Resolving an Age-old Argument – Which Vodka is the Best, Imported or Local?
Millions will attest to the virtues of this colourless distilled spirit but frequently disagree when asked which vodka is best. Is it local or imported? The mass production line revolutionised personal transportation with the launch of Henry Ford’s iconic Model T, eventually resulting in dozens of manufacturers adopting his strategy to churn out their new models every year. However, more discerning motorists often spend a lot more and wait a little longer for the superior quality and long-term durability of a personalised, hand-made luxury vehicle.
In practice, the same is true of vodka drinkers. Rather than settling for mass-produced imported brands, a growing number of people now prefer hand-made, small-batch vodka from local vodka producers where one is available. So, is their choice merely an attempt to project a more up-market image, or is there a genuine difference between the two products?
How Do Consumers Decide Which Vodka is the Best?
When drunk neat or on the rocks, most would agree that taste is perhaps not the most prominent feature of a basic vodka. Nevertheless, it mixes well with many flavoursome beverages like tomato juice or tonic water. It also forms the base of several popular cocktails, such as the Moscow Mule. The US Federal Government has defined vodka as “neutral spirits so distilled, or so treated after distillation with charcoal or other materials, as to be without distinctive character, aroma, taste or colour”.
In practice, this assertion is not entirely true. All vodkas display some degree of taste and aroma which tend to differ between brands and according to their country of origin and the vodka distillery concerned. Many drinkers favour imported brands because they tend to be more viscous, possibly due to a higher concentration of natural glycerine. The higher viscosity results in a mellowing effect, thus making them more palatable when taken straight or only with ice. Those subtle flavours result from the mix of ingredients from which the spirit is distilled. While mainstream distilleries generally source these according to price, local vodka producers prefer to focus more on quality, ensuring afresh and flavoursome hand-made small-batch vodka. Even the water used in its production makes a difference, as does the choice of grain.
Flavour is the Key to Determining Which Vodka is the Best
Vodka’s permitted alcohol content is 40% by volume or 80% proof. However, the pure distillate is closer to 100% and must be diluted with water to conform to international standards. Local water often has a distinctive taste making the finished product more or less appealing to consumers. The wheat, corn and potatoes from which a vodka distillery prepares its mash often vary by region, contributing to flavour, finish and consumer appeal.
Which Vodka is the Best? Why, Local, Of Course!
Rainfall Distillery is located in the heart of the Karri forest region of Western Australia, where we harvest the winter rain to ensure the purity of our distilled spirits. Our artisanal vodkas are flavoured with blends of various fruits, herbs and other botanicals, freshly gathered from the surrounding forest or local farmers, to create their unique flavour palates. The result is a distinctive range of premium local vodkas with flavours that will leave you longing for more. That’s no idle boast. Click here and check them out for yourself.