Review: Stumbras Vodka
Stumbras hails from a large conglomerate in the Baltic region, one of its concerns being distilling. This Lithuanian vodka comes from a distillery that produces a whopping 13 million liters of 350 different beverages each year. The company is the largest producer of spirits in the region.
Stumbras produces a variety of vodkas, including many flavored varieties. These two are both unflavored versions, distilled from grain and heavily filtered through sand, charcoal, and silver filters. Both are bottled at 80 proof.
Stumbras Centenary Vodka – The picture doesn’t do it justice, but that’s an actual stalk of wheat inside the bottle, not part of a picture on the label. Meant to echo the grain base of the spirit within, I have to admit I don’t get a lot of bready grain character here but rather a wholly Old World experience that feels like the kind of spirit a Siberian ice farmer would knock back by the bottle after a long day. That means big medicinal notes up front, though they’re not particularly pungent or overwhelming. There’s a slight lemon character to both the nose and the body, which gives the finish more of an easiness than you get with burlier Eastern European vodkas, although it still packs an acidic bite. Overall it’s simple, a bit rustic, and straightforward — but in vodka, that can work surprisingly well. A- / $16
Stumbras Pure Vodka – Pure is made in a similar fashion to Centenary, but is additionally filtered through platinum filters and rested for three days before bottling. No wheat stalk, either. I was surprised to discover the differences between Pure and Centenary, figuring these were really just repackaged versions of the same stuff. But Pure is softer and creamier, with distinctly less bite than the Centenary. The lemon is virtually gone here, replaced with touches of vanilla. The overall impact, however, is about the same, with Pure offering somewhat less bracing power but more long-term sippability. A- / $18
I had stumbras vodka in Vilnius… Where can I get it in USA?
Just finished with meeting yesterday with a raw material (goose down) supplier from Poland (at the Heimtex show in Germany). The meetings with companies generally always start out the same, and this one came in the late morning… and per normal, I get asked what I’d like to drink and I know one of the people there and I smile and say “a good Polish vodka would be great…” and leave it at that. Only to have a rather large glass of chilled Stumbras Cenetary put in front of me. Fantastic. When I departed, they gave me a bottle as a gift. Very cool.
Now, as Dave mentioned above…where can I get it in the USA :-)
Stumbras is by far the best deal in vodka. I prefer potato-based vodka, and Stumbras makes an excellent one. Right away you are taken aback by the very smooth character of their potato vodka. It has refreshing subtle botanical notes, with a similar aftertaste to Martin Miller’s Gin, which puts it in very good company in my book.