Price: $39.99/750 ml
Where It's Made: Southern Sweden
What It's Made From: Wheat, barley, and other proprietary ingredients; local well water
The Story/Marketing Angle: The unique product of years of careful, patient development and experimentation, Purity is a small-batch, artisan-made vodka created by Swedish chemical technical engineer Leif Nerhammar in cooperation with a company that builds handmade distillation equipment, Kothe Destillationstechnik. The vodka is distilled in a specially designed pot still made of copper and gold, which produces a spirit pure enough that it doesn't require subsequent filtration. Created in a 13th-Century castle in Southern Sweden, Purity is made with water drawn from the castle's own well. Its clear, irregularly faceted bottle is designed to look as though it's been hand-carved from a block of ice.
Tasting Notes: This vodka feels silky smooth from the very first sip. It has a soft, almost viscous feeling on the tongue, with no after-burn. Its flavor is clean and subtle - a little like spring water with a hint of mineral complexity.
Price: $8.99/750 ml
Where It's Made: Bialystock, Poland
What It's Made From: Rye; purified water
The Story/Marketing Angle: "Wódka" is simply the Polish word for vodka, and this brand takes a no-name, no-nonsense approach that somehow manages to come off as edgily stylish. The generic, retro label is modeled on that of an old 1920s Communist-era bottle from Polmos Bialystock distillery in Eastern Poland. The spirit is triple-filtered and is billed as "a premium vodka with a value price tag." ("Hamptons Quality, Newark Pricing" as it's been touted in a local NYC ad campaign.)
Tasting Notes: A little rougher around the edges, with a faintly dry, spicy rye flavor. A "hot" finish (that is, a noticeable after-burn).
So, Which One to Choose?
These two brands occupy two very different niches. They come in at opposite ends of the price spectrum, with the Purity positioned a few dollars above notable super-premiums such as Grey Goose and Ciroc, and Wódka set at the low end of the bargain range, priced a few dollars below Svedka and Sobieski.
Given a choice between these two new brands, I'd probably reach for the Purity vodka if I wanted to sip something neat or mix myself something that really showcases the refined nature of the spirit - like a Vodka Martini. But on the other hand, I'd choose the Wódka for a reasonably priced mixer to keep on hand for favorites like Bloody Marys, Moscow Mules, and more. If you've got space in your liquor cabinet or freezer, it's definitely worth keeping a bottle of each around.
What do you look for in a vodka?
Related: Spotlight on Gin: Some New Favorites
Apartment Therapy Media makes every effort to test and review products fairly and transparently. The views expressed in this review are the personal views of the reviewer and this particular product review was not sponsored or paid for in any way by the manufacturer or an agent working on their behalf. However, the manufacturers did give us product for testing and review purposes.
Nora Maynard is a longtime home mixologist and an occasional instructor at NYC’s Astor Center. She is a contributor to The Business of Food: Encyclopedia of the Food and Drink Industries and is the recipient of the American Egg Board Fellowship in culinary writing at the Writers’ Colony at Dairy Hollow. She previously covered food and drink in film at The Kitchn in her weekly column, The Celluloid Pantry.
(Images: Nora Maynard)