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Bear Force Vodka

Bear Force Vodka


By Robert Plotkin

You don't need to be a spirits aficionado to know that the world's finest vodkas are produced in Russia. It's a part of their culture and heritage. That the country is virtually synonymous with vodka is no happy accident. Distillers have ready access to pristine spring waters and high-grade rye and winter wheat. Perhaps more important is their accrued knowledge of how to take those raw ingredients and turn them into a silky smooth, character-laden spirit. To experience firsthand how marvelous Russian vodka can be, hunt down a bottle of Bear Force Vodka. Even sipped neat at room temperature, it is best described as elegant and luxurious.

Bear Force is made at the state of the art Bryanskspirtprom distillery in Bryansk, a city located about 200 miles southwest of Moscow. The vodka is crafted according to a recipe dating back to the late-18th century using premium, GMO-free rye and winter wheat and deep artesian well water. After distillation, the vodka is rested for 30 days to allow the constituent elements to become fully integrated. The vodka is then rigorously filtered through charcoal to essential purity. It is bottled at 40% alcohol (80 proof).

Bear Force debuted in 2011, the same year it was awarded a coveted gold medal from "Best Vodka of the Year," a prestigious competition dedicated to evaluating the finest vodkas produced in Russia, Belarus and Ukraine. A moment alone with Bear Force will confirm the competition got it right.

The vodka has crystalline clarity, a velvety smooth, medium-weight body and a slightly spicy, slightly sweet, grainy nose. Vodka enthusiasts will be enthralled by the depth and enticing nature of its aromatics. The vodka raises scant traces of heat as it engages the palate and rapidly fills the mouth with the flavors of baking spices—most notably cinnamon—and hints of zesty citrus and freshly baked bread. The finish is impressively long and spicy warm.

Bear Force is a bonafide masterpiece, a classically structured Russian brimming with style and appeal. While an inspired choice for use in vodka-based cocktails, a spirit this sophisticated should be first savored neat or with a slight chill. You'll be glad you did.