Arbikie Vodka – Aren’t all Vodka’s made from Potatoes?
Arbikie Distiller, Christian Perez talks about Arbikie Vodka, Scotland’s first from potatoes
A common misconception about Vodka is that people think they are all made from potatoes. Although historically most vodkas were made from potatoes the prevailing ingredient today is grain. There are two reasons for this, one, to make a good potato vodka is a complicated and expensive process and two, you get more ‘bang for your buck’ from using grain in terms of the volume of vodka produced.
Many argue that vodka has no aroma and taste and that there are no discerning differences between a vodka made of grain (wheat) and potato vodka. However, this is not true. Traditionally, grain vodka is distilled in such a way as to garner neutral characteristics making it a somewhat flavourless drink which can burn the back of your throat when you drink straight.
Potato vodka is inherently different as the potato varieties used in the vodka plus the different processing and distilling techniques used enhance the flavours and provide a different drinking experience for consumers.
Arbikie Vodka relies on the characteristics of the King Edwards, Cultra and Maris Piper potatoes. Arbikie Highland Estate has been growing potatoes on the farm since 1860 and it is these potatoes grown on the farm today that are used to make our vodka. Blending the three varieties together results in a creamy, smooth and delicious tasting vodka with a depth of taste not experienced when drinking a grain based vodka.
The Arbikie Vodka flavour profile comes from the cooking stage, developing creamy and toffee like characteristics. After fermentation we have a ‘potato wine’ like liquid we then triple distil the vodka before it travels through our forty-two-plate column, which removes the unwanted ingredients from the vodka. The final stage is a demethylizing column, which removes the methanol, and cleans the vodka making it safe for consumption.
Now, I should say that some of my favourite vodkas are grain based and they are by no means inferior vodkas to the ones made by potatoes. Consumers who have never tasted potato vodka always comment how smooth it is straight. A common misconception about potatoes is that they are cheap and basic ingredient, however it is the very fact that we use potatoes in our vodka that makes it a different drinking experience.
Arbikie Vodka on the nose has a resemblance of green apples, with subtle undertones of mushrooms; the palate has a characteristic tone of toffee and a medium body, which gives the perception of weight and creaminess. The finish is long and elastic.
Arbikie Vodka can be pair easily with seafood dishes, fresh fish goes well, but my favourite to pairing is with caviar with simple toasted bread and herbs. Keep the vodka in the freezer and serve with no ice and a lemon twist.