Vodka - Shakers Rye
Notes: This vodka is produced in Minnesota, the heart of America's wheat production. It is distilled four times in six columns, then filtered through three different types of charcoal. Somehow the vodka survives without being completely flavorless a risk when you are going for purity this high.
Appearance: Crystal clear, with no sediment whatsoever. On swirling, it leaves a thin, clear coat on the inside of the glass. Then interestly it beads up on the glass like a whiskey sample coming off a still.
First Impression: Rye and grain, but a slightly sweet/sour rye smell to it, vanilla, slightly alkaline (cocoa?). No smell of esters or oils. This distillation and filtration seems to capture all the good things and weed out the bad.
Taste: Sweet and slightly oily on the tongue, with a thick body and less mineral taste to it than the Shakers Wheat Vodka. A crisp, mild bite to it, with a slight warming of alcohol as it goes down the throat, not the burn like you get from a lot of other vodkas. It is beguilingly smooth stuff, with a lingering warmth and tingle to the lips. Chilling brings out the sweetness even more. In a strange paradox, unlike most vodkas the grain REALLY comes out when it is cold (most lose character the colder they get).
Drinks: If you are looking for a good vodka this is it. It works quite well in almost every drink we tried. A superior vodka for mixing if you must mix it. However, good enough to stand on its own.
Unlike a potato vodka, it works well with vermouth to make an outstanding vodka martini (potato vodka and vermouth somehow usually end up tasting like dirt). Use Noilly Prat vermouth, and keep the vermouth refrigerated for the best taste.
Final Thoughts: An excellent value for the money - half the price of some of the fashion victim vodkas and better tasting! A heathier, cheaper, alternative to a Goose. One of the best vodkas I've had all year!
Bottle: Distinctive martini shaker shaped bottle with frosting. Nice graphics on the labels. Color coding on the label/band makes it easier to distinguish that there are more than one type on a shelf (in the case of the rye it is a red band). Embossed design on cap make it easy to find in a chest freezer among other bottles. Red gift bag is a nice touch for gift-giving.
Web site:: http://www.shakersvodka.com
Fast loading with fair amount of information. Simple navigation, easy-to-read. Good content and descriptions of production if a bit terse. Small recipe section with good martini mixing tips at the start.