Super-premium brand Beluga Vodka has launched Noble Celebration, a limited edition bottle created to commemorate the 115th anniversary of the Mariinsk Distillery in Siberia, where the entire Beluga Vodka range is produced.
Contained within the Celebration bottle is Beluga Noble Vodka straight from the Mariinsk Distillery. Situated in the heart of Siberia 300 km from the nearest town, the Mariinsk Distillery is based in one of the most tranquil areas of Russia and uses industry-leading, cutting-edge equipment. Made with special malt spirit and the purest water from Siberian artesian wells, Beluga Noble Vodka combines sugar syrup, natural honey, oatmeal infusion, holy thistle and a touch of vanilla before undergoing a unique 30-day resting period, resulting in an exquisite velvety and luxurious taste.
Beluga Noble Celebration is currently available to purchase online atwww.thedrinkscellar.com and from Selfridges, priced at £49.99 (RRP).
As part of a European-wide initiative, super-premium brand, Beluga Vodka, is proud to announce the launch of Beluga Signature; an on-trade educational brand programme encompassing a roadshow and cocktail competition in nine major cities across the UK, France and Germany. Commencing in June, it is hoped that the multiple stage programme will build and strengthen the understanding of the Beluga Brand with the European bartender community, while pushing the boundaries of high-end mixology.
Open only to those that work in Beluga-stocked bars, the “Creative Competition Stage” launching in July will invite bartenders throughout the UK to create a 1920s-1930s Great Gatsby style Art Deco-inspired cocktail with a modern Beluga twist, suitable for high gastronomic black tie occasions. Entrants will then have 15 minutes to present their creations in front of a panel of judges at the Creative Stage Events in London (26th July), Manchester (2nd August) and Birmingham (3rd August).
In total, five entries will then be shortlisted and put through to the “Promotional Stage”, where participants will be required to promote their own creations in their bars from the 8th August – 8th October. The final winning cocktail will be judged on sales, creativity and visibility of the drink.
Following the Promotional Stage the panel of judges, will announce 1st, 2nd and 3rd places from each UK city in October. The 1st place winners will be announced in October and will be invited on an ‘all-expenses paid’ trip to Moscow in November. This will encompass an incredible Russian experience, visiting key Moscow attractions and prestige trade accounts, as well as taking part in the “Beluga Signature Grand Final” competition alongside the six other 1st place winners from the competitions running in parallel in France and Germany. The overall Beluga Signature winner will receive a monetary reward and an exclusive Beluga trophy.
UK Group Marketing Manager, Katie Warren, says: “The launch of the Beluga Signature programme is an incredibly exciting time for the brand in the UK. Not only will bartenders be able to show off their mixology skills, they will also be receiving excellent one-on-one training from a variety of our experts, including our brand ambassador team. We are really looking forward to the UK cocktail entries, and to see how they compare to those from our French and German entrants.”
For full assessment criteria, entry requirements and terms and conditions, please email UK brand ambassador, Zoran Peric (Zoran@realmix.co.uk).
It’s great to read this statement when looking into a brand for the first time. It evokes feelings of wonder as you ponder the craftsmanship that has been placed into creating the liquid. The question is though, does it actually define the brand? Or is it a loose term to gain some sense of credibility from the get-go? Beluga use such a statement, so lets dive in and see if it backs itself up.
Beluga was first created back in 2002, produced at the Mariinsky Distillery in Siberia. The distillery itself has been in operation since 1900 and is close to 300 metre deep Siberian artesian wells, a key component within Beluga (actually makes up 60% of the Beluga formula and is filtered three times).
A malt spirit is the base of the recipe, which isn’t widely used in vodka production due to its high-cost and and labor-intensive production. Another method rarely seen in vodka is maturation, but Beluga introduce this into their final stages, varying between one and three months depending on the grade.
But how does it fare? Well below, I give to you my tasting notes –
Beluga – 40%
On the nose, a thick, soft malt aroma comes through, which carries onto the palate, albeit a cleaner feel. Fresh, with hints of sugar and some slight herbal notes produce a long, powerful finish.
Quite a vodka here, and one that packs a good punch when drunk straight (although not the classic ‘vodka burn’ that many seem to describe when drinking vodka neat. Although if you’d rather see this as a good base cocktail, perhaps this could sway you –
Glass – Rocks
50 ml Beluga
40 ml White Porto
3 drops Angostura Bitters
Pour the Beluga, White Port and Angostura Bitters into a mixing glass and add ice. Stir and pour into a rocks glass filled with ice. Add a cocktail cherry to garnish.
Something a little different for sure, but I think Beluga works that well with their use of maturation and malt spirit. One for the drinks cabinet, and one you can safely say that it really is ‘made with pride’. I mean, to use such methods, such ingredients, such serving suggestions; it’s almost as if they wanted to make a cracking vodka!
Walsh Whiskey Distillery, which commissioned its new 650,000 case distillery at Royal Oak on 27 March, has announced significant developments for its super-premium Irish whiskeys in the key Russian and United States markets. In Russia, the company has agreed an exclusive contract with the Simple Group appointing them as the exclusive distributor of The Irishman super-premium Irish whiskey. In addition, one of the largest control states in America, the Pennsylvania Liquor Control Board has granted Walsh Whiskey’s Writers Tears a listing.
The Irishman – Russian Distributor: The appointment of the Simple Group to represent and distribute The Irishman is significant for Walsh Whiskey Distillery for two reasons. Russia, with a population of 143 million people, is one of the top five export markets globally for Irish whiskey and The Irishman is the leading independent Irish whiskey in Russia.
Founded in 1994 with 950 employees, head offices in Moscow and St Petersburg, the Simple Group has a network of 80 regional distributors (53) and representatives (27) serving over 1,500 on and off-trade points-of-sale across Russia. Simple also has its own retail chain of wine boutiques and bars in Moscow and Saint-Petersburg.
Writers Tears – Pennsylvania LCB Listing: 2016 is the first year that Writers Tears is being distributed in the United States of America and the granting of a listing in the control state of Pennsylvania is an important milestone for the super-premium pot still Irish whiskey. Pennsylvania is the sixth largest state in the United States with a population of 13 million people including cities such as Philadelphia and Pittsburgh. Established following Prohibition in 1933, the Pennsylvania Liquor Control Board generates sales of $2.34billion annually from its network of 603 Fine Wine & Good Spirits bricks and mortar stores as well as its online channel – http://www.FineWineAndGoodSpirits.com.
Writers Tears is currently available in selected states namely – New York, Minnesota, District of Columbia, Massachusetts and Pennsylvania.
Commenting on these milestones for The Irishman and Writers Tears in key markets, the Founder & Chief Executive of Walsh Whiskey Distillery, Bernard Walsh, said:
“It is very encouraging to be strengthening the reach of our brands in key markets like Russia and the United States, especially as our distillery is now in production and we gear for both strong production and sales growth in the years ahead.”
William Grant & Sons UK has announced that Russian Standard Vodka will be joining its premium spirits portfolio on 1st January 2016.
Russian Standard Vodka is part of Roust International which represents the William Grant & Sons portfolio in Poland/Central Europe. In the UK, William Grant & Sons UK has represented Roust’s Green Mark and Żubrówka for over two years, and the move represents a consolidation of the full Roust portfolio in the UK market.
This agreement is a continuation of the international alliance between two of the world’s leading spirits businesses.
Russian Standard Vodka is the number one premium vodka in Russia and has grown to a c1 million 9L case brand in the UK and a 12% share of the vodka market since its UK launch in 2007.
Chris Mason, Managing Director, William Grant & Sons UK, comments: “Roust is one of the world’s leading vodka producers and we look forward to continuing a successful partnership to achieve our ambitious goals. Russian Standard Vodka is an excellent fit within our existing premium portfolio, complementing our current brands.
“This partnership will ensure that William Grant & Sons UK has the strongest vodka portfolio offering with authentic brands that are differentiated within the category including: Russian Standard Vodka, Green Mark and Żubrówka.”
Vodka is the largest spirits category in the UK, where there are 12.2 million vodka drinkers and one in three sprits bought in the on or off trade is vodka.
Roust Chairman & Owner Roustam Tariko comments: “Roust is delighted to consolidate our vodka portfolio in the UK with William Grant & Sons UK; we look forward to the continued rapid growth of Russian Standard vodka and our wider vodka portfolio here in the UK under the stewardship of the William Grants & Sons UK team. We believe our powerful brands in conjunction with William Grant & Sons’ own strong portfolio of brands will deliver accelerated volume and market share growth in the UK.”
William Grant & Sons UK will be representing Russian Standard Vodka starting from the 1st January 2016.
With the super-premium vodka category in a current growth of 250%, family run distributor, Cellar Trends, and Beluga Vodka will be working together in a bid to build the brand within the UK. From 1st October, the company will take over all sales, distribution and marketing.
Vodka and caviar is a traditional Russian combination. Beluga fish itself is the symbol of luxury and prosperity. A species of the sturgeon family, beluga lives in deep crystal clear waters and represents purity of nature. Unlike any other vodka, Beluga Vodka undergoes an additional process of “resting” which helps to smoothen the vodka, improving the taste to give a soft, clean and well-balanced spirit. The portfolio is made up of four products including Beluga Vodka, Beluga Transatlantic Racing, Beluga Allure and Beluga Gold Line.
Part of the Synergy Group, Beluga Vodka was first distilled in 2002 and now takes its position as the flagship brand within the portfolio. Both the heritage of the brand and the unrivalled taste have seen Beluga Vodka establish itself as a symbol of luxury and success. Currently retailed through Selfridges and Fortnum & Mason’s and via a variety of on trade establishments, Cellar Trends will aim to capitalise upon this strong foundation. Beluga is delicious neat, with food or for bringing velvety softness to cocktails. Above all, it is best consumed with caviar.
Beluga Noble is the best-selling super-premium vodka in Russia, famed for its smooth and subtle taste.
Director of Sales and Marketing, Terry Barker, says, “Cellar Trends is proud to be appointed for this exciting and iconic range of super-premium vodkas, which is the brand leader of this category in Russia. As one of the leaders within this category, we believe that Beluga Vodka has a great future with us within the UK market.
2015 has been a busy year for us, with many new additions to our portfolio. This is a strategic move into the vodka category for Cellar Trends that will put us in good stead for our continued growth plans. We look forward to helping the brand achieve its potential in the UK.”
Vodka as a category is huge, and has been for many a decade now. There are many brands you rattle off when one talks about vodka; Smirnoff, Grey Goose, Belvedere and Russian Standard are present in many a list, and it’s the Russian liquid that this feature will concentrate on, looking at why it is seen as one of the well-known in its category, and some of the expressions that are sometimes easily looked over.
It begins with a gentleman named Roustam Tariko, a Russian born in Menzelinsk in Tatarstan back in 1962. In the 1980’s, he saw the potential for new businesses in Russia after the economic reforms and started the likes of a cleaning company and then the importing of Kinder Surprise and Ferrero Rocher chocolates (goods that were previously only available within hard currency stores closed to the average Russian). Tariko parlayed his success in selling Italian chocolates into an exclusive contract to import the Martini brand. Record sales of Martini enabled him to grow his company Roust Inc. into the leading importer of premium spirits in Russia. It’s here when he realised that Russia did not possess a domestically produced premium vodka brand, so in 1998, Tariko, through his Russian Standard Company, brought to market Russian Standard Vodka Original, the first genuinely Russian premium vodka.
Roustam Tariko also used the influence of Professor Dmitri Mendeleev, the inventor of the periodic table and alumni of the St. Petersburg State University. What was considered the standard for vodka making, Tariko invited some of the modern-day graduates to work at the Russian Standard Vodka distillery and impart their wisdom on the likes of the analysis of the natural water, to gas chromatography which measures the cleanliness of the vodka itself. Because of this, they are at the fore-front and developing new techniques in vodka chemistry, a unique business model that only Russian Standard apply.
So how is it all created?
Within their St Petersburg distillery, a proprietary distillation has been developed which means it retains the natural character of the spirit, yet filters out the impurities. The winter wheat spirit from the Russian Steppes passes through over 200 distillation stages, all controlled at every stage. It is then filtered through Russian birch charcoal filters and a Urals Mountains quartz crystal filtration process, as well as silver to further refine the vodka if creating the Platinum expression. The vodka then passes through a final and unique process called relaxation, where the liquid matures and the ingredients ‘marry’ each other to result in a perfect balance, smoothness and ‘final development of organoleptic properties’. The relaxation process is said to be critical to the final product as it is where the super molecular structure is built. The water used within the processes is pure glacial water from Lake Ladoga. Once bottled, every bottle is sealed with a Certificate of Origin – a guarantee issued by the Russian government that the vodka is 100% Russian.
So how do the four expressions fare? Well below, I give to you my tasting notes –
Russian Standard Original– 40%
Bold notes of the winter wheat come through on the nose, with a thick aroma of coarse earth placed nicely for the base. A sharp kick of wheat upon the palate, with a good dose of dry spice, vegetal and earthy notes coming through. A lively dryness forms near the spicy, long finish. Slight creamy notes comes through too.
Russian Standard Gold – 40%
Russian Standard Gold is inspired from an ancient Siberian vodka recipe made popular by Peter the Great and has extracts of Siberian Golden Root.
Soft ginseng on the nose with a subtle aroma of the wheat coming through. Very soft upon the palate, with a slight developing richness of the root bringing a bold finish. Natural sweetness is present, with a sugar beet style texture. A good lingering finish.
Russian Standard Platinum – 40%
Silver filtered for extra clarity. Clean on the nose with a slight soft sweetness and citrus element present. Very soft on the palate with the powdered citrus blending well with the smooth texture of the winter wheat. A slight kick of pepper near the lingering finish.
Imperia – 40%
Produced by the world’s most advanced distillation process (eight times) and layer-filtered through quartz crystal from the Ural Mountains, Imperia is allowed to rest in relaxation tanks for 72 hours before bottling.
Slight herbal notes on the nose surround the clean, thin scent of the spirit. A crisp start to the palate, with a creamy, thick texture developing with hints of citrus and herbal sweets. An aromatic hit near the finish that lingers perfectly.
Four very different styles of vodka here, with the Original perfect for one of these –
50 ml Russian Standard Original
150 ml Premium Ginger Beer (or Ale)
Fill a copper mug with ice cubes. Squeeze in half of one lime. Add 50 ml of Russian Standard Original and the Ginger beer to fill. Garnish with a wedge of lime.
Russian Standard hits the mark across the board, with a good entry-level and cocktail base with the Original, to the vodka sippers in Gold and Platinum, to the prestige Imperia. At least two should be in your drinks cabinet at home to really impress your friends and family, or visit your local bar and see what the bartenders are mixing up for you. This is a classic Russian vodka, which some would say is a classic vodka in its own right. Grab a taste and join in.
Vodka can be criminally underrated in this day and age. With so many countries now handing themselves the opportunity to fill the market with their own ‘unique’ creation, it’s hard to really stand out to the true and ultimately create a vodka worthy of quality.
Perhaps Imperial Collection can be one of them?
It’s alleged that in 1721, when Peter The Great was crowned Emperor of Russia, a one-of-a-kind vodka was created to celebrate, resulting in the Imperial Collection. Imperial Collection uses home-grown natural wheat that’s distilled and blended with water from Lake Ladoga, just below the Arctic Circle. There’s also a 12 stage filtration process, with a final ‘polish’ using golden membrane filters.
Four expressions are available overall, with three having the pleasure of being featured here –
Imperial Collection Golden Snow – 40%
Four times distilled with 24-carat gold decoration on the bottle and 23-carat gold leaf fakes within. Very clean on the nose, with a slight wheat aromas coming through. Very smooth upon the palate, with a slight spice kick creating a long, dry finish.
Imperial Collection Gold – 40%
Four times distilled. Clean, smooth with a soft wheat aroma and flavour creating a long finish.
Imperial Collection Czar’s Original– 40%
Four times distilled, eight times filtered and the official vodka of the 300th anniversary of Saint Petersburg in Russia. Soft wheat on the nose, with a rich, lively grain flavour on the palate that offers a lingering finish with a slight spice.
Great for sipping, but how about one of these?
The Royal Russian
60 ml Imperial Collection Gold
30 ml Simple Syrup
15 ml Fresh Lemon Juice
Muddle the sugar and strawberries together in a shaker. Add the vodka and lemon juice and shake well over ice Strain into a Martini glass and top with Champagne.
Imperial Collection hits the premium mark on the head. The stylish bottles, the marketing of royalty, it all fits the model. The lack of detail in production does nod itself to a simple brand, but that doesn’t take away the fact that they use Russian wheat, fresh water and a hefty filtration process. Give it a go for something a little different in the vodka category.
RUSSIAN STANDARD VODKA OFFERS SAINSBURY’S CUSTOMERS A FREE RUSSIAN MULE COPPER MUG WITH EVERY PURCHASE
OFFER AVAILABLE THROUGH PARTICIPATING SAINSBURY’S STORES. ONE MUG PER CUSTOMER PURCHASING A 70CL BOTTLE OF RUSSIAN STANDARD ORIGINAL
Launching today, Russian Standard Vodka will be offering customers the opportunity to claim a free Russian Mule copper mug when purchasing a 70cl bottle of Russian Standard Original*. The offer is available to customers of participating Sainsbury’s stores across the UK* and runs until 23 July 2013. More information on Russian Standard Vodka’s Sainsbury’s promotion is available on the official Russian Standard Facebook page.
Breaking the mould of traditional promotional products, Russian Standard Vodka’s copper mugs are heavy weight drinking vessels that feature a copper-plated exterior and stainless steel interior. This robust design and premium quality is synonymous with Russian Standard and means that customers’ Russian Mule cocktails stay colder for much longer. The mugs have become a highly sought after product amongst celebrities and socialites and are rarely made available to the general public on such a broad basis.
The Russian Standard copper mugs recently made the headlines when they featured at Sam and Isabella Branson’s wedding party, which was attended by UK and international friends and family. Russian Standard Vodka provided over 400 copper mugs as gifts to the party with not a single one being left behind.
* Offer is for one copper mug per purchase, while stocks last.
* Offer not available in Scotland
Every once in a while, you come across a brand that just shouts at you. A bottle, the history, the name. All factors the developers want you to see. There’s one that shouts all three though, its name is Legend of Kremlin.
A Russian vodka, that legend has it, is thought to be based on a 15th-century recipe created by a monk named Isidor who incidentally lived within the walls of the Chudov monastery in the Kremlin. It’s created using artesian well water, grain spirit and the only traditional copper vats in use in Russia. It’s also housed within authentic bottles, an ancient vodka carafe.
Legend of Kremlin is highly regarded in its homeland, and is supplied to the Kremlin, the Duma (Russian parliament) and various other government and federal agencies in Russia for official functions. It’s dedicated to the highest quality of production too, just two thousand bottles are approved each day.
So how does this highly regarded vodka fare? Well below, I give to you my tasting notes –
Legend of Kremlin – 40%
Smooth nose with hints of cream and vanilla blending well. Slight spice on the tip of the tongue but mellows quickly. Slightly sweet with the spice dominating the long ending.
Not a bad tipple at all, but mixed with some ingredients, I think it will only get better –
40 ml Legend Of Kremlin
12.5 ml Triple Sec
20 ml Lime Juice
12.5 ml Simple Syrup
20 ml Pomegranate Purée
20 ml Passion Fruit Purée
In a mixing glass, combine all ingredients over ice. Shake, and strain into a low tumbler over ice. Garnish with lime wheel.
Legend of Kremlin have been creating many a wave since there launch in 2004, and have been rewarded with no fewer than eighteen top awards in domestic and international spirits competitions.