Kaszebe 2011, 40%, Vestal Vodka. Experimental batch.

Apparently, making some of the most kick-ass vodka I’ve ever tasted is not good enough for the guys at Vestal Vodka. In the last pack of samples was an experimental one that was bottle aged with flakes of several kinds of wood before they were sent out.

Aging vodka in wood is something that is not done on a broad scale as far as I know, contrary to any other spirit I’ve ever heard of. In this case, putting some stuff in a barrel apparently didn’t do the trick (but who knows whether or not they’ve tried that too). So Vestal Vodka decided to put wood chips in bottles or a demijohn or so. In this case, cherry wood, bourbon barrel (so, once used white oak) and some fresh American oak and apple wood.

A weird combination if there ever was one. But interesting. Let’s taste.

Sniff:
It’s very light, even though it’s been aged for a bit with wood, with pink peppercorns. A kind of earthy, slightly sweet peppercorn. For some reason I get more hints of alcohol on this one than on the non-aged version. The scent of oak is fairly strong.

Sip:
Again, slightly spicy but not fierce. Lots of flavour but it’s a bit of a jumble here. To me at least. Some spices, wood, some red fruit (maybe apples and cherries?).

Swallow:
The finish is, again, slightly spicy with a touch of greasiness that I hadn’t found before. Rather long with spices. The sage is here, like it was yesterday.

While this is still a tasty drink I think I like the non-wood aged version better. That has more of that vodka purity that I appreciate in Vestal’s products. This feels like it’s trying to hold the middle ground between vodka and something it’s not.

I’m not sure if this’ll ever see the light of day in a shop, but if so, I still should sell properly since it’s rather tasty and still is a lot better than many of the ‘craft products’ that are quirky.

Kaszebe 2011, 40%, Vestal Vodka. Experimental batch, aged with cherry, bourbon barrel, apple and American oak chips.

About Sjoerd de Haan-Kramer

I'm a web developer at Emakina. I'm highly interested in booze, with a focus on whisk(e)y. I like to listen to loads of music and read quite some books. I'm married to Anneke, have a daughter Ot, a son Moos and a cat called Kikker (which means Frog, in Dutch). I live in Krommenie, The Netherlands.
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4 Responses to Kaszebe 2011, 40%, Vestal Vodka. Experimental batch.

  1. Billy says:

    There is quite a bit of tradition of wood-aging vodka:
    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Starka

  2. Lukasz says:

    The Starkas from Polmos Szczecin are actually very good and there used to be an extensive vertical range. Unfortunately mismanagement and low demand in domestic market meant the company hit trouble. But now, under new owners, I think they are on the brink of re-launching. They actually have something like 1m litres maturing (and that’s in cellars, not tin sheds).

  3. Lukasz says:

    Just an update. Came across information that the current owners of the Starka plant in Szczecin negotiated selling almost the entire stock in bulk to the US or Canada to be bottled and sold there by a third party. They were going to keep back only a few casks of each vintage (including one from 1947) and rely on new stock in the future. Still looking for information on whether the deal went through.

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