Is “intense” something people normally want from their vodka? Made from single-estate Dankowskie Diamond rye in Poland, Belvedere distills this vodka four times then bottles it unfiltered for your happy consumption. (Note: There is also a Belvedere Intense that is filtered; but this version typically goes by the nickname of “Belvedere Unfiltered,” even though the word “Intense” appears much larger on the label.)
As vodkas go, it’s a real hit: A combination of the best characteristics a vodka connoisseur could want. First, there’s that slug of medicinal character, spicy on the nose and Old World in inspiration. Touches of pine needles and tree sap on the nose, too.
The body reveals all manner of nuance beyond that introduction: Salted nuts, nougat, and very light dessert character. It is sweet without being overly so, just enough to balance out the medicinal astringency on the top notes. The body is creamy and mouth-filling; this is easy-drinking stuff, even at room temperature.
The finish is lovely — a touch short for a vodka this rich — but inviting and refreshing. All in all: It’s an irresistible winner.
A / $40 / belvederevodka.com