Tuesday 30 August 2011

Pash-ion for Vodka #8 - Stolichnaya Gala Apple

Readers of the New Sheridan Club newsletter will be aware of my fondness for the vodka brand Stolichnaya, whether it be the Red (40%), the Blue Export (50%), which is perfect for making a Vesper, or the superb and excellent value-for-money Stolichnaya Gold.
Stolichnaya also make a range of flavoured vodkas. My old favourite, Stolichnaya Kafya (coffee), is no longer made, and so today I shall be looking at something new: Stolichnaya Gala Applik. 

This new vodka is flavoured with Gala Apples* and is bottled at 37.5% ABV.

The Taste

Room Temperature Immediate taste of the apple; quite crisp, with the sweetness that comes from the apple's flesh. A little jamminess, similar to apple chutney or sauce. Smooth, with some warmth at the end.

From the Freezer Lovely viscosity and texture, being bitingly cold. Smooth & tingly at the same time. The taste of sweet apple comes through well, with a long finish.

Smooth and crisp to start, then a little herbal vermouth, before a finish of ripe, juicy apple. Like an appletini, but far more subtle and sophisticated.

Stoli Applik Martini (from the bottle label)
1 part Stolichnaya Gala Applik
1 part apple juice
½ part cranberry juice SHAKE
A pleasant light pink fresh rosiness of the apple still there and is slightly freshened by the juice the cranberry adds some bite and balance. Not my usual tipple but quite good.

Stolichnaya Elit

I also got a chance to re-try "Elit by Stolichnaya" (Stolichnaya Elit), the jewel in the crown of the Stolichnaya Range. 
The emphasis is on the vodka being a clean and pure spirit and this is achieved by blending the product of the distillation with balanced water and then filtering it three times. During this, the Elit is held in a tank at -18°C (-4°F). The idea being that, as the liquid's density increases, the impurities freeze to the side of the tank.** After this cooling period the vodka is then filtered another two times. 

I have tried Stolicynaya Elit before, and those who attended my Martini talk a while back may remember the story. I had it in a bar near London Wall from a lady who had never mixed a Martini before. I told her my preference of ratio (5:1) and she vigorously shook the drink. It is easily in my top three Martinis ever and is probably my favourite; every sip was as superb as the one previous and, as I left, I still had a beautifully cool feeling in my chest, a feeling that lasted for about an hour. A memorable and lovely experience.

This time around, I enjoyed the Elit straight from the freezer and sipped it from a small chilled glass. Once again, I was impressed at how smooth and pure it was, but also that it still had some texture and a light grain flavour; it had a superb balance of smoothness and flavour and is a really good vodka.

Stolichnaya Gala Applik is available for around £19 for 70cl from The Whisky Exchange Elit by Stolichnaya is avaialble for around £45 for 70cl from The Whisky Exchange

* My favourite type of apple.
** This is a method thought to have been used in the day of the Tsars, but, rather than a metal tank, they would use oak barrels in the snow. 

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