Kara Newman

Spirits Editor

Reviews spirits.

Kara Newman is the Spirits Editor for Wine Enthusiast Magazine, and author of Cocktails for a Crowd (coming in Spring 2013) and Spice & Ice: 60 tongue-tingling cocktails, both from Chronicle Books. An active member of the New York cocktail and mixology scene, she loves dive bars and speakeasies alike.

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96
points

Absolut Elyx

  1. $49

This vodka is simply clean, from the mildly sweet aroma to the crisp finish. The palate holds pleasant notes of marshmallow, grapefruit peel and chalk give way to a faint vanilla-citrus exit. Made from single-estate grain distilled in a 1921 copper column still, this is an ideal companion for pretty much anything served in a martini glass.

 — K.N.  (2/1/2015)
92
points

Russian Diamond Vodka

  1. $25

Made from a wheat and rye blend, this silky vodka is neutral overall, with a faint citrusy scent and mild sweetness on the palate. The spirit is filtered through a myriad of materials, including Siberian pine needles, fabric, and as befits the name, various precious metals and stones.

 — K.N.  (2/1/2015)
91
points

Voli Vodka

  • Best Buy
  1. $25

This vodka, made from French wheat, has a hint of anise in the aroma and a slightly sweet vanilla note on the palate, finishing brisk and citrusy. It feels light, almost airy, and will please vodka drinkers looking to sip or mix.

 — K.N.  (2/1/2015)
90
points

American Harvest

  • Best Buy
  1. $24

This organic vodka, made from winter wheat, veers into gin-like or flavored vodka territory, though the producer insists it is not a flavored vodka. Though it’s neutral on the nose, the flavor is relatively bold, suggesting melon, almond and vanilla.

 — K.N.  (2/1/2015)
90
points

Blat Vodka

  1. $39

The producers bill this as “advanced vodka,” distilled from non-GMO French wheat and claiming to be “the only vodka 100% free of impurities.” Overall, the spirit is neutral on the nose and palate, with a tinge of marshmallow sweetness and a crisp, perky finish.

 — K.N.  (2/1/2015)
90
points

Slovenia Vodka

  1. $38

This spirit was created by Chef Peter X. Kelly and his team to be “the culinary vodka” for pairings and making cocktails. Distilled from winter wheat, “with just a whisper” of Slovenian buckwheat (less than 1%), this vodka is generally neutral on the nose and palate, with touches of grapefruit peel and white pepper on the astringent finish. Serve well-chilled and…

 — K.N.  (2/1/2015)
90
points

Tigre Blanc Vodka

  1. $102

Made in the Cognac region of France and packaged in a particularly gaudy, gold tiger-striped bottle, this vodka has a bit of spicy tiger bite up front, mingling ginger and white pepper before fading into a mild, smooth finish.

 — K.N.  (2/1/2015)
89
points

Ultimat Vodka

  1. $40

Made from a blend of wheat, rye and potato, this vodka has a mild citrus peel note on the bright, zippy finish and a silky, slightly oily texture that coats the palate. Ideal for mixing into cocktails.

 — K.N.  (2/1/2015)
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