Review: Russian Standard Imperia Vodka

Review: Russian Standard Imperia Vodka

imperia vodka

If you aren’t familiar with Russian Standard’s Imperia vodka (its highest-end of three bottlings) due to its ubiquitous print advertising, you won’t miss the angular, hexagon-bottomed bottle at the liquor store. It looks like something that ought to have been erected on the outskirts of Moscow during the Yeltsin years, a stark monument to drowned sorrows and liver damage.

Imperia ain’t Popov, though. It’s a premium vodka with a premium price (considerably more expensive than, say, Stoli), made from winter wheat and distilled a nearly-ridiculous eight times along the way. It is later filtered four times, twice through Ural Mountain Range quartz crystals. No idea how that works, but there you go: It all must be part of Dmitri Mendeleev’s original recipe, created for Czar Alexander III in 1894. Russian Standard says it uses the same recipe today.

Ah, but how does it taste? Not bad. It’s clearly a Russian, grain-based vodka, though not too strong at 80 proof. All that distilling and filtering leaves it with a very faint flavor. If you’re looking for an utterly neutral spirit to blend cocktails with, you’ve found it. Imperia is left with very little on its own, just a slight bittersweetness and a faint taste of almonds, followed by a mild rubbing alcohol finish. You could really sip this all day like water.

One caveat: At $34, it’s one of the most expensive vodkas on the market. It’s a nice spirit, but many may find it tough to shell out the asking price when others are about as good at half the price. Your call.

80 proof.

B+ / $34

Russian Standard Imperia Vodka




Christopher Null is the founder and editor in chief of Drinkhacker. A veteran writer and journalist, he also operates Null Media, a bespoke content creation company.


  1. Dave on January 21, 2009 at 3:03 pm

    Call me an elitist, but I only drink Russian Standard Imperia.

    I don’t know the biochemistry of it all, but I have never had a hangover, nor the sluggish feeling the next day after a night of drinks mixers with an Imperia base.

    I can’t say the same for any other vodka.

  2. Wes on June 15, 2009 at 4:35 pm

    Amazing Vodka – my local Trader Joes has it in 1.75 liters for $29.99. Great price considering that works out to $12.85 per 750 ml!! Go get some if you can.

  3. Anonymous on July 2, 2009 at 12:11 am

    Imperia Vodka – 10$ for 750ml.

    Just bought one the other day.

  4. Rich on July 31, 2010 at 9:59 am

    I agree with Dave. I have NEVER had a hangover with Imperia. Regardless of how much I drink. Even the Goose gives me a headache but not this stuff. Believe it or not my local liquor store had it on sell for 12 bucks!!!!!!

  5. Pedro on November 30, 2010 at 8:07 pm

    You guys are lucky, here (Chile) Imperi? is 50 USD a bottle. I haven’t tried other vodka (maybe rusky standard platinum) with a quality even close to Imperi?. Love to choose between Imperi? or Chivas after work (sometimes).

  6. bengt on April 7, 2016 at 7:48 am

    Even the guys in Chile are lucky. In Norway I pay 98 euro for 0,70.
    Simply the best vodka ever.

  7. Janet Randall on October 7, 2016 at 2:21 pm

    love this vodka. having a very dirty martini right now.

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