Vodka - Kai
Red River Delta,Vietnam
Importer: Kai Vodka LLC, Hawaii
PROOF: 80 (40%)
PRICE: $30.00 750 ml
Notes: This vodka is produced in northern Vietnam in the Red River Delta from a naturally sweet and glutinous rice called yellow blossom rice. This makes it gluten free for people who are Celiacs or otherwise wheat intolerant.
Based on a 600 year-old recipe from a woman master distiller, they use selected rice and water drawn from a 1500 ft. deep artesian well and is distilled only 3 times once in a pot still then twice in a column still - for vodka this is a low number of distillations (especially if one factors in one initial distillation by pot still).This allows for much more flavor and body- it is not distilled to death and retains a lot of character. It takes about three pounds of rice to make a bottle of this vodka.
Appearance: Crystal clear, no sediment whatsoever. Somewhat heavier body and appearance than regular. Limpid shining pool of vodka. On swirling, it leaves a thin clear coat on the inside of the glass with long thin legs slowly forming and leaving droplets on the side of the glass. Wonderful bright appearance and almost a heft or weight to the body of this spirit .
First Impression: Alcohol, flowery notes, and almost a citrus or lemon balm smell, plump, almost creamy texture to the smell. A mild fruitiness, flowers and spice smell to it. No trace of off-notes, or the smell of rubbing alcohol that many other vodkas suffer from.
Taste: Plump, almost oily body glide past the tongue nipping at it with the alcohol edge and nice lingering finish. Wonderful sweetness and almost a fruit like fullness with the higher notes. A body that cheaper vodkas strive for by doping with sugar, glycerin, or vanilla but this vodka comes by it honestly through the use of glutinous rice.
Drinks: Very nice at room temperature ( try your vodka warm) which is always a good sign. Martini* was excellent (with olive or twist). Many other drinks benefit from the lovely body, nuanced taste, and smoothness of this vodka. It can add some delicate subtleties and texture to your drink.
*Use Noilly Prat and keep the vermouth refrigerated after opening for the best taste.
Final Thoughts: One vodka that I can see paying over $25 for. About 1/2 the price of Ultimat or Jean Marc X.O. or Stoli Elit, and more flavor.
Bottle: Attractive clear glass decanter with a narrow waist. Rectangular box of textured glass with the word "Kai" in the center (which means different positive things in 3 different languages) other information silkscreened directly on glass. Nice balance and easy to grip and pour.
Flash heavy and slow loading, not particularly informative, but does have some drink recipes.