I Spirit Vodka
40% Alcohol (80 Proof)
Can somebody tell me why Italians are so good at making everything?! Ferraris. Lamborghinis. Wine. Clothing. Art. And most importantly, FOOD! Is there anything they cannot do well? Apparently not. Now the Italians are making vodka.
I Spirit is an Italian vodka that is made from Friulian grapes and grain. They distill it five times, bring it to bottling proof from water from the Italian Dolomite mountains, then chill filter it. This is a collaborative effort between Arrigo Cipriani of Harry's Bar, Lapo Elkann of Fiat, and Italian distillers Marco Fantinel and Francesco Cosulich. With all the big names involved you would expect something spectacular... and it is.
Vodka is an interesting kind of spirit. The cheap stuff is harsh and has a lot of rubbing alcohol notes and some very off flavors. You go up in quality a bit and the middle shelf vodka is all about smoothness and getting the spirit to a near flavorless, invisible state. But then, you get to the top shelf vodka... and flavor reappears. All of a sudden you can taste the grains, wheat, potatoes, or in this case, grapes. Gone are the harsh, nasty flavors of the bottom shelf booze, yet the smoothness of the middle shelf vodkas is still there along with actual vodka flavor. I think a lot of people don't understand the array of vodka quality and flavors, and assume the goal is to taste like nothing. The truth couldn't be further away... at least for high quality, top shelf vodka. I Spirit is one such vodka.
I Spirit Vodka smells refreshing and clean, yet with a subtle sweetness likely from the wine grapes. This background sweetness carries over into the taste where it lingers on the palette amid an interesting mix of crisp, mineral notes, and a vague sense of perhaps melon, almonds, and a faint touch of spice in the velvety finish. This is about as dynamic as true vodka gets.
In efforts to maintain consistency between my vodka reviews I had this at room temperature neat, on the rocks, and in a White Russian. It was wonderful in all of the above, although using such a high-quality vodka in a White Russian made me feel a bit sinful. But boy, was it tasty.
I Spirit says this is,
"the essence of culture, taste and Italian flavors from yesterday and today."
Drink This: if you want a top-shelf vodka with a smooth, distinct flavor.
Don't Drink This: as shots. Seriously, just don't do it.
That reminds me of a friend I have who had never tasted an Islay Scotch before. After some discussion, I poured him a dram of Laphroaig 15 in a Glencairn glass, handed it to him, and what do you know? He takes it as a shot in one giant swig and says, "Wow, that tastes like Bacardi 151." I just about freaked out. Not cool. Not cool at all.
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