You’d be forgiven for thinking that flavoured vodka is a recent invention – a natural progression on the more neutral style that people know. But in fact, the history of flavoured vodka stretches back more than 500 years.
In the early days, a hotchpotch of flavours would have been added to mask the questionable quality of the vodka, but fast forward to the present day and there is a huge diversity of innovative flavours taking the base spirit in all manner of directions, whether it’s fruity and floral, rich and spicy or something else entirely.
But it’s only in the past 20 years that flavoured vodkas have really come of age. Back in the 1980s, plain vodkas were in vogue, for cocktails such as the Cosmopolitian, Bloody Mary or Moscow Mule. Flavoured vodkas then slowly began to take hold, firstly with the fruit-led versions from Swedish distiller Absolut, then via a host of newcomers offering all manner of weird and wonderful bottlings.
This year’s IWSC saw a strong array of flavoured vodkas covering a huge range of styles. Ogilvy Spirits’ Cask Aged Vodka was a hit with the judges, scoring 98/100pts, and delivering a sumptuous mix of toasty oak, cooked peaches, pineapple and hints of Morello cherry and cinder toffee.
Pure Milk Vodka’s Black Cow Christmas Spirit (95/100pts) offers a festive take on vodka with a complex nose of Christmas pudding, prunes, nutmeg and cinnamon, while Mediterranean Citrus Spritz Vodka (90/100pts) from Purity Distillery shows off flavoured vodka’s zesty side with bright orange aromas, and notes of grapefruit, vanilla and white pepper.
After something a little more leftfield? Then Lignell & Piispanen Gustav Dill Vodka (92/100pts) could be the answer. Packed with aromatic dill, artichoke and pepper notes and a touch of star anise, it would be just the thing served alongside smoked salmon.
Every flavoured vodka at this year’s IWSC was tasted blind by an expert panel comprising some of the best palates around, including Harvey Nichols assistant buyer Bryan Rodriguez, Sacred Spirits distiller Siobhan Feeley and Connaught sommelier Lucas Reynaud-Paligot.
Flavoured vodkas offer a new world of tastes and aromas, with a host of exciting flavour combinations. We’re delighted to present the best flavoured vodkas as tasted in this year’s IWSC.
12 award-winning flavoured vodkas from the IWSC 2021
- Ogilvy Spirits, Cask Aged Vodka
- Gattertop Drinks Co, Botanic No 7
- Pure Milk Vodka, Black Cow Christmas Spirit
- Isle of Wight Distillery, Mermaid Vodka
- Roust, Zubrówka Bison Grass Vodka
- Twenty Third Street Distillery, Riverland Rose Vodka
- Lignell & Piispanen, Gustav Dill Vodka
- Halewood Artisanal Spirits, J.J. Whitley Peach & Apricot Russian Vodka
- Purity Distillery, Mediterranean Citrus Spritz Vodka
- Wessex Distillery, Chocolate Vodka
- Aldi, Iskäll Vodka By Tamova – Raspberry Flavour
- The Glory Mornin’ Company GmbH, Glory Mornin’ Super Vodka
How do we judge these spirits?
We run a tightly structured, rigorous spirits tasting process. That means that each spirit sample is pre-poured into numbered glasses and assessed blindly by the judges. Most importantly, our IWSC spirit judges are experts in their field, who work across all sectors of the drinks industry. For evidence, see our full list of judges.
How do we score these spirits?
Only the best spirits sampled receive a Gold or Silver award. For example, to win Gold, spirits have to score between 95 and 100 points. Meanwhile, Silver wines range from 90 to 94 points. Click here to read more on our scoring system.
More from Club Oenologique
Club O is an exclusive community and the go-to platform for wine and spirit lovers. Our flagship Club Oenologique magazine offers even more insights for enthusiasts and collectors. Based in London, our editorial team tells informative, inspirational stories from the world of wine and spirits, gastronomy and travel, as well as covering recommendations and the latest trends in drink. You can take a look at our Explained series, for instance, where we’re tackling grape varieties, regions and styles of wine and spirits. Alternatively, visit our Ask the Sommelier section, where experts answer your wine-related questions.
Top Rated Bottles
Ogilvy Spirits, Cask Aged Vodka
Gattertop Drinks Co, Botanic No 7
Pure Milk Vodka, Black Cow Christmas Spirit
Isle of Wight Distillery, Mermaid Vodka
Roust, Zubrówka Bison Grass Vodka
Twenty Third Street Distillery, Riverland Rose Vodka
Lignell & Piispanen, Gustav Dill Vodka
Halewood Artisanal Spirits, J.J. Whitley Peach & Apricot Russian Vodka
Purity Distillery, Mediterranean Citrus Spritz Vodka
Wessex Distillery, Chocolate Vodka
Aldi, Iskäll Vodka By Tamova – Raspberry Flavour
The Glory Mornin' Company GmbH, Glory Mornin’ Super Vodka
Spirits Handpicked by IWSC
Award-winning vodka from around the world
The radical new wave of low and no drinks
Spirits Handpicked by IWSC
10 award-winning liqueurs to try right now
The best spirits in the world
Get access to all our back issues via our free digital archive – and enjoy the best rate on a magazine subscription