Review: Cold River Vodka

This potato-based vodka hails from Maine — who knew they had potatoes in Maine? — from tubers grown on Cold River’s own farm and bottled using water from its own local aquifer.

In fact, everything is done on the premises, and the results show in the finished product: This is a smooth and enchanting vodka that I’m happy to recommend. Both versions are 80 proof.

Cold River Vodka (unflavored) is exceptionally smooth but a bit sweet, with berry notes that made me think I had mistakenly tried the blueberry flavored version of the vodka (see below) first. Hints of honey, lemon, lavender, and gingerbread are at play here, making for a vodka with that rare combination of exquisite smoothness and interesting nuance. Excellent stuff. A+

Cold River Blueberry Vodka sounds like a curious choice for the company’s sole flavored version, but apparently they have blueberries in Maine, too. These are wild, soaked in alcohol for several days, flavored with a bit of sugar, and then blended into the vodka. Cold River claims its Blueberry Vodka has 1% sugar vs. other vodkas, with 12 to 15% sugar — and bottled at a full 80 proof. The result: the aroma of blueberry muffins fills the room when your pour out a glass of this stuff, and the flavor is as promised: Mostly fresh blueberry and minimally sweet. Tastes like a bakery, but again with that lavender hint in the mix. A rare flavored vodka that is a solid experience even on its own… but which would do exceptionally well in cocktails. A

$40 each / coldrivervodka.com

cold river vodka Review: Cold River Vodka

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5 Responses to Review: Cold River Vodka

  1. I thought vodka was ideally supposed to have no flavor, no smell, no color. At least that’s what the spiel from the Smirnov marketing rep said. Obviously from your description and rating you don’t think that’s true. But is it true that the “impurities” that give it more of a taste are also related to giving you hangover?

  2. @Brett:
    The complete absence of smells/flavors does not make a good vodka. Cheap vodka excel at this (eg. Smirnov) and taste like commercial ethanol diluted with tap water. As good vodka ages, it inevitably picks up certain characteristics, such as a touch of vanilla combined with a fuller mouthfeel.

  3. @Anon:
    Bullshit! You’re conflating vodka with liquors that need to be aged, i.e., the brown liquors. All spirits begin life clear, some are put in wood barrels to change their flavor and color.

  4. As a New England citizen who frequently visits Maine, I can tell you that the best blueberries come from Maine. And you can’t tell the difference between a Maine potato and an Idaho one. I can’t wait to get my hands on either of these.

  5. Wondering if I got a bad batch? Drank it neat, but it smelled like fish to me. The taste was similar, I certainly didn’t get the ‘fruit’ notes the reviewer got. On the positive side, the texture was perfect and it was incredibly smooth.

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