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Vesica Vodka

Vesica Vodka


By Robert Plotkin

There has long been a debate about whether vodka originated in Poland or Russia. Proponents on each side contend that the famous spirit was born in their homeland in the early part of the 16th century. From an intellectual perspective, the matter will likely never be resolved to everyone's satisfaction. However, on a more human level, a few sips of Polish Vesica Vodka will assuredly tip the scales of public opinion in Poland's favor.

The brand is an achievement on several levels. Vesica is three-times column distilled entirely from premium grade potatoes in a complex continuous still designed to render the vodka essentially pure. The difficulty involved is that it's costlier and more complicated to convert the starch in potatoes into fermentable sugars than it is to convert those found in cereal grains—such as rye, wheat, corn, barley or oats. The vodka is triple-filtered through activated charcoal and diluted to 40% alcohol by volume (80 proof) before undergoing a state-of-the-art ceramic candle process to ensure optimum clarity.

The result is a luxurious gluten-free spirit brimming with character and distinctively delicious taste. Vesica has crystalline clarity, a satiny lightweight body and an engaging salty/semisweet bouquet with light herbal and grassy notes. Upon entry the vodka immediately fills the mouth with a delectably spicy, sweet palate before gradually tapering off into a warm lingering finish.

Equally remarkable is that this premium import is being sold at a value-laded price point. Polish potato vodka is a genuine treat. It's even more so when priced well below the market. Vesica makes a persuasive case as to the origins of the species.

So what's with the name? The vesica pisces is an ancient geometric shape with strong ties to math, science, culture and religion. The vesica is formed when two circles of equal radius intersect in such a way that the center of each circle lies on the circumference of each other. The shape can be seen in many aspects of everyday life. It seems most fitting that this well-grounded spirit be named for such a revered symbol. In fact, the bottle shapes are such that when the 750ml and 1-liter bottles are placed together they form a perfect vesica.

The firm's portfolio also includes Bak's Zubrówka Bison Grass Vodka, a traditional Polish vodka flavored with buffalo grass. For years this spectacular spirit was trapped behind the Iron Curtain and unavailable in America. The end of the Cold War changed all that.

Produced at the Polmos Poznan Distillery, the vodka is triple-distilled in column stills from potatoes and artesian well water. It is then infused with the essential oils of the buffalo grass and filtered through charcoal and oak chips before being bottled at 82 proof.

Bak's Bison Grass Vodka has a pale yellow hue, a lightweight body and a fresh bouquet of grassy and herbal aromas. The palate is loaded with spicy, sweet flavors and it has a spicy finish. Each bottle contains a long slender blade of buffalo grass, which is said to give one vitality and strength. Others say the grass has aphrodisiac properties. Whatever the motivation, the vodka is an experience not to be missed. Nazdaróvye!