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CorvallisCracker
03-19-2008, 09:40
So-called "premium" vodkas are the biggest ripoff in the liquor industry. Even a quadruple distilled one probably costs no more than a few dollars to make and bottle, but there are dozens out there there that cost upwards of $25. Sure, some of them are pretty good, but my point is that their production cost has nothing to do with their retail price.

Back in early December I happened to take a look at the Beverage Tasting Institute web site (http://www.tastings.com) an saw a new article, "100 Bottles of Vodka on the Wall". I followed the link to the article, and the subsequent link to the ratings.

Highest rated was Stolichnaya Elit, with a 97 score. This vodka retails for $60.

Second highest was one I'd never heard of, a Polish vodka, Sobieski. Got a score of 95. Price? $11.

Did some web searches. Found favorable comments at a number of sites. At epinions.com (a site I've used for selecting appliances and computer peripherals) there were four consumer ratings. Out of five possible stars, one gave it four and two others five. The fourth gave it only two, stating, "Good smooth taste but gave me the worst headache I have ever had after approximately 2 ounces in a mixed drink". Of course, he didn't say what else was in the drink, whether this was on an empty stomach, or what he might have been doing just before this (dehydration plus alcohol will give me a headache) so I didn't pay too much attention to this one.

Then I ran into a report of blind tasting held by La Revue du Vin de France, a French wine and spirits magazine. The Sobieski beat the other 24 vodkas in the tasting (which included Grey Goose, Absolut, and Stolychnaya).

Reported in the September 2007 issue, the article's writer (Martine Nouet, also a reviewer for Whisky magazine) describes it as "balanced, delicate and elegant, it has a nose of slightly acidic fruitiness. On the palate, it is well structured. The fruit is still present, but so are the spicy and slightly acid notes from the rye. A superb vodka for lovers of grain and spice, perfectly suitable for all occasions."

At this point, I decided it was worth a try. At that price, even if it didn't live up to the hype it would serve fine for Harvey Wallbangers.

I checked the current OLCC (OR Liquor Control Commission) list. Not there, of course, so I sent them a polite E-Mail requesting that it be added, concluding with the statment, "Those of us on a budget would really appreciate it."

Much to my surprise I got a reply stating that they'd add it to the list of liquors that would be considered at the monthly meeting, two days hence. Three days later I got an E-Mail telling me that it'd been approved and would be on the February list.

Feb 1st I visited the OLCC web site and downoaded the new product list. Sure enough, there it was. I jotted down the product code and at lunch ran over to my regular liquor store and ordered two bottles. They arrived yesterday. Price was $12.95 each.

Got home and poured 1.5 ounces into a small wine glass, and the same amount of Stoly into another (just the regular Stoly, not the Gold or the Elit).

The Stoly exhibited its hallmark wet stone character, with just a hint of grain on the nose (it's a wheat/rye blend). Smooth entry and mid-palate, no burn, and a medium length finish.

The Sobieski had a very distinct rye nose, surprising for something that (I assume) was distilled at 95% ABV (it is made from 100% rye). The entry and mid palate were smooth, but perhaps a touch behind the Stoly, but the finish was smoother and longer. The rye continued its spicy presence throughout. Compared to the Stoly it's more complex and lively. I'm looking forward to trying it in a vodka martini.

It's at least as good as Stoly Gold which, at $27 here in OR, is just over twice as expensive.

My wife liked it, but prefered the Stoly. The weird thing about that is that in bourbon, she prefers rye'd bourbons to wheaters. Go figure.

Oh yeah - I did not get a headache.

mier
03-20-2008, 00:51
Not so much a wodka drinker myself but some friends are and by them this is regarded as a very nice smooth wodka.It is the #1 wodkabrand in Holland at the moment.
Eric.

cowdery
03-20-2008, 14:23
The Market always seems to work things out. While there still seems to be a market for the ultra super deluxe mega-premium vodkas at silly prices (see "fool," "money" and "soon parted" for more), it's now possible to get the premium vodka taste for less than $20, which to me is reasonable. I don't care for Smirnoff, but the one I have found that seems to hit all the right notes is Svedka.

New2Whiskey
03-24-2008, 21:40
I purchased Sobieski for $8.99 plus tax.

Althought I'm no expert (not yet) on Vodka or other spirits, I compared it with Grey Goose (which was pushed upon me to try).

Sobieski was a winner. I will have to try it against other vodkas. But, I hesitate. Because for this price, and quality...I believe I might be wasting my money.

Back when I was younger I thought all vodkas tasted the same. Until my uncle poured me shots of Chopin. It's at that time I realized vodka is not just vodka. It felt like silk going down. And it wasn't 5 or 10 seconds. The feeling inside my chest was awesome. So it is with Sobieski.

From my understanding, it is just being introduced to US as of sometime last year. So it should be coming along in most liquor stores. I life in a area with Polish people so they carry this baby in stock.

WineGuy
03-25-2008, 03:36
I was first introduced to Smirnoff and have always been happy with it. I tried Grey Goose once and thought Smirnoff was much better.

CorvallisCracker
03-25-2008, 10:40
I purchased Sobieski for $8.99 plus tax.

Althought I'm no expert (not yet) on Vodka or other spirits, I compared it with Grey Goose (which was pushed upon me to try).

Sobieski was a winner. I will have to try it against other vodkas. But, I hesitate. Because for this price, and quality...I believe I might be wasting my money.

$8.99? Dang, I wish I could get it for that!

If what you mean by "waste of money" is buying other vodkas to compare with the Sobieski, that may be the case. Your own experience with it is favorable, and their are plenty of others who consider it to be top tier (just ran across Chris Carlsson's review at spiritsreview.com, where he gives it 10 out of a possible 10).

If you want to experiment, try some different styles, such as a potato vodka. Monopolowa is good, smooth almost to the point of creamy, and reasonably priced at about $15.

CorvallisCracker
03-25-2008, 10:44
I was first introduced to Smirnoff and have always been happy with it. I tried Grey Goose once and thought Smirnoff was much better.

Grey Goose was good when it was introduced some years back, but it's been going downhill.

Smirnoff is not bad - I give it a B+. As the best seller/most recognized in its category, it's better than its equivalents in other categories, such as rum (Bacardi) or Bourbon (Jim Beam white label).

New2Whiskey
03-28-2008, 11:52
$8.99? Dang, I wish I could get it for that!

If what you mean by "waste of money" is buying other vodkas to compare with the Sobieski, that may be the case. Your own experience with it is favorable, and their are plenty of others who consider it to be top tier (just ran across Chris Carlsson's review at spiritsreview.com, where he gives it 10 out of a possible 10).

If you want to experiment, try some different styles, such as a potato vodka. Monopolowa is good, smooth almost to the point of creamy, and reasonably priced at about $15.

Hey Scott......wrong choice of words. (Sorry...probably under the influence when I wrote that)

I meant I don't have a large budget at this time. (Althought I just purchased 2 Whiskey's...dang). I do have an extensive list (I'm a compulsive researcher) of spirits which I will be purchasing and it includes about 3 or 4 different 'types' of vodka. As you mentioned, potatoe, rye, and others. Same as with whiskey: Single Malt, Irish (single malt) (blend),, Scoth (single Malt) (blend), Candadian, Bourbon, Tennessee....that's all I have on my Whiskey. Tequila is Reposado, Blanco, and Anejo. My research tells me not to bother with mixto. (Which...if I was financially better, I would give the best mixtos a try)

CorvallisCracker
03-28-2008, 12:00
Hey Scott......wrong choice of words. (Sorry...probably under the influence when I wrote that)

I meant I don't have a large budget at this time.

I can relate.


I do have an extensive list (I'm a compulsive researcher) of spirits which I will be purchasing and it includes about 3 or 4 different 'types' of vodka. As you mentioned, potatoe, rye, and others. Same as with whiskey: Single Malt, Irish (single malt) (blend),, Scoth (single Malt) (blend), Candadian, Bourbon, Tennessee....that's all I have on my Whiskey. Tequila is Reposado, Blanco, and Anejo. My research tells me not to bother with mixto. (Which...if I was financially better, I would give the best mixtos a try)

Milagro blanco is a 100% de Agave, quite good, and priced about $30. In my opinion it offers the best QPR (Quality:Price Ratio) on the tequila shelf.

New2Whiskey
03-28-2008, 12:36
I can relate.



Milagro blanco is a 100% de Agave, quite good, and priced about $30. In my opinion it offers the best QPR (Quality:Price Ratio) on the tequila shelf.

Ahhhhhhh...that is tht exact term I was looking for!! QPR! That is what "ALL" (and I do mean all) of my purchases (from yogurt to whiskey to high-end wool suits) I base my purchases on. Some, with personal opionion (which..when it comes to taste I have to try), and others (mechanical, electronic, etc) I'll do all my research and make a purchase based on that. EX: A washing machine for my mother and father. ( I won't be buying 6 top rated machines to personally try and discover the best QPR)

wadewood
03-28-2008, 15:29
I needed another bottle of vodka, so I bought this to try. It was $12 here in TX. I have some Rain vodka and will try side by side.

smokinjoe
04-01-2008, 12:17
You ever notice that you never hear of something, and then it comes up in conversation (or somewhere else) like, 3 times in 3 days?!!!??? Well, so it is with Sobieski. I read about it here, saw it in a magazine somewhere, and now, my local store has it advertised on the marquee for $15.98 for a 1.75. I think something is telling me that I should get it....:rolleyes:

JOE

texascarl
07-06-2008, 21:12
Tried a bottle thanks to this thread - very nice!

Jono
07-07-2008, 09:19
I am not a vodka drinker (used as a mixer only).....but if you were to suggest a few comparison choices....moderate price....I would be interested in trying to find a favorite (if any). The Sobieski has been getting magazine advertising lately....there are soooo many to choose from. I have Tanqueray Sterling and a cheap Fleischmans.....

Also.....best flavored vodkas?

CorvallisCracker
07-07-2008, 14:40
I am not a vodka drinker (used as a mixer only).....but if you were to suggest a few comparison choices....moderate price....I would be interested in trying to find a favorite (if any). The Sobieski has been getting magazine advertising lately....there are soooo many to choose from. I have Tanqueray Sterling and a cheap Fleischmans.....

"soooo many" is a mega-understatement.

First, two questions:

1. Do you have a favorite bottled water?

2. Can you get 190proof grain alcohol in your state?

If the answer to both is "yes" you might just want to make your own vodka. Mix that bottled water with the grain alcohol 1:1 and you'll have a 95proof vodka that you'll probably like better than anything you could buy off the shelf.

But as for off the shelf and moderately priced (under $20), yes I like Sobieski; the rye they use is so stongly flavored that some of it carries over despite the high distillation proof (at least for those of us with keen noses). This makes it a good choice for a vodka martini.

For other mixed drinks all you really need is something that won't add any off aromas or flavors to the mixed drink, and has a reasonably smooth texture.

Gordons is a good choice, and costs under $10.

Monopolowa, an Austrian potato vodka, is very smooth and goes for about $14.

Skyy vodka is one that tries to get as close to the "odorless and tasteless" ideal, ostensibly to reduce the hangover effects (but don't count on that). About $19. (that's for the 80proof; the 90 proof is absurdly overpriced at $32)



Also.....best flavored vodkas?

Can't help you there.

ACDetroit
07-07-2008, 16:57
Scott, thanks for all the vast vodka information and the product review! I co-worker is a Belvedere fan and with a little online search found out the Sobieski is owned by Belvedere so he is picking some up tonight! I post his thoughts tomorrow if he finds it at the local store!

Thanks again,

Tony

Lukasz
09-08-2008, 04:02
Hello,
In my opinion in Poland we have better vodkas then Sobieski (a lot of my friends don't likie Sobieski) for example: Wyborowa, Luksusowa, Extra Żytnia and from flavoured Żubrówka (Bison Brand Vodka) and the most popular flavour vodka in Poland Żołądkowa Gorzka :)

Besides neer my homtown Rzeszow in Łańcut is produced Sobieski Estate (cost 18$)
http://www.polmoslancut.com.pl/eng/estate.htm

The most popular vodka in Poland is Absolwent
http://www.polmos.bialystok.pl/eng/prod_01.php

Lukasz

CorvallisCracker
09-08-2008, 11:03
Hello,
In my opinion in Poland we have better vodkas then Sobieski (a lot of my friends don't likie Sobieski) for example: Wyborowa, Luksusowa, Extra Żytnia and from flavoured Żubrówka (Bison Brand Vodka) and the most popular flavour vodka in Poland Żołądkowa Gorzka :)

Besides neer my homtown Rzeszow in Łańcut is produced Sobieski Estate (cost 18$)
http://www.polmoslancut.com.pl/eng/estate.htm

The most popular vodka in Poland is Absolwent
http://www.polmos.bialystok.pl/eng/prod_01.php

Lukasz

I don't know if Wyborowa, Luksusowa, Zytnia or Absolwent are imported to the USA but they definitely are not available in the state of Oregon.

We do have the Bison Grass, but I don't buy flavored vodkas.

Jono
09-09-2008, 14:09
Scott...do have an opinion of your local state Vodka.., for example:

http://www.cascadepeakspirits.com/

How does it compare to imported vodka?

CorvallisCracker
09-09-2008, 14:46
Scott...do have an opinion of your local state Vodka.., for example:

http://www.cascadepeakspirits.com/

How does it compare to imported vodka?

It costs $29.35 and is over my $20 limit on vodka, so I haven't tried it.

With many good vodkas under $20 (Sobieski at $11.95, Monopolowa at $13.95, Skyy 80 at $18.95, Stoli 80 at $19.95) I see no reason to go any higher than that.

Let's face it - vodka is almost always used as a mixer, and the important thing is to get one that has no obnoxious qualities (like smelling/tasting like rubbing alcohol, or worse). Occasionally I like a vodka martini, and Sobieski is a good choice because the rye spicyness makes for a more interesting drink.

There are a fair number of distilleries here in OR (12 at last count), some small enough to be termed "craft" and some quite large. The best known is Clear Creek, which has a almost consistently good product line (I say "almost" because the only bottle of their raspberry eau-de-vie I've found had an awful, almost fishy, aroma - if I ever visit the place I'm going to bring it along and see what they say about it - might just be a bad bottle).

There is a lot I still haven't tried, such as the Rogue rums. I have tried the the two gins from Bend Distillery, and thought the "Desert Juniper" the better of the two. Unfortunately they are dropping that one - apparently the "Cascade Mountain" gin sold better.

CorvallisCracker
09-09-2008, 15:30
Scott...do have an opinion of your local state Vodka.., for example:

http://www.cascadepeakspirits.com/

How does it compare to imported vodka?

Also, be advised that there are several (I'm not sure of the exact number) vodka producers here in OR. Bend Distillery has both the slightly overpriced ($22) "Cascade Mountain Vodka" and the waaaay overpriced ($50) "Diamond 100".

At the other end of the price scale is "Oregon Springs Vodka" for $6.30 a 750ml bottle. I haven't tried this but really should. Even if it's not fit for human consumption we could always use it as a kitchen disinfectant.