There are many vodkas in the world. Some are good, many are mediocre, and some are spectacular. For the vodka connoisseur, it can be an endless pursuit to discover and taste all of them—though this is, admittedly, not a bad challenge to have.
"Luxury" Vodkas for the Average Drinker
Trying to define a "luxury" vodka is a matter of perspective. You will find numerous lists that explore beautiful bottles, many of which are so high priced that they're only attainable by the rich and famous. If the price defines luxury, then they fit the bill, but they're out of reach for the average consumer.
The reality is that for most drinkers, luxury vodkas are going to be the top-shelf brands that cost somewhere around $50. These are not your every day "well" vodkas or the giants of the vodka world. Instead, they are the specialty vodkas that you'll want to mix into a vodka martini or enjoy over ice with a few good friends.
Let's look at 10 premium international vodkas that are definitely worth hunting down the next time you're seeking a super smooth drink.
01 of 10
Zyr Vodka is Russian vodka at its finest and it deserves to be tasted right alongside every other premium vodka in the world. It is distilled from fermented winter wheat and rye which is distilled five times. The distillate is married with quintuple-filtered water before four trips through the filter and three stages of taste testing.
It is all about the numbers (9 filtrations, 5 distillations, 3 tastings) with Zyr. This attention to quality pays off in the final product, offering a super smooth vodka that anyone can enjoy. Drink it straight or mix it up, it's good no matter how you take it.
02 of 10
A very fine English potato vodka, Chase is a leader in the premium vodka market. If you have yet to taste this one, be sure to add it to your list.
Chase runs a field-to-bottle operation. Considered a single-estate vodka, the distillery is on the same land in Herefordshire where the potatoes grow. The vodka is distilled in both copper pot and continuous column stills, resulting in a super clean spirit.
This brand also dabbles in the flavored vodkas, but in a more unusual way than most, with its marmalade, oak smoked, and rhubarb vodkas. The distillery is also home to Williams Gin and a line of fruit liqueurs (raspberry, elderflower, and blackcurrant).
03 of 10
Norway is not well-known for vodka on the international scene. However, if the country produces vodkas like Christiania more often, then everyone should take note.
Trondelag potatoes and arctic spring water are the keys to Christiania's clean, smooth taste. The six distillations and charcoal filters probably don't hurt either.
Christiania is simply a very fine vodka and it is perfect for cocktails or sipping straight.
04 of 10
Kazakhstan is another country that is not typically associated with vodka. That's why you may be surprised once you get a taste of the brilliant Snow Queen.
This is an organic wheat vodka that is distilled five times, then married with reverse osmosed water before filtering. The brand also offers The Enigma Edition, which includes the gentle bouquet of lavender, rose, and vanilla.
If you are looking for an organic vodka that is both top-shelf and tastes great on its own or in cocktails, give Snow Queen a try. Finding all of those elements in a single bottle is a rarity, so it is nice to have one that pulls it off with such perfection.Continue to 5 of 10 below.
05 of 10
It's common knowledge that Iceland has the cleanest water in the world. So, it's only natural that it's also home to one of the cleanest vodkas you'll find.
While other spirits are known to take advantage of the glacial Icelandic waters, Reyka is the only vodka that is truly Icelandic, produced at the country's only distillery. The vodka is distilled from a mix of barley and wheat and the entire operation is "green," powered solely by the island's geothermal heat.
This is an unbelievable vodka that is so clean, it's almost like drinking the water it's made from. Enjoy it on the rocks (with pristine ice, of course) or mix it into any cocktail. You will not regret having this bottle in your bar.
06 of 10
Poland is well-known for producing great vodka, so it's hard to choose just one. When it comes to elegance both inside and out, U'Luvka is the vodka that will grab your attention.
Wheat, rye, barley, and oats are the "noble" grains used to create this vodka. The combination results in a clean vodka with a wonderful balance of tastes, from sweet to spicy, and an underlying butter creaminess. Many people simply call this one delicious, which is not a word you hear often in the vodka world!
07 of 10
Produced in the Cognac region of France, it uses sustainably-sourced, fair trade quinoa from the Andes. This vodka is exceptionally smooth and clean with an oily aspect and a somewhat dry hint of sweetness. Like any premium vodka should, it does just as well on its own as it does in a cocktail.
The quality of the vodka follows through to Fair Ethical Wine & Spirits' other offerings. These include a couple of rums, a gin, and a line-up of impressive liqueurs, including coffee and chocolate, both of which are so useful in the bar.
08 of 10
The House of Suntory is famous for its Japanese whisky, but it has recently ventured into crafting white spirits. Alongside Roku Gin, Haku Vodka is a fabulous find that offers an entirely new experience for vodka drinkers. The name translates to "white," referencing its grain of choice and alluding to the clarity and brilliance of the spirit.
Haku is made entirely from Japanese white rice that is meticulously milled and polished. It is distilled in both pot and column stills and filtered through bamboo charcoal. The entire process is designed to retain the natural sweetness of the rice and it does so in spectacular fashion.
The quality you've come to expect from Suntory carries over into this ultra smooth vodka. It's intriguing, and to have a vodka that is subtly sweet is a real treat, no matter how you choose to enjoy it.Continue to 9 of 10 below.
09 of 10
The vodka is distilled five times from mauzac blanc and ugni blanc grapes. The last distillation runs through a custom copper pot still at Distillerie de Chevanceaux in the French countryside.
Cîroc also offers some very fine flavored vodkas. The amaretto vodka is most unique, and the coconut vodka is one of the best available in that flavor. The portfolio also includes apple, French vanilla, mango, peach, pineapple, and red berry. Try them in recipes like the pineapple mimosa and peach cobbler.
While Cîroc may be best known as Sean "P. Diddy" Combs' brand, the real genius behind the vodka is founder Jean-Sebastian Robiquet. Combs was brought on by Diageo to help with marketing (and it worked).
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Crystal Head is a bottle that will stand out on any liquor shelf it adorns. The skull shape may look like a novelty, but the spirit inside is a remarkable vodka.
The vodka is distilled from "peaches and cream corn" in Newfoundland. It's distilled four times before a seven-step filtration process. Three of those filtrations pass through Herkimer diamonds (doubly terminated quartz crystal and not the typical "diamonds").
The bottle was inspired by the mysterious 13 crystal heads of legend. It is the result of a collaboration between the brand's co-founders, actor Dan Aykroyd and fine artist John Alexander.