Purity vodkas have won numerous awards, including ‘Best Vodka of the Year’, so just how good are they?
When people offer to send me spirit samples, they naturally tell me how good their product is and why I ought to try it. It’s best to take this with a pinch of salt as everyone should think their product is good, otherwise why put all that effort and money into producing it?
In any case, sometimes the stories sound like hype, and the ultimate test is always the taste of what’s in the bottle. It’s not the bottle itself, though I appreciate a good bottle, and it’s not in how many times it’s been distilled, so I was a bit wary of Purity wanting to send me a bottle of vodka distilled 34 times, and one distilled 51 times. They invited me not only to compare them to each other, but to do a comparison tasting with other brand-name vodkas, and see what I thought. A bold challenge!
Purity’s vodkas are among the few in the world that are Certified Organic. Other vodkas can claim to be organic, but it involves a lot of paperwork and money to get the official organic certification, and some distilleries simply don’t bother. It obviously matters to Purity, though.
This is what Purity has to say:
Our distinct recipe relies on organic winter wheat and malted barley, combined to create a spirit rich in flavor, complexity and smoothness. The winter wheat is clean, crisp and elegant; while the barley adds texture and body to every mouthful. When these key ingredients are slowly blended, over low heat, together with mineral-rich water taken from the source, magic begins to happen. With respect for the environment and our choice of pure, organic ingredients Purity Vodka is a truly an elevated spirit in its class.
Purity Swedish Vodkas
Well, I was intrigued, to say the least. This was passion and confidence in their vodkas. When the two bottles arrived, I was impressed by them. They’re solid, chunky, dimpled bottles, and my first thought was that when they were empty you could steam off the label and do something creative with them, like turning them into a lamp or filling them with something colourful and putting them on display.
Before you can do that, of course, you have to empty them. I saved Purity’s comparison challenge till later, first trying their 34x version on its own. The distillery had also said that with really good vodkas you can drink them at room temperature, with no need to put them in the fridge or freezer first.
So that’s just what I did. On the nose this Purity vodka had a straw and herbal note. A little later some citrus came though. It did actually smell very pure, and I spent a full minute just nosing it, it was so intriguing.
Tasting Purity 34x Vodka
Then I tasted it, and things got even better. Even though it was warm (I live in Arizona) – 106 outside, 80 in the house with the AC on – this was superb. It was savory and it was a little sour, and I could still detect that straw, citrus, herb, and a hint of liquorice. Words like silky-smooth and luscious came to mind. I had another shot, with an ice-cube this time, and it was just as good. In fact I enjoyed it more, as it slowly watered down.
Even though it was warm… 106 outside, 80 in the house with the AC on – this was superb. It was savory and it was a little sour, and I could still detect that straw, citrus, herb, and a hint of liquorice. Words like silky-smooth and luscious came to mind. I had another shot, with an ice-cube this time, and it was just as good. In fact I enjoyed it more, as it slowly watered down.
A few nights later, I did try Purity’s challenge of a comparison tasting with some top-shelf vodkas, which I won’t name, and while they were all good, as you’d expect, Purity certainly held its own.
Tasting Purity 51x Vodka
The number of distillations you give to a spirit is a complicated business. I’m no expert, as I’m not a distiller, but many distillers have said to me that after a certain number of distillations, you won’t improve the taste of a vodka. The number of distillations is often used as a marketing ploy, to try to impress buyers. In any case, most spirits are made using a continuous distillation process, so the liquid is constantly recycled. It isn’t just distilled once, or five times, or seven times. It depends how you count.
However, purity maintains that it does make a difference, and when I tried their Purity Vodka 51x, which had been distilled half as much again as the 34x, on the nose it seemed to have a more velvety aroma. Was it smoother on the palate, though? Actually, I didn’t think it was. To me it had a rougher taste. All the elements were there that were in the 34x, but I didn’t find it quite as pleasant. Bear in mind that we’re talking microscopic differences here, and everyone’s palate is different. You might prefer the taste of the 51x over the 34x.
The most amazing thing of all about these vodkas is not the wonderful taste, or the artsy bottles, or the number of times they’ve been distilled. It’s the price. I don’t usually check the price of something before I taste it, as it shouldn’t be one of the factors when it comes to the taste. If I know that a spirit costs $99 or £79 then I’m going to expect something special, and it might not meet or it might exceed expectations. Price obviously is a factor overall, but not in assessing the taste.
The Price of Purity
This is what knocked me out. Having tasted these two Purity vodkas, and decided they definitely belonged on the top shelf along with the usual suspects, I checked the price for the USA. I’d been guessing it would cost $35-$45 a bottle, allowing for the fancy bottle too, but couldn’t believe the price tag of $24.99 for a 750ml bottle. There’s also a 1.5 litre bottle too, which makes it slightly cheaper at $49.99.
To find where you can buy Purity Vodka near you, check the Purity Distillery website.
And if it isn’t available near you then you can order it from Master of Malt, with international delivery options.