header home Backbar Bar Station Recipe Database Month's Feature "Drink-o-pedia" Mixology Contact

Old Barrel Vodka

Old Barrel Vodka


By Robert Plotkin

Vodka sales in this country are growing at an unprecedented rate and now comprise more than a third of all distilled spirits sold. One explanation for its vodka's market dominance can be attributed to vodka makers embracing innovation. A steady stream of new and exciting vodkas spares us from having to drink the same old brand day in and day out. Innovation keeps the category fresh and consumers keenly interested in what's coming next. Few brands, if any, better embody the spirit of innovation than newcomer Old Barrel Vodka.

This classy French import more closely resembles a young alembic brandy than a white spirit. The grain vodka is five-times column distilled prior to being matured in French Limousin oak barrels used previously to age Cognac. The finished vodka is bottled at 40% alcohol (80 proof).

"During its stay in the French oak, the vodka develops a lustrous color, a brandy like set of aromas and a finish full of Cognac flavors," comments Irina Kogan, president of Aiko Importers, Inc. "Old Barrel Vodka is both excellent used in craft cocktails, or sipped chilled or over ice."

Regardless of how you taste Old Barrel Vodka, you're guaranteed to be legitimately impressed. There's nothing remotely like it on your backbar. The vodka has a reddish/amber hue, a satiny textured, medium-weight and an enticing bouquet of caramel, cinnamon, vanilla, roasted pecans and orange zest. The longer you let this thoroughbred breathe, the more aromatics come wafting to the forefront.

As attractive as the nose is, the palate is even better. The entry is spicy warm as it quickly expands filling the mouth with the flavors of allspice, black pepper, toffee, dark chocolate and toasted oak. The finish is long, slightly spicy and thoroughly delicious.

Mixologists are bound to have a field day with Old Barrel Vodka. There are scores of applications for a character-laden spirit such as this behind the bar. However, before you rush off and start making craft cocktails with the vodka, be sure to take a few minutes to savor it neat or with a slight chill. It's a captivating spirit with unlimited creative potential.

À Votre Santé!