No corner of the drinking world is safe from the grain-to-glass movement. The latest is Poland’s Belvedere Vodka, which recently announced two new spirits, each made from the same Dankowskie Diamond rye seed, but each grown on a different, single Polish estate. Per Belvedere, “The influence of the distinct soil, topography and climate is beautifully expressed in each bottle (Smogory Forest and Lake Bartezek) illustrating the extraordinary quality and character in vodka. When sampled side by side, the two vodkas deliver two completely different taste profiles.”
Belvedere’s not lying. We tasted them both and while each is a standout in the category, the spirits are indeed very different. Thoughts follow.
Both are 80 proof.
Belvedere Single Estate Rye Vodka Lake Bartezek – “Crafted from rye cultivated in northern Poland’s lake district, a region renowned for its crystal-clear glacial lakes, long and snowy winters… The rye in this region spends over 80 winter days buried in snow, conditions that add to its character and greatly impact the liquid’s flavor profile.” Initially pretty and approachable, here you’ll find a note of bread dough on the nose and a hint of the earthy, nutty terroir underneath a certain floral character. The vodka does develop a slight camphor note with time in glass, drowning out the more delicate aspects of the spirit over time. On the palate, the vodka is chewy and creamy, complex but soft, with notes of toasted brioche, a gentle lavender character, and a reprise of roasted nuts. Versatile and well crafted. A- / $44 [BUY IT NOW FROM CASKERS] [BUY IT NOW FROM TOTAL WINE]
Belvedere Single Estate Rye Vodka Smogory Forest – “Crafted from rye cultivated in western Poland in a pastoral region known for its vast forests, short, continental weather fronts, mild winters, and fertile soil.” A bit more assertive on the nose, with a classic Old World construction of medicinal aromas, eucalyptus, and a touch of truffle. The palate is bold, lacking the creaminess of the Lake Bartezek bottling, replacing that with an aggressive punch of racy spice, sauteed mushrooms, fresh herbs, and a grind or two of pepper. This is an excellent and well-balanced vodka that will work as well in a martini as it does a Bloody Mary. A / $44 [BUY IT NOW FROM CASKERS] [BUY IT NOW FROM TOTAL WINE]