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Sunday, February 03, 2008

Review: 26000 Vodka

26,000 Years in the Making
I first heard about 26000 vodka about a year ago. I read about how it uses a water source that is 26,000 years old and proceeded to make some crack about how it was a big lake of dinosaur pee. The makers of 26000 decided that they wanted me to eat my words of pee and send me some of the stuff. However, thanks to the efficiency of American Customs and the seeming fear of terrorists using vodka as a WMD, they were not able to get a bottle of the stuff to me from its native New Zealand.

Now with 26000's impending launch in a few months, they went the extra mile to be sure that I got a few bottles.

26,000 is a lot of years
The water for this stuff just started pooling as the Ice Age began its slow retreat. Though there weren't really any dinosaurs, man was hunting Mammoth's and still trying to figure out how to make a good vodka.

The bottle doesn't *look* that old!??
The bottle's got an elegant, vodka-ish design. Nothing too surprising here. I do like how it fits in my hand though and makes it easy to pour. Clearly this bottle was made much more recently than the water inside it.

Let's taste it
26000 is lovingly crafted in small batches and bottled by hand. It comes in Crystalline (straight vodka) and Raspberry and Lemon Drop flavor as well as Lychee flavor. I tried all three.

The Raspberry and Lemon Drop variety was pretty much what I expected. It was fruity and tangy without being syrupy. God, I hate thick syrup flavored alcohols. The Lychee was very light and is definitely perfect for mixing some of your favorite drinks (Probably makes one of the best Cosmo's ever).

The Crystalline version is really where the heart of the vodka shows its stuff. It seems like anyone can make a vodka and cover up any imperfections with their flavored varieties, but making it straight and doing a good job is a much tougher thing.

This bottle is obviously made by someone who loves vodka. They're not going for the tasteless, colorless, odorless that is the definition of vodka. They're not even going for something that's so smooth as to go down like water. The vodka gives you a nice, round mouth feel and reminds you it's there with just a bit of a bite. The subtle taste makes it perfect for mixing your lightest cocktail concoctions.

Thundah from Down Undah!
26000 vodka was a hit in my martini and disappeared almost instantly at the party I took the three bottles to. In a world where vodkas are getting purchased elsewhere, then repackaged and marketed under a different name, 26000 comes in playing hardball with a product that is a home run from start to finish (I use baseball analogies to confuse the Kiwi's).

Triple-distilled grain and water so old that it probably saw some of the last Neanderthals make for a great vodka. Expect it to launch here in the U.S. sometime in March.

26000 Vodka