced-fed facts about the Magna Carta at school, it’s safe to say that the Drinks Geek is no historian. Regardless, I have taken the time to research the matter of where did vodka first come from.

Depending on the particular history book or online resource that you read, the origins of vodka seems to be a neck-and-neck tie between Poland and Russia.

Most tend to agree that vodka was being produced in Russia during the mid to late 14th century. However, the world’s first written mention of the word “vodka” was in 1405 where it was contained in some Polish court documents. (source)

How Is Vodka Made

Vodka is made by fermenting any plant matter that contains sugar or starch (usually grain-based such as wheat, barley or corn) in water. At this point, the alcohol will only be 10 – 15% ABV, so some magic is needed. That magic is distillation.

The mixture is then heated, and because rather handily alcohol boils at a lower temperature than water, the alcohol evaporates first and is collected in a more concentrated form. Then hey presto, you have your vodka.

Types Of Vodka

As we know, vodka is made from 2 key ingredients; water and any plant matter that contains sugar or starch. There are many different types of vodka, below are the 5 main types that we will be reviewing today.

  • Wheat Vodka
  • Rye Vodka
  • Potato Vodka
  • Barley Vodka
  • Grape Vodka

Top 10 Best Vodkas Of All-Time

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Coming up are the premium vodka brands that made it to my Top 10 Best Vodkas Of All Time article. Each has its own identity, bespoke distilling process, exciting history and unique taste. Enjoy!

1. Belvedere Vodka

Belvedere Vodka

Overview

  • Distiller: Polmos Zyrardów
  • Alcohol by Volume (ABV): 40 % Vol
  • Type: Rye
  • Country: Poland

Review

Poland is steeped in over 600 years of vodka-making tradition, and Belvedere produces one of the finest Polish vodka’s available. Named after the Polish presidential palace in Warsaw, Belvedere is synonymous with quality vodka.

Their vodka is made from traditional Polish Dankowskie rye harvested from nearby farms. Belvedere ferments this rye with water from their own natural well to produce a well-balanced vodka that combines subtle sweetness with a clean & crisp finish.

Clean and smooth to start, vanilla and light almond notes are first to appear. Hints of pepper, spice and a slight sweetness add depth. Finishes softly with notes of almond, Brazil nut, and cream.

Belvedere has created an elegant, well-balanced premium vodka that is smooth, clean and creamy.

The white frosted bottle oozes heritage and displays the Polish presidential palace in Warsaw on what feels like a winters day. Arguably one of the Worlds finest vodkas.

2. Grey Goose Vodka

Grey Goose Vodka

Overview

  • Distiller: Grey Goose B.M.P
  • Alcohol by Volume (ABV): 40 % Vol
  • Type: Wheat
  • Country: France

Review

Grey Goose is a premium French vodka that is carefully crafted by combining only two ingredients; the finest French Picardie wheat and water from their natural limestone well in Gensac-La-Pallue.

Just these two ingredients are fermented and distilled to produce one of the finest French vodkas available.

Rather extraordinary, during the bottling process, each bottle is washed once with Grey Goose Vodka, and every cork is first dowsed in Grey Goose before sealing the container.

Clean and slightly peppery to begin with. The spicy/sweet liquorice taste of star anise adds complexity and body. Finishes cleanly with a hint of aniseed.

Its simplicity is its brilliance. A vodka of the highest calibre that is far more than the sum of its parts.

The lightly frosted bottle with free-flying geese over a lake is forever associated with high-class drinking establishments. Indeed, a premium vodka to add to your drinks collection.

3. Chase Potato Vodka

Chase Potato Vodka

Overview

  • Distiller: Chase Distillery Ltd
  • Alcohol by Volume (ABV): 40 % Vol
  • Type: Potato
  • Country: United Kingdom

Review

Founded by William Chase in 2008, the Chase family have been producing premium potato vodka from their single estate Distillery in Hereford, England. 250 potatoes (grown by the Chase family) go into every bottle.

Their vodka is distilled not once or twice, but three times in their bespoke copper batch pot still. The vodka is then chill-filtered and astonishingly then bottled by hand.

Smooth and creamy to start, becomes slightly peppery as the vodka lingers on the tongue. Spicy, light potato notes and liquorice adds depth. Finishes smoothly with a welcome nip of spice.

One of the finest potato vodkas on the market and well worth your investment for a smooth and creamy vodka that has left no stone un-turned during their detailed distillation process.

Chase vodka has received a multitude of awards, including 2010 best vodka by the San Francisco World Spirits.

4. Crystal Head Aurora Vodka

Crystal Head Aurora Vodka

Overview

  • Distiller: Globefill Inc
  • Alcohol by Volume (ABV): 40 % Vol
  • Type: Wheat
  • Country: Canada

Review

Crystal Head has two outstanding vodkas in their portfolio. The original is a multi-award winning corn vodka. However, it is Aurora that caught my attention when I sampled it a few months back.

Combining ultra high-quality English wheat with the purest water from Newfoundland, purity is close to the heart of Crystal Head.

Five times distilled and then sent through seven-stage quartz filtration process to produce one of the cleanest vodkas you are every likely to encounter.

The exceptionally crisp opening was the first thing that struck me. Delicate floral notes and a subtle hint of star anise follows. Finishes with peppercorn notes and dry sweetness.

Let’s face it, the bottle is incredible. Like Frankensteins Monster, the Aurora bottle is brought to life with its pearlescent finish in an electrically charged chamber. It’s not all about the bottle, International Spirits awarded Aurora a gold medal in 2019.

5. Beluga Noble Vodka

Beluga Noble Vodka

Overview

  • Distiller: Mariinsk distillery
  • Alcohol by Volume (ABV): 40 % Vol
  • Type: Wheat
  • Country: Russia

Review

The Mariinsk distillery was founded in 1900 in the decidedly chilly Siberia. It is incredibly isolated and some 300km from the nearest town.

Beluga Noble Vodka was first produced back 2002, so is relatively new by vodka standards but has all the necessary hallmarks to become a true classic.

This is an extremely clean wheat vodka that is distilled with crystal clear water taken from deep artesian water wells that reside nearby.

Once the quartz triple filtering is complete, Beluga Noble is left to rest for thirty days to ensure any remaining spirit odours are slowly dispersed.

Ultra-clean and spicy to start becomes more peppery yet still smooth. Almost has a medicinal tone. Notes of slightly sweet spiced-vanilla are present. The finish is as clean and smooth as the start.

A high-quality vodka that is so clean it deserves a place in your collection.

The bottle is well presented with its clean lines and the beluga sturgeon emblem.

6. Cîroc Vodka

Cîroc Vodka

Overview

  • Distiller: Maison Villevert
  • Alcohol by Volume (ABV): 40 % Vol
  • Type: Grape
  • Country: France

Review

Cîroc distils one of the very few vodkas that is made from grape rather than grain or potato.

The Maison Villevert distillery is steeped in history and has been in master distiller Jean-Sebastien Robicquet’s family for over 500 years.

Fermented French ‘snap-frost’ grapes and distilled an incredible five times. The fifth time distillation is performed in a traditional copper pot still.

All of this hard work rewards you with a smooth, fresh and slightly fruity luxury vodka.

Clean and somewhat citrus to begin, evolves into zesty lemon and cracked black pepper. A slight sweetness is present throughout and combines with a discreet level of spice to balance the citrus. Finishes cleanly with no bitterness

Cîroc vodka is proof that grain and potato vodka are not the only paths to producing a world-class vodka.

Presented in a stylishly elegant tall bottle that oozes sophistication.

7. Ketel One Vodka

Ketel One Vodka

Overview

  • Distiller: Nolet Distillery
  • Alcohol by Volume (ABV): 40 % Vol
  • Type: Wheat
  • Country: Netherlands

Review

The Nolet family have been distilling since 1691 and clearly have learned a thing or two during that time. Ketel One Vodka is named after the beautiful coal-fired copper pot still used at the distillery that is named Distilleerketel #1.

Part of the ultra-wheat spirit is re-distilled in ten copper pot stills, including the genuinely stunning hand stoked coal fed Distilleerketel #1 copper pot still.

Extremely clean and crisp to start, there is a welcome tingle of pepper and spices. Moves swiftly into a combination of sharp citrus that is soothed by the sweetness of honey. Nice and clean finish.

Ketel One vodka is a first-class silky-smooth wheat vodka that is steeped in history. They also produce some tasty citrus flavoured vodkas too.

The bottle is presented in a classic style glass bottle with an image of the historic Distilleerketel #1 copper still proudly displayed on the front. They even invite you to visit them on the neck of the bottle!

8. Chopin Potato Vodka

Chopin Potato Vodka

Overview

  • Distiller: Polmos Siedlce
  • Alcohol by Volume (ABV): 40 % Vol
  • Type: Potato
  • Country: Poland

Review

The Chopin distillery dates back to the 18th century and is the beating heart of Chopin small-batch vodka production that is run by the Dorda Family.

Being small-batch has many benefits. Much of the process is still performed lovingly by expert hands, and the vodka is distilled in the distillery’s original copper column still. Far more romantic than in a vast unemotional factory-scale production line.

The master distiller, Waldemar Durakiewicz, ensures the freshest seasonal potatoes are sourced from the local potato farmer to ensure maximum flavour and depth of taste.

Soft and creamy to start, it then becomes nuttier with peppery potato notes. Finishes cleanly. Smooth from start to finish. Bravo.

Chopin Potato Vodka is ranked by many as one of the highest super-premium vodkas available today. I tend to agree.

Presented in a splendid frosted bottle that depicts the great Polish composer Frédéric François Chopin.

9. Reyka Vodka

Reyka Vodka

Overview

  • Distiller: Reyka Distillery
  • Alcohol by Volume (ABV): 40 % Vol
  • Type: Barley
  • Country: Iceland

Review

Reyka vodka is most impressive. It is distilled in one of my favourite countries, Iceland. The master distiller is also the local fireman and policeman. They say always give a busy man a job to get it done!

The water used in their vodka comes from a glacial spring that runs through a 4,000 year-old lava field. Is it fair to say this will make for an exceptionally tasting vodka? I think so.

Using one of the few remaining Carter-Head stills in the world means the vodka is only distilled once due to the stills high copper level.

Lava rocks are used during the filtering process to give such a crisp taste that you could cut it with a knife.

Very, very clean to start. When I say clean, I genuinely mean CLEAN. Slightly creamy with notes of liquorice, aniseed and vanilla as it evolves. Lightly peppery yet smooth to finish.

One thing I must say is Reyka has the most beautiful website I have seen in a long time. This proves their attention to detail in everything thing they do.

Presented in a quality looking squat bottle with ICELAND embossed in the actual glass of the bottle with is a nice touch. Classic style labelling.

10. Stolichnaya Vodka

Stolichnaya Vodka

Overview

  • Distiller: Stolichnaya Distillery
  • Alcohol by Volume (ABV): 40 % Vol
  • Type: Grain
  • Country: Latvia, former Russian state

Review

A lot of history here. The building that Stolichnaya distils was built by order of the Tsar in 1901

Stolichnaya itself was founded back in 1938 and took over the building. The brand did not actually start producing vodka until 1952. Then a state-run competition resulted in the now-iconic labelling of the famous Russian Moskva Hotel that was loved by Stalin himself.

Stolichnaya translates as “Vodka Of The Capitol” (thank you to Ingrid, my fiancee for the translation and helping me with this review!).

A three distillation process with four filtrations through birch charcoal and quartz sand ensures a clean, super-premium vodka.

Slightly sweet to start. Soon notes of citrus and liquorice appear in equal measure and balance well with the initial sweetness. Lightly peppery with aniseed to finish that works well in a White Russian.

Presented is one of those classic style vodka bottles with red and white detail on the label. The bottle depicts the famous Russian Moskva Hotel

Conclusion

I must confess I have had an absolute blast researching, sampling and writing this Top 10 Best Vodkas Of All Time article.

Each of these all-time great vodkas has one thing in common that elevates them from good to all-time greatness. The thing is that is they all strive for perfection in every facet of their production.

It goes without saying that their ingredients are world-class, to begin with. But they also use such a detailed production process that leaves the competition very far behind indeed.

As we have already seen some brands distil 5 times or more, another filters their vodka through lava rocks, while another washes the new bottles with their vodka before placing a drop inside.

Any of these exciting all-time great vodkas will make a worthy addition to your drinks collection.

So the next time you are sipping your favourite vodka, I hope this article will spring to mind and add a little something extra to your enjoyment.

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