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Thread: Sobieski Vodka

  1. #1
    Irreverent One
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    Sobieski Vodka

    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.
    Scott

    "Remember that your sense of humor is inversely proportional to your level of intolerance."
    - Serge Storms

  2. #2
    Enthusiast
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    Re: Sobieski Vodka

    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.
    Netherlands

  3. #3
    Bourbonian of the Year 2002 and Guru
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    Re: Sobieski Vodka

    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.

  4. #4

    Re: Sobieski Vodka

    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.

  5. #5
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    Re: Sobieski Vodka

    I was first introduced to Smirnoff and have always been happy with it. I tried Grey Goose once and thought Smirnoff was much better.

  6. #6
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    Re: Sobieski Vodka

    Quote Originally Posted by New2Whiskey View Post
    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.
    Scott

    "Remember that your sense of humor is inversely proportional to your level of intolerance."
    - Serge Storms

  7. #7
    Irreverent One
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    Re: Sobieski Vodka

    Quote Originally Posted by WineGuy View Post
    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).
    Scott

    "Remember that your sense of humor is inversely proportional to your level of intolerance."
    - Serge Storms

  8. #8

    Re: Sobieski Vodka

    Quote Originally Posted by CorvallisCracker View Post
    $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)

  9. #9
    Irreverent One
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    Re: Sobieski Vodka

    Quote Originally Posted by New2Whiskey View Post
    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.

    Quote Originally Posted by New2Whiskey View Post
    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.
    Scott

    "Remember that your sense of humor is inversely proportional to your level of intolerance."
    - Serge Storms

  10. #10

    Re: Sobieski Vodka

    Quote Originally Posted by CorvallisCracker View Post
    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)

 

 

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