I got a random box in the mail recently. I call it random because I totally forgot that a few weeks ago I had given my address to a PR company.

I do that because whenever I do, the beer fairy arrives and I really like the beer fairy.

Except this time it wasn’t a beer fairy, it was the vodka fairy. Not that I’m complaining. So to start off I want to be perfectly clear (like the vodka), the bottle of Georgian Bay Vodka you see above was sent to the Toronto Booze Hound offices (ahem, our guest room) free of charge. Though with no strings attached.

Upon receipt of said box, Shawna and I quickly started the process of tasting it, she in a vodka soda and me straight up in a glen cairn.

Vodka is an interesting drink. It’s one of the few that popular culture has… well… messed with. For a long time it was seen as having the ultimate goal of being “flavourless”. Due to this perception a lot of companies focus their marketing (and product development) on just how “clear” their drink is and how often they filter it.

What this does is build on the perception that vodkas only real use is to be made into a cocktail without making the cocktail taste alcoholic. Kind of pushing the message that the whole point of vodka is to get you drunk. Something I’m sure the AGCO isn’t exactly proud to promote here in Ontario.

All this is a roundabout way to say: I like that Georgian Bay focuses on the FLAVOUR of their drink, rather than it’s purity. On their website they actually go on to describe what it tastes like (unique notes of cereal, spice, and vanilla), something Smirnoff never does.

Eg. here is how Smirnoff describes their vodka “what we now call Smirnoff was the first vodka to use charcoal filtration in the distillation process. This charcoal filtration produces a spirit that is ideal for mixing because of its smooth and clean palate”. Smooth and clean palate? So flavourless.

When I have a vodka, I want it to actually taste good. Not only that, I care about things like mouth feel (potato vodka has an amazing one) and smell.

Mixing should not be about it making a drink alcoholic without any flavour, it should be about how it blends will with the other ingredients, making a unique flavour that you absolutely love (and that can’t be recreated by some other vodka brand.)

They say their vodka is a mix of malted barley and corn. They don’t say what exactly the mix is but if you read the tasting notes below you’ll notice a bunch of sweetness described, so I would guess they go heavy on the corn.

You can get Georgian Bay Vodka at the LCBO for $34.95 and is available for home delivery. It sits at the standard 40% ABV.

Appearance: Perfectly clear with good legs, not that legs tell you much.
Aroma: Sweeter with a bit of petrochemical. Peaches and fresh bread dominate.
Taste: Surprisingly blueberries hit first, then the grain comes in, mostly that classic light malt flavour I know so well from pilsners. Light heat from the alcohol but not unpleasant. Very neutral overall.
Aftertaste: Light heat and and a bit of strawberries.
In a vodka soda or as mixer: Very neutral, will mix in well and not add any unpleasant flavours. Basically dead on what you want for a vodka soda.

Kole McRae

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