View Full Version : Vodka Vatting
Very pleased with a current vatting of Finlandia, Smirnoff and a local brand made by Kittling Ridge.
It has (sampled iced) a long finish and a pleasant sweetness. I didn't add anything to it, some vodkas are dosed with a little sugar and maybe one of these 3 is and that lends the light note of "liquoreux" (I am not trying to be pretentious here but this French word is very useful, it means, sweetish and rich or full-flavored at once).
I sampled the vatting against a well-known Polish brand, Cracovia. The Cracovia is possibly made from rye since it has a noticeably crisp taste and finish. I like each but the vatting seems to be better withal.
This is not a taste test one can pursue, so definitive impressions should be formed quickly. The ethanol freezes the taste buds and precludes further investigation (or any that will be useful for descriptive purposes).
Now all that's left is to put it in a holographic model and sell it to yuppies.
It really is quite astonishing how many vodkas are on the market and the prices some fetch. Most (in our market) are still at the low end of the price range and someone is buying all this, I remember only 10 years ago when the main brand here was Smirnoff but now there are so many more vodkas out there. Some have very high prices, I saw one yesterday for $129.00. It was 40% abv (I can't recall the name, it was a luxury version of a well-known brand). I am not sure what is behind all this: the urban fashion-oriented market is part of it, so are some ethnic markets, which are important in this city and no doubt other factors come into play. The truth is these drinks do somewhat (not a lot though) all differ in taste or mouth feel. But that can't explain the product variety since I don't doubt most people mix them or drink them iced. Even I after the first one can't tell much difference (hence, there is rarely a second one). I don't know the full picture but it makes for a fascinating part of the distilled spirits industry.
When I saw the subject line, I thought you were literally going to vat, i.e., barrel, some vodkas and I thought to myself, "gee, he's making Canadian whiskey."
I simply was combining vodkas in the glass from two or three commonly used types (friendly dig at Canadian whisky not unnoticed!). One can increase or at least alter vodka's taste that way - admitting taste is a relative matter with vodka. :) But it is proof again (to me anyway) that the sum can be greater than its parts. Aging vodka in wood is not a bad idea though, I recall Doug was asking for suggestions on use of an ex-rebarreled rum cask.. But if Canadian-type whisky is wanted, we'd need to choose a vodka that is not fully neutral in taste. The grain whisky used in Canadian and Scotch whisky manufacture is said (I don't have first-hand knowledge) to retain some flavor from secondary constituents intentionally left in. Also and more important we'd need to add 10-20% straight whisky since all Canadian whisky as far as I know contains that. Any private rebarreling experiments might consider adding more straight whiskey, say 35%-50%. It is remarkable how adding the right amounts of the right straights to a glass of vodka can increase its flavor and produce a drink which is neither straight whiskey nor vodka nor even Canadian whisky. Oh I know, it is American blended whisky! But that can be good if properly made. :)
I don't vat anything as a regular practice but your experience has convinced me that it is a worthy endeavor. The other night I was filling a flask with the last of some VOB BIB and rather than open a new bottle, topped it off with some Rittenhouse Rye BIB. An excellent combination.
That sounds great. That is exactly what I would do too because the VOB BIB can be a little heavy on the barrel character which tends to cover over a bit the rye but not really the corn or vanilla. The Rittenhouse fills that hole and both are about the same age, plus the Rittenhouse would cut a bit the "gritty" character some VOB BIB has.
Can you pass me a glass? :)
How would you mix that Gary/Chuck? 50-50?
How would you mix that Gary/Chuck? 50-50?
In my case the other day, I would guess it was four parts VOB, one part RR.
Although Gary is more broadminded than I, my approach to vatting is more like the way producers do it, which is to take a "base" whiskey, which is most of the volume, and then spike it with small amounts of flavor whiskey. Much like my example above, you probably would wind up with 80% base and 20% flavoring.
I agree fully in this case. Really you are spiking the rye content of the VOB which can use it because the barrel taste sometimes obscures the rye (especially in VOB BIB which can be a mite "gritty"). You might have spiked the rye content to something approaching the 1970's Michter's formulation, in fact. And there is nothing wrong with a low rye rye whiskey or a high rye bourbon, especially where you have two "ryes" (and two "corns") working together.
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