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Vodka Review: Stolichnaya (Stoli)

Initial Thoughts:

Stolichnaya (or more popularly known as Stoli) is a premiere Russian Vodka. Imported straight from the Motherland, Stoli is a reasonably priced Vodka that everyone knows, but are almost a little scared of. Maybe it’s the stern-toned Russian writing on the bottle or the Russian landmark in the background. Maybe it’s the fact that you don’t see too many people ordering stoli inside a club. Either way, there’s a bit of a social stigma that Stoli is both good in quality and somber in mood.

The bottle is simple, with a red and white label declaring the brand of vodka both on cursive and all-caps Russian street sign font (if you know the font please help me out in the comments!). It is distilled to 96% alcohol and then Artesian water is added to bring the concentration back down to 40%. The brand’s logo features the words “Stolichnaya vodka” in gold cursive script, over a drawing of a Moscow landmark, the Hotel Moskva. This is a Hotel where Stalin once stayed and the site of one of the first Metro stations in the capital city. (“Stolichnaya” is the adjectival form of “stolitsa”, meaning “capital city”.)

Stoli Facts

Average Price:$19.99 per 750 ml

Distilled From: wheat and rye grains, filtered through quartz, sand, activated charcoal, and finally through a woven cloth

Percent Alcohol: 40%

Produced By: S.P.I Group, Russia

Website: Stoli.com

I was confident that this alcohol would be enjoyable, however this doesn’t get nearly as much praise in my young-adult circle of friends than perhaps others. In fact, I can’t remember ever having Stoli before. We’ll the first step is the shot of alcohol and that’s always the scariest. I was a little nervous about the possible burn but knowing that it’s still a well respected brand, I wasn’t too apprehensive.

The Shot:

My goal is to record myself take a shot of every vodka brand that I review. Why? Well, nothing describes the pain/joy of taking a shot then looking at a persons face while he does it! So before I describe the shot, go ahead and press play to observe my immediate reaction.

 

Like I mentioned in the video, I took the shot of Stoli while it was cool, but not freezing cold from keeping it in the freezer. It’s not realistic in a social gathering that you will have the luxury to do that. So I let the bottle sit for about 15 mins before drinking.

The shot overall was not bad. It was sweet on the immediate taste and ran cool to the back of my throat. It wasn’t until this point that I started to taste the bitter and stingy flavor of the alcohol. If you notice in the video, I actually wince my left eye a bit from the slight harshness. But it is still alcohol and there are bound to be some burning feelings as the vodka goes down. It was still enjoyable and there are still much worse out there.

Shooting Grade: B

The Mixed Drink:

Vodka Collins
Preparing my Fresh Ingredients for a Vodka Collins

Grading for the mixed drink is hard, mainly because there are so many options to choose from. In my Ketel One review, I mentioned that I planned on using a Cape Cod for all my mixed drink needs. Unfortunately, I ran out of juice today and didn’t notice till after I took my shot. I remedied this error by simply switching to another highball, a Vodka Collins.

I mixed 1.5 ounces of Stoli with about 1 ounce of lemon juice, 1 spoonful of sugar, 3 ounces of soda water, and mixed thoroughly to make my Vodka Collins. My initial reaction is that it mixes pretty well. Vodka’s are flavorless, odorless, and colorless by definition, so what you taste in the vodka is the burning of the alcohol and the bitterness comes from the little particulates that didn’t get removed through the distilleries filtering process. Stolichnaya tasted very pleasant in my Vodka Collins and meshed well with the acidic flavors.

What you are looking for in the vodka for a mixed drink is, how does the alcohol help the cocktail? A lot of people’s definition of a good mixed drink is one where you can’t taste the alcohol. I disagree. I feel that a good mixed drink is one where I can taste a decent amount of alcohol without have a bitter or nasty taste in the back of my throat. Stolichnaya did well, but not as well as I had hoped. After I swallowed a bit of my mixed drink, there seemed to be a lingering taste on the back of my tongue. It wasn’t bad, but it was a characteristic that a premium vodka shouldn’t have. Stoli proved to be a good vodka, just not as good as I thought it would have been.

Mixed Drink Grade: B+

 

Conclusion:

Stolichnaya, or Stoli, is an imported Russian Vodka that proved to be a healthy alternative to the typical media crazed vodkas you see in magazines. This isn’t to say Stoli doesn’t market either (see Julia Stiles work it for them), but it isn’t quite in that same group of top level players. I would call Stoli a medium vodka, JUST shy of being premium. If you see some being offered at a party, drink it with confidence. At $20 a bottle, it might be worth it for you to pick some up and see if you like to drink like the Russians!

Final Grade: B

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3 comments

  1. It’s beyond me why anyone would drink anything if they’re so off put by the light tingle of alcohol..80 proof come on get real..

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  2. Great review. Linked here from http://www.thenewspeakeasy.com

    Looking forward to more reviews.

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