Picking ten of the best super premium vodkas is both easy and hard at the same time. Some names will be shoe-ins to the list, like Absolut’s Elyx, which I was lucky enough to taste at their distillery in Sweden. You would expect to see Belvedere somewhere on the list, along with Grey Goose and Ciroc. Vodka expert Victorino Matus, the author of this book made Ketel One his number one choice.
But there are now a lot of new kids on the vodka block, with craft distilleries still springing up all over the world. In the USA you couldn’t ignore the success of Tito’s, while in the UK there are names like Chase, Sipsmith and Vestal Vodka, which is made in Poland but the company’s based in Britain.
They don’t all make vodkas that fall into the super premium category, but they do all make excellent vodkas. Here’s my own top ten choice in the super premium vodka category of vodkas that are available in the UK
Having seen the wheat fields on the exclusive estate that provide the base for this vodka, and seen the distillery and talked to the Master Distiller, I know the quality of Absolut Elyx is as good as it gets.
You can’t judge a book by its cover or a vodka by its bottle, but I do like a good bottle design and this black bottle for Belvedere’s Unfiltered vodka adds to the whole enjoyment experience. It’s a rye vodka that is distilled four times and then left unfiltered, as the name tells you, to bring the taste of the rye forward on the palate.
Chase Potato Vodka
Chase was one of the first of the new wave of English vodka distilleries, and it immediately made its name by being voted Best Vodka in the World at the San Francisco World Spirits Competition, an astonishing feat (you can read a bit about the men who distilled that award-winning potato vodka here.) Check out Chase Smoked Vodka too, for its subtle smoky flavour.
Ciroc has a wide range of vodkas, but the best for me is their super premium vodka, Ignite, which is distilled from grapes in southern France, with all the quality that implies.
Elit! By Stolichnaya
I’ve always been a fan of Stoli’s cheap and cheerful vodka, even when people were calling it unfashionable, and no list would be complete for me if the name of Stoli wasn’t on it somewhere. Thankfully their Elit! By Stolichnaya is an excellent super premium vodka that has picked up lots of 5-star reviews.
Grey Goose VX
Grey Goose shook up the vodka world when it first appeared, having the audacity to make a vodka in the heart of France’s cognac country, by a distiller poached from the cognac industry. Their Grey Goose VX even adds 5% of cognac to the vodka for a fascinating fruity, spicy result with a touch of sweetness.
Ketel One has been known and loved for so long it’s easy to forget how good it is. In fact it was only introduced in the UK in 1999, though the Dutch distillery that produces it has been around since 1691 – long enough to know what they’re doing.
I’ve been to Iceland so know how pure the wayer is there. It’s behind Martin Miller’s Gin, and the man who introduced Martin Miller to Icelandic water was also the man who used it to produce Reyka Vodka. Its base grains are both wheat and barley, and distillation is powered using Iceland’s geothermal heat sources, making Reyka both clean and green at the same time.
Sipsmith Barley Vodka
Sipsmith is a comparatively new distillery in London and probably better-known for its gin, but the company also produces a deliciously smooth super premium vodka too, made from English barley.
Tito’s Handmade Vodka
One of the best-known names in US vodka is Tito’s from Texas, partly because they are very good at publicity but they do have a first class product to back it up. Don’t be fooled by its relatively cheap price – it makes a good sipping vodka as well as cocktail mixer.
These ten best super premium vodkas are all available in the UK through Matthew Clark, one of the UK’s leading drink wholesalers: www.matthewclark.co.uk