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Snow Queen Vodka (700ml)
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- ABV 40%
The addition of water marks the final step in the production of vodkas, cutting back the spirit to each country's legal minimum strengths - usually around 37% - though it is not unusual to see vodkas around 50% Alc./Vol. Water is a contentious issue for many vodka aficionados, and perhaps justifiably so. 'If you start with something that is 95% alcohol' explains Robert Hess, 'and you want to reduce that percentage down to 40% (80 proof), how much water would you need to add? By my calculations it turns out to around 58%, thus making your vodka 60% water. This would result in making the water you add to your vodka the most important component from a flavour perspective'. Not surprisingly, like filtration, vodka marketers play up the significance and superior quality of the various waters they use - from pure spring water, to water which has cascaded over porous limestone, to water sourced from ancient, pristine Arctic glaciers or from artesian wells created during the Oligocene epoch.
Snow Queen, a five-times distilled wheat based vodka, is no exception.
Water is sourced from the snow capped mountains of Ala Tau. Unlike many other vodka producers, they don't merely soften their water via boiling and distilling. Their refining process begins by removing all traces of calcium and magnesium salts so that any 'hardness' in the water is completely removed. This is followed by a reverse osmosis procedure and an exhaustive sand filtering process.
But is this necessary or is it just an attempt to differentiate a spirit that is inherently light on aroma and flavour? (differentials which distinguish other spirits like whiskies, gins or rums for example). It seems that when it comes to vodka, there is simply little else to sell on other than the origin of the base ingredients and the vodka's 'purity'. Nevertheless, brand ambassador for Grey Goose Vodka insists 'It's not a con job ... these are key factors that make it taste better'. We'll let you decide if the price is justified!
Other reviews... Clear. Delicate aromas of toasted nuts, white chocolate fudge, and dried fruits. A round, satiny entry leads to a very smooth, oily medium-to-full body of sweet creamy cocoa, pasty dough and minerals. Finishes with a long, creme Anglaise, pepper, and spice fade. Very nice, will make a great martini.
International Review of Spirits Award: Gold Medal
RATING: 94 points (Exceptional) - www.tastings.com...The nosing passes pick up delicate notes of quartz crystals, minerals, earth and cotton. The palate entry is surprisingly sweet and assertive; the midpalate is grainy, sweet and minerally enough to offset the sweetness. Concludes grainy, semisweet and clean. Rating: 85-89 points - www.wineenthusiast.com