Review: Karlsson’s Gold Vodka

Review: Karlsson’s Gold Vodka

With its squat bottle reminiscent of those they sell iced tea in and an almost gaudy black-and-gold label (yeah, that’s a golden potato instead of an O), Karlsson’s Gold Vodka won’t be easily missed in a sea of etched-label, oversized bottles of the stuff. But Karlsson’s isn’t bottom-shelf swill. Created by Börje Karlsson, the “Father of Absolut,” this 80-proof Swedish potato vodka is one of the most unusual I’ve tasted in recent memory.

The flavor isn’t so much medicinal as it is minty, and there’s curious butterscotch character to it as well. I was expecting strong flavors of smoke and charcoal, hallmarks of Absolut, but these vodkas are about as different as you could imagine. Curiously, it’s fairly smooth yet it is distilled just one time, a testament to quality in an era of five-, six-, or seven-times distilled spirits.

As for the bottle, it’s not a tea container but one inspired by a laboratory bottle, and it even has graduated volume levels right in the glass. (The label on the bottle sent to me looks a bit different than the one shown here, also; perhaps it’s an older version?)

The price, well, that’s another issue. At $40 a bottle, Karlsson’s is one of the priciest vodkas on the market. That puts it quite a bit out of range as a novelty item, but if you’re a die-hard vodka lover, it might just have enough nuance to merit an investment.

80 proof.


Karlsson's Gold 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. Julie on March 13, 2010 at 9:03 pm

    I participated in a blind taste test tonight with this vodka, Russian Standard and Chopin among others.

    I would most definitely describe this vodka as slightly medicinal… especially compared to other vodkas (Chopin was the hands down winner).

    I wish it were minty – that actually sounds interesting… but just the smell of this vodka made it difficult to drink straight or even on the rocks.

  2. RG on April 19, 2011 at 5:48 pm

    Tasted like Shit. I mean actually fecal matter, poop, crap, do do etc… I don’t know if I should take it back to the market where I bought it. Maybe it is spoiled. Do alcohol products spoil? There is something definitely wrong with this vodka. I kept drinking it to see if it was the olive or something else. The smell is horrible. I drank it right from the bottle and it still tasted terrible. On the positive side…It got me drunk. The awful taste is probably why the market discounted the product by $10. Bringing the bottle down to $19 + tax & crv. I wish I bought a normal vodka. I am dreading having to taste more of this vodka.

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