“She’s my little whiskey girl …”
No, that song wasn’t written about me, but were I an actual celeb, maybe? Point is I am decidedly not a vodka person. I’ve said before that if you see me drinking a vodka soda, you know I’m trying to be drunk (that night) and skinny (in life, not that night, as soda bloats). But I was lucky enough to attend a Finlandia Taste Training—that’s TRAINING, not tasting, so it’s serious—and get a lil education on the clear alcohol.
The training/tasting was blind, and we nosed them before we ever drank them, which is interesting. Vodka even has legs that show different characteristics, like wine. Then we had to swirl the wine glasses the samples were in to “wake the vodka up.” Master Taster and Global Ambassador Marku Raittinen was hilarious and kept the education moving along nicely.
We tried three vodkas thinking they were all Finlandia varieties only to find out that they were Ketel One, Absolut, and Finlandia. Ketel, surprisingly, came across the sugariest and “cheapest”, while Absolut was more “robust”, while Finlandia most frequently described by the crowd as “soft” and the clear favorite. You have to respect a company so confident in its product that they’ll pit it blind against its competitors.
Five new things I learned about vodka:
- Finlandia vodka in the bottle is 60% water and 40% pure spirit.
- To taste the vodkas, we drank 50/50 mixtures of vodka and water, which allows the vodka flavors to open up, according to Marku.
- Vodka flavor changes based on the water it is combined with, which is why all Finlandia vodka is still made in Helsinki.
- Some vodkas will smell terrible but taste delicious.
- Whiskey before it is aged tastes like vodka.
We also tried flavored vodkas Absolut Ruby Red and Finlandia Grapefruit, and the latter was so smooth as to be easily sippable. Marku explained that they add the components of the fruit taste: fruit essence and sugar, as opposed to Ruby Red, which adds only fruit and no sugar. The result, unsurprisingly, is that drinkers prefered Finlandia.
Well, I’m sold. If you see me out at a bar with a vodka soda, you no longer can assume I’m trying to be drunk. I might just be sipping on some Finlandia.