No one loves grape vodkas more than the Australians. Today we look at not one but two such bottlings. (They share another kinship, as both are imported by the same company in the U.S.)
Both are 80 proof.
CooranBong Australian Vodka (Aborigine for “water over rocks,” we’re told) is a Barossa Valley grape vodka, distilled a whopping 10 times and bottled in what looks like a Gewurztraminer bottle. The results are mightily impressive: For fans of “smooth,” bite-free vodkas, CooranBong is killer. That ultra-distillation process clearly has done some magic. This vodka is one of the most neutral and taste-free vodkas I’ve ever encountered. That’s not a slight — vodka is supposed to be neutral, after all — but it may be a negative for fans of bigger, rounder vodkas with more character. CooranBong has a thin, easy body — no creamy, mouth-filling roundness here, a faint medicinal odor, and an almost spring water-like finish in the mouth. For mixing I can’t imagine a much better spirit. Straight drinkers are advised to use caution: This stuff goes down like water. Fitting. A- / $30 / cooranbong.com
Bombora Vodka (Aborigine for “reef”) is quite dissimilar from CooranBong. Pungent on the nose, Bombora offers big notes of lemongrass, dried herbs, and bitter vegetation. Sounds nasty but imagine carrying a spinach pie through a field of heather. OK, that sounds gross, too. Bombora makes one struggle for words, but it is nothing if not a unique vodka, rich, funky, with an aftertaste that evokes the back room of a Moscow speakeasy. Maybe the floor of the back room. Something unique, with all the connotations that word brings. B- / $25 / bomboravodka.com