There’s a couple of brands that I’ve seen plenty of, yet just never got around to tasting and experiencing. One such brand that eluded my taste buds had a rather prominent display for a year or two in retailers, then seemed to drop off the radar a little. Now though, It has been re-launched, securing a new UK distribution with Love Drinks (the guys behind El Dorado, Hayman’s and Gosling’s) and kicking off back in July. U’Luvka is hopefully here to stay.
So a little about the vodka.
U’Luvka hails from Poland and its history can be traced back to the 16th century, wherein the Polish Royal Court of Sigismund III, it is said that a famous alchemist was commissioned to develop ‘a vodka of the finest purity and the most exceptional quality to be enjoyed by the Royal Court’. Said alchemist, named Sendivogius, created U’Luvka in response. Over time, the recipe was deemed to be lost, until re-discovered within ancient records and ultimately, like all inquisitive master distillers, re-created. Elzbieta Goldyka uses a base of northern Polish rye (50%) and wheat (25%) and barley (25%) to create the liquid we can enjoy today.
The distillery itself is one of the oldest in Poland, based just outside Wroclaw. Combining the base cereals, the fermentation, distillation and rectification all happen on site, with the distillation through column stills. Polish water is added, and then the liquid is filtered twice. Once that batch is complete, it is blind tasted against three other batches and the master blend by a panel of experts including Elzbieta herself. One the right batch is approved, it is then sent for bottling.
It’s not just the liquid that grabs the attention though. The bottle is a stand-out compared to most, and was inspired by the ancient alchemical distillation vessels. The bottle is said to be a physical representation of the balance between male and female, with the rounded base representing ‘female’ and the elegant neck ‘male’. The logo which adorns each bottle is an alchemical sign that combines the glyphs for spirit, soul, man and woman. When added together, you find friendship.
So how does it fare? Well below, I give to you my tasting notes –
U’Luvka – 40%
Fresh on the nose with hints of soft nuts and rye. A rich palate with a developing subtle spice. Creamy texture with hints of butter and a lively, fresh cereal flavour. Long finish with a bitter spice finish.
A real cracker on its own, and goes well with one of these –
U’Luvka Pernelle Martini
45 ml U’Luvka Vodka
15 ml Pear Eau De Vie
30 ml The Bitter Truth Elderflower Liqueur
15 ml Fresh lemon juice
10 ml Gomme syrup
2 sprigs of rosemary
Bruise one sprig of rosemary gently in a mixing glass. Add all the other ingredients into the mixing glass and shake with cubed ice. Strain into a chilled Martini glass and garnish with the other rosemary sprig.
A rather stunning vodka, and comes with a flavour profile that surprises me. A good dose of a well-rounded experience shows that not all vodkas are ‘neutral’ when it comes to taste, and it’s not just the flashy bottle that sells. U’Luvka is different, and a welcome change to the vodka market. One for your drinks cabinet for sure, and the versatility it offers in how to serve makes this a must stock item for bars and restaurants too.