Mora’s October Vodka of the Month Club: Absolut Elyx

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Absolut
Elyx
Ahus, Sweden

 

absolut-elyx

The Process: “Absolut Elyx is manually distilled in a 1921 copper rectification still known as Column 51, made entirely of copper… Absolut Elyx is the result of century-old expertise, passed down through generations of Swedish vodka-makers. Krister Asplund and his team are amongst the very few people who have the skills and knowledge to operate a manual still. Together they control the temperature and precise rate of flow during distillation by hand. Every handle, knob and level is adjusted manually… Absolut Elyx is made in Åhus, Sweden, exclusively from single estate wheat from the Råbelöf Castle, where they have been producing wheat since the 1400s. The wheat grown here contains exactly the right amount of water and has the perfect balance of starch. From seed to bottle, everything is done within a 15-mile radius of the distillery, ensuring quality control and perfection in every detail.” – Absolut

“Elyx is made in 100% copper stills, which are wrapped in wood for insulation.  Additionally, the mash for Elyx is passed through a filter of copper rings that absorb unwanted sulphuric compounds.  Absolut original also uses this process, but Elyx is passed through new copper rings, and they are only used once, and then re-used in the production of Absolut. The raw spirit comes from the facilities in Nöbbelöv at 85% abv.  The spirit is diluted in the extraction column down to about 20% abv, and then sent to the rectification column.  The spirit passes through four different copper stills.  These mighty and gorgeous copper stills are the heart of Absolut Elyx, they give much of the flavor character and identity to the spirit.” – Gastronomista

The Vodka: “…It has similar characteristics to the original Absolut mark, but where the wheat is the dominant flavor profile in the original, Elyx has citrus notes of grapefruit and lime, a silky smooth texture, a hint of spice, and a smooth, clean finish. It’s also got a slight hint of butterscotch, macadamia nut, caramel, and a bit of the low wheat note found in the original. It’s a delicious vodka, so don’t go drowning it in mixers. We recommend sticking to simple cocktails, the classic martini (extra dry) or vodka on the rocks – guaranteed to be delicious tipple.” – Gastronomista

“From a sharp crisp nose Elyx unrolls with a smooth and slightly sweet entry that carries the wheat grain note from the nose and adds light vanilla cream, a touch of butterscotch, and a hint of hazelnut and chocolate. Where Elyx really shows off its stripes is in the midpalate where it develops a fantastic spice reminiscent of the pin prick you get from a great Russian style vodka; although it’s not a pin prick here, the spice is wide and expansive on the palate. This spice gives Elyx tremendous structure and defines the finish, which has a nice spicy core but finishes clean. The mouthfeel of Elyx is simply exceptional, transforming from a smooth, creamy opening to a crisp, clean finish, perfectly executed in every way… Absolut Elyx’s solid midpalate and strong finish hold up admirably when combined with vermouth… Absolut Elyx is one of the most significant vodka releases since Ketel One or Grey Goose. Elyx is a game changer for Absolut, who has virtually reinvented itself with a contemporary vodka that stands shoulder to shoulder with some of the very best vodka on the market.” – Spirits Review

Mora’s September Vodka of the Month Club: ADK Vodka

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Adirondack Distilling Company
ADK Vodka
Utica, New York

adk

The Process: “Our mission at Adirondack Distilling Company is to provide you with the highest quality spirits, made with locally grown ingredients using an environmentally friendly distilling process. We hand-craft each batch to create a unique experience that really is a taste of the Adirondacks.  We buy only the highest quality New York corn. It arrives at our facility dried, cracked, slightly milled, and ideal for distilling… [After the corn is fermented it] is pumped to the copper still, and a ‘stripping run’ takes place, making cuts of heads, hearts and tails. Only hearts and tails are kept. Once enough hearts and tails are distilled, a ‘spirits’ run takes place, running it through the still with all plates (26 of them) engaged. A pure sprit at 190 proof is the result. We then make cuts at head, hearts and tails again only keeping hearts and SOME tails. This highly alcoholic un-polished vodka is proofed so we can add our natural Adirondack water, and then chilled and run through the filter and authentic Herkimer Diamonds.” –The Distillery

The Vodka: 100% corn. Gluten Free.

Tasting Notes by Spirits Review, online:
Appearance: Bright clear appearance almost sap like with a nicely heavy body that swirls sensuously around the glass leaving a nice oily coating. Tears form around the edge line and eventually become isolated drops with some legs forming.
Nose: Fresh, corn with sweetness and hints of mint and grasslike notes, similar to a very good white rum
Taste: The white rum impression holds true during the tasting, with a full oily entry and a sweetness and fullness in the mouth, and a weighty feel to the vodka and a nicely but naturally sweet finish with touches of minerality.

Mora’s August Vodka of the Month Club: Ultimat Vodka

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Ultimat Vodka
Vodka, 80 Proof
Poland

ultimatvod

The Process: Ultimat has been distilled four times. Generally repeated distillation will produce a purer spirit that is smoother on the palate. Repeated distillation has improved the quality of this spirit as is represented by its high critic rating.

The Vodka: “The nose is pretty solid, slightly sweet, with clear grain notes and no harshness or strong esters. The entry starts out fairly soft and sweet and then builds quickly on the mid palate to a mix of wheat and black pepper. The pepper ramps up strongly in the mid palate and then finishes with a real crescendo. The finish is one of the spicier finishes we’ve tasted on a vodka. It’s no surprise that the makers of Patron fell in love with this vodka – it reminds us of the strong pepper kick of Patron silver tequila. ” –Drink Spirits, online

89 Points Wine Enthusiast February 2015
“Made from a blend of wheat, rye and potato, this vodka has a mild citrus peel note on the bright, zippy finish and a silky, slightly oily texture that coats the palate. Ideal for mixing into cocktails.” —Kara Newman

 

Mora’s July Vodka of the Month Club: Belvedere Intense

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Belvedere Intense
Unfiltered Vodka, 80 Proof
Zyrardow, Poland

belvedere intense

The Distillery: “Belvedere Vodka hails from the small town of Zyrardów, in the Mazovian plains of central Poland, where it is crafted in a 100 year old distillery. In 1993, Belvedere Vodka made its official launch, creating a new standard in vodka. Launched to both critical acclaim and commercial success, this luxury vodka was quickly followed. Belvedere, which means “beautiful to see” is named after the Belweder Palace in Warsaw, home of the Polish President. An illustration of the palace appears on each and every bottle, reinforcing that Belvedere Vodka is both beautiful to see and taste.”

“Only the most dedicated and passionate dare make Polish Vodka. With the most rigorously regulated vodka laws on the planet, there are no short cuts for quality or consistency. Every step of production must occur on Polish soil with locally-sourced raw ingredients. Belvedere uses Dankowskie Rye from the Mazovian plains of Poland and water from its own proprietary wells to create this luxury vodka. It’s an integral part of what makes Belvedere proud to serve your palate.” –Belvedere Vodka

The Vodka: “Distilled from Dankowskie Diamond Rye, a single-estate baker’s grade grain grown on one select Polish farm, Belvedere Unfiltered is vodka at its smoothest and most distinctive. This full-bodied, elegant creation is a celebration of Diamond Rye; distilled four times and then left unfiltered in order to heighten the expression of the rye. This results in a silky soft texture and elegant mouth feel. Creating exceptional vodka is having the confidence to know when to take a step back and allow the craftsmanship of each element to shine.” –Belvedere

“On the nose are the delicate aromas of sea air, baked bread, and toasted nuts. The palate will notice initial impressions of salted caramel, freshly baked bread, even a touch of honey, then evolve into fresh minerality – with stone and flint characteristics, which give way to delicate hints of sea salt and white pepper. The finish offers a long, lingering goodbye. A salty and sweet one, at that.”  –Beverage Media Group

Belvedere Distillery Tasting Notes
Nose: Intense aromas of sea air, baked bread and toasted nuts.
Palate: Full but mellow with initial impressions of salted caramel, freshly baked bread and a touch of honey. Mid-palate evolves into fresh minerality with some stone and flint characteristics. Back palate is refreshed with delicate notes of sea salt and a hint of white pepper. Mouth-feel is rich, well rounded and luscious.
Finish: Long and salty/sweet. Notes of baked bread, vanilla and cream.

92 Points Ultimate Beverage Challenge March 2015
“Translucent appearance. Deep, assertive bouquet is supported by a flavor profile that’s meaty, deep, earthy, mineral-like, but elegant.”

Mora’s June Vodka of the Month Club: Stoli Elit

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Stolichnaya
Elit Vodka, 80 Proof
Tambov, Russia

stoli elit

The Vodka: “We choose to grow our grain in Tambov, Russia — one of the richest, most fertile environments on Earth. Our grains are single-sourced from Raduga, our farm in Tambov. Cultivated by our own farmers, we hand-select our blend of grains: winter wheat, spring wheat and rye. We distill three times, using only the high-quality heart that comes out of the process: the Alfa elit™ Spirit. 850 miles northwest of Tambov, the most robust grains of the Alfa elit™ Spirit are carefully balanced with water from our own artesian well in Riga, Latvia. While most vodkas discard only 2% of the distillate to extract imperfections, we set the benchmark for Alpha Spirit, extracting up to 20% to achieve perfection. The liquid is then filtered through tightly packed columns of fine quartz sand and activated Russian birchwood charcoal to remove any tiny particles. Pulled by gravity and perfected by carbon, it emerges bright and clear. Precisely -18º C is the temperature at which the spirit undergoes our patented freeze-filtration process before passing through an ion-charged filter. Inspired by the old tradition of leaving casks outside in winter conditions, this final stage is what distinguishes elit™ from other vodkas. The result is an understated and uniquely creamy vodka, void of any imperfections. After rigor comes rest. Following freeze-filtration, we allow 24 hours for our vodka to return to room temperature — unhurried — to achieve its flawless clarity and density before bottling. Designed to emulate our filtration process, the bottle is inspected by hand with every detail considered. The weighty glass bottle holds a visible luminosity as remarkable as the liquid inside.” –Stolichnaya

Gayot Top 10 Vodkas
“Don’t confuse Stolichnaya elit with its popular older brother ‘Stoli.’ This grain-based beverage is triple-distilled and undergoes a unique freeze filtration process which brings its temperature down to -18 degrees Celsius (0 degrees Fahrenheit). As the liquid’s density increases, it becomes easier to identify and remove impurities. The result: great body and texture, and a distinctly clean aftertaste.” –Gayot, The Guide to the Good Life

96 Points Wine Enthusiast June 2006
“Aroma is dry, clean, and grainy, with background notes of parchment and litchi; later passes offer semisweet, mildly smoky/ashy scents of charcoal and smoldering embers. Palate entry is firm, moderately oily, bittersweet; at midpalate concentrated and spicy grain flavors mingle adroitly with the smoky, sap- and resin-sweet birch-charcoal filtering influence. Concludes sweetly and almost candy-like.” — P.P.

Mora’s May Vodka of the Month Club: Russian Standard Imperia Vodka

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Russian Standard
Imperia Vodka
St. Petersburg, Russia

imperia

The Distillery: “At the heart of Russian Standard Vodka is the man who created it, Russian entrepreneur Roustam Tariko. Russian Standard Vodka is Russia’s number one premium vodka, and you can find it in more than 80 countries around the world. But Roustam never rests. His relentless pursuit of perfection – vodka perfection – is what drives our people and the production of Russian Standard Vodka.” – The Distillery

The Vodka: “Controlled at all stages of its production, our Super Luxe grade spirit passes through over 200 distillation stages. Our vodkas are all filtered to cleanse the liquid of impurities, and achieve absolute transparency. Russian birch charcoal filters have a catalytic quality, forming esters that help to mellow the taste and bring up the aroma to eliminate sharp burn or bitter notes in the after taste. Our Urals Mountains quartz crystal filtration process creates static electricity that alters the molecular structure to give the vodka a smoother taste. We use silver, which is an effective antimicrobial agent, to further refine our vodka.

“The vodka passes through a final, unique process called relaxation, where the liquid matures and the ingredients ‘marry’ each other for perfect balance, smoothness and final development of organoleptic properties. The relaxation process is critical to the final product; it is where the super molecular structure is built. Few vodka companies relax their vodkas, because it costs time and money…”

“IMPERIA vodka has been crafted to the highest standards to create a pristine Russian vodka for those who enjoy the finer things in life. Produced by the world’s most advanced distillation process and layer-filtered through quartz crystal from the Ural Mountains, IMPERIA is allowed to rest in relaxation tanks for 72 hours before bottling. The result is an exceptionally pure and clean taste with a light herbal aroma and elegant, full body.” – The Distillery

 

Mora’s April Vodka of the Month Club: Black Button Wheat Vodka

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Black Button Distilling
Black Button Wheat Vodka
Rochester, New York

blackbuttondistilling

The Distillery: “Since 1922 my family has provided some of the finest men’s suit buttons available. For four generations, these buttons have closed suits worn by Presidents, Popes, kings, and businessmen the world over. From a young age, I went to work in my grandfather’s factory but it was clear I was meant for a different path. I broke tradition and decided to make whiskey, but the lessons I learned in his factory as a kid still guide me to this day; work hard, work with our hands, make your product the best on the market, and you can’t cheat time. My distillery pays homage to my grandfather and the world he knew — where real men worked hard and drank real pot distilled whiskey. My name is Jason Barrett, I started my craft distillery at 24 years old, and I love distilling. I hope you will try our small batch, grain to glass spirits and join me I raising a glass to Living Large in Small Batches.” —The Distillery

The Vodka: “Black Button Wheat Vodka is a surprisingly smooth foundation you can build your drink and your evening on. Black Button Wheat-based Vodka is make from soft white wheat grown for us on a family farm situated on the western slopes of Conesus Lake. It is this local grain that gives us the smooth taste, body, and feel that every distiller desires for their vodka and we are prould to have such desirable grain growing right here in the rich soil of the Finger Lakes Region.” – The Distillery

This 84 proof vodka created from local ingredients is aged in a 300 gallon artisan copper pot still.

Tasting Notes from Good Spirits News
Nose: Spun sugar
Taste: Initially sweet and cane sugar-like with a cotton candy finish, there is also a less pronounced minerality which does well to give this vodka some character and oomph.
Finish:  The sweetness prevails and goes on for quite a while.
Overall: There is a lot of body to this vodka, making it more overt than many vodkas which are distilled to the point of nondescript blandness.

87 Points Wine Enthusiast February 2015
“Made from local wheat grown on a family farm, this “grain-to-glass” vodka is on the sweet side, offering hints of banana and an elongated vanilla finish with a clove-like spark.”—Kara Newman

Mora’s March Vodka of the Month Club: Crystal Head Vodka

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Crystal Head Vodka
Vodka, 80 Proof
Newfoundland, Canada

crystalheadvodka
Why a Skull? “A controversial archaeological mystery, thirteen crystal heads have been found in regions around the world, from the American southwest to Tibet. They’re dated between 5,000 and 35,000 years old, and were supposedly polished into shape from solid quartz chunks over a period of several hundred years. Although according to Hewlett Packard engineers, they bear no tool marks to tell us exactly how they were made. The heads are thought to offer spiritual power and enlightenment to those who possess them, and as such stand not as symbols of death, but of life.”

“Dan Aykroyd is a well-known actor, musician, entrepreneur and spiritualist; a believer in what he calls the ‘invisible world’ where otherworldly presences are a ‘form of reality as valid as our normal reality.’ Partner and veteran fine artist John Alexander has exhibited extensively in the United States and around the world. Together, they were avid researchers of the legend of the 13 crystal heads. And from this inspiration, an idea was born.” – The Distillery

The Process: “A quadruple-distillation process made Crystal Head as pure as vodka can be, but the quest for an almost mystical purity continued. As a final stage, the liquid was filtered through 500-million year-old crystals known as Herkimer diamonds. These quartz crystals are found in very few places in the world, including Herkimer, New York and regions in Tibet and Afghanistan. Perhaps because they share the raw material from which the original crystal heads were carved, they are thought to have similar spiritual qualities.”

“The result was perfect vodka, with absolutely no additives. No glycol (an ingredient for engine anti-freeze); no citrus oil (used in its raw form as an insect pesticide); and no raw sugar. Nothing was needed, because it was abundantly clear that finely produced vodka came by its smoothness and flavor naturally. So in the end, the only things required were a glass and a pure spirit of one’s own.” – The Distillery

alcoholmedal

 

#1 on Top 10 Best Vodka List!
Alcohol Aficionado unveiled this year’s best vodkas and Crystal Head topped the list!

The Vodka: “Made with glacier water from Newfoundland Canada, quadruple distilled and filtered through Herkimer diamonds, Crystal Head is a grain based vodka with zero additives. We’re not sure where the genius is in how they make the vodka, but it’s certainly in there. Most people are looking for a smooth vodka, and that’s perfectly fine. We on the other hand are looking for a complex vodka and a little bite. Crystal Head Vodka has all of those elements in one.” –Whiskey Goldmine, online

Drinks Enthusiast Tasting Notes: “Smooth and light on the nose with hints of vanilla gently making its way around. A slight kick when it first hits the palate, but it mellows quickly into a smooth offering. A slight peppery kick at the end, but a long mouth-watering sensation dominates it. A great vodka with a long flavour does well for the sipping drinker, but it also creates some fantastic cocktails.”