Review: 45th Parallel Vodka

Review: 45th Parallel Vodka


Hailing from New Richmond, Wisconsin, 45th Parallel takes its name from the line that passes through the state, halfway from the Equator to the North Pole.

Distilled from locally-grown grains (unspecified varieties), 45th Parallel is distilled three times and then charcoal filtered before being bottled at 80 proof. The company takes great pains to note that it does not buy bulk spirits and repackage or blend them into its own products. Everything in the bottle is produced in New Richmond.

Looks good on paper, but 45th Parallel is surprisingly sedate as far as vodkas go. For those looking for a dead neutral spirit, 45th Parallel is about as close as they come. The sweet and citrus of many other vodkas produced these days is wholly lacking in 45th Parallel. Strain and you can come up with some bread-like characteristics and an almost herbal, medicinal character late in the game, but that’s about it. The only sour note is the finish, which ends on a bitter, vegetal note instead of the clean touch that vodka is so well-known for.

45th Parallel is a solid vodka for use in cocktails (where the vague, off finish doesn’t come through), but I recommend other brands for sipping straight.

Very hard to find.

80 proof.

B / $30

45th Parallel 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. bubba on March 18, 2009 at 5:56 am

    In a group tasting of this vodka – shaken with ice and no vermouth , one sip and we all were looking for a place to spit this one out! if you look at the other midwest brands ( Shakers..) this is not a good represtentation of $30 vodka. The next day we then returned the bottle to the liquor store !

  2. james on March 18, 2009 at 5:01 pm

    We just came from a tasting of over 400 people and 45th was a smash hit!

  3. Doug on July 25, 2009 at 2:26 pm

    You’re kidding, right? Of over 40 vodkas I’ve tasted and compared, 45th Parallel is, with respect to flavor balance and texture, so far above the others that I find myself unable to mix it with anything. It has just enough pepper to excite your taste buds (and make even my Russian friends raise an eyebrow), an earthy aftertaste I would generally expect only from a true potato vodka and the silky mouth feel of a corn-based variant. Perhaps your taste buds were in bad shape the day you tasted. No worries. They’re making more. Yes, it’s hard to find. I just moved to Colorado from Minnesota and now have to buy it online, but it’s worth it. Spit out that trendy and transparent vodka you’ve been jaded by and give 45th another try.

  4. Dave on August 7, 2009 at 8:02 am

    If this Vodka is so bad, why does it get a “Highest Recommendation” From F. Paul Pacult?

    I think Bubba’s name is well deserved.

  5. Tina on November 24, 2009 at 3:30 pm

    Who does Bubba work for??? Are you sure you were testing the right bottle? I have never heard such strange and off descriptors for 45th Parallel.

  6. Mr. Vodka on December 17, 2009 at 4:58 pm

    Tasted great but massive hangover next day even after guzzling water before bedtime. Will take Sky, Svedka or Stoli over this one anyday.

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