This could be a first for vodka makers: A company releases a second, unflavored vodka, different only because it was produced with a different base grain.
Chopin is a relatively uninspired potato vodka, and now the company is back with a vodka made from rye. Chopin “Red Label” is crafted from 100% Polish rye and it couldn’t be more different from its big brother.
Chopin Rye features a big body, with intense spice on the palate. There’s a mountain of earth here, a mushroom-like quality that is uncharacteristic of rye spirits and gives Chopin Rye a surprising depth. It is also a very strange way for vodka to taste. I’m a fan of vodkas that move beyond “grain neutral” and exhibit a real and unique character, but this one almost has too much to go around. All I can taste is barnyards and mushroom fields when sipping Chopin Rye, giving this vodka a rustic feel that is at odds with its elegant ideals.
Bizarre yet oddly compelling in its own strange ways. An outlier oddity for vodka fanatics.
On sale March 2011. 80 proof.
UPDATE: I’m wrong. Van Gogh introduced an unflavored vodka from a different base grain in 2009. We even reviewed it, then promptly forgot about it.