Vodka - Szambelan
Distiller: SWW Polmos SA, Szczecin, Poland
Importer: Brand Name Imports, LLC, Sarasota, Florida
PROOF: 80 (40%)
AGE: Not Applicable
TYPE: Polish, Grain, Rye
PRICE: $20.00 - 750 ML
Notes: Szambelan is the Polish word for "chamberlain" - the vodka is a proprietary recipe of the Chamberlain to King Stanislaw August Poniatowski of Poland from over three centuries ago and much favored by the king. The vodka is produced in Poland by Polmos from rye - a premium grain that lends spice and more flavor than wheat. Distilled three times, filtered three times though a total of 49 filters. Deep artesian well water is used in distillation and cutting to proof - which also adds a lot of weight and character to the mouthfeel of the vodka.
Appearance: Crystal clear, no sediment whatsoever. On swirling, it leaves a thin clear coat on the inside of the glass forming a crenellated edge with long legs forming. A crystal clear viscous pool in the glass.
First Impression: A slightly sweet smell to it with some spiciness and creamy grain texture to the smell. No smell of esters or oils; clean.
Taste: Nicely oily entry with a slight sweetness at first, medium body. Crisp, nicely grainy bite to it . Creamy body with mineral notes from good hard water- not the fear of flavor or even texture you get from using distilled water or a demineralized water which seems to be a new twist with some vodkas. A slight warming of alcohol as it goes down the throat, with lingering warmth and tingle to the lips. Chilling accentuates the sweetness and body and makes it smooth as glass.
Drinks: The martini nicely smooth. My usual recipe slowly stirred 3 or 4 to 1 ratio of Szambelan to vermouth with a 1-2 dashes of a good bitter and lemon zest yields a very nice martini. Works well in all the other drinks we tried it in - it's smoothness makes it play nice with virtually any ingredient , while the mineralness of the water and spiciness of the rye add some backbone and flavor.
NOTE: Use Noilly Prat and keep the vermouth refrigerated after opening for the best taste.
Bottle: Frosted rectangular bottle with window like clear area to a line drawing/portrait of a Polish Nobleman. Black and gold screwtop closure.
Final Thoughts: I'm a bit old school in my vodka tastes- it should taste like something - grain, water (minerals in it not rainwater) and a sense of terroir.
To many vodkas these days have none of these. It's like sex with a full body condom on- you don't feel or taste anything. This is happily not the case with this vodka. Lots of texture taste and mouthfeel. Lets you know you are drinking a good vodka with an identifiable pedigree.
It's what vodka used to taste like when it was drunk by real men ( and women) Not sissy sans flavor alcohol with distilled water. Also a excellent value for the money. Smooth, well made, and quite good for the price point. Forget the goose and buy this one.