Belvedere (Pol) VS. Sobieski (Pol) Rye Vodkas

Belvedere (Zyrardow, Poland) VS. Sobieski (Gdanski, Poland)

Winner: Belvedere (smoother, more complex, more refined)

1) Belvedere, 40% ABV

On the back of the bottle:

“Warsaw, Poland. Since the fifteenth century, the world’s finest vodka has been crafted by Poland’s expert distillers. Belvedere, meaning ‘beautiful to see’, is the name of Poland’s Presidential Palace, and is a fitting title for perhaps the world’s smoothest vodka, made from 100% Polish rye and distilled four times. Created in the same tradition for over 500 years.”

  • 100% Dankowskie gold rye
  • 4x distilled
  • $50 @ BC Liquor Stores
  • Flavours: vanilla, white pepper, almond
  • My Rating as a vodka: B+ (revised Apr/2012)

Tasting notes (room temp, neat): pours crystal clear, thicker than water viscosity. Nose is super clean of any nasal alcohol burn with a welcoming light sweet tangerine peel, vanilla, and cream (two of which as advertised). Soft and creamy texture, notes of vanilla, with a peppery backdrop, 3/10-level sweetness, 7/10-level gentle warmth and 8/10-level smooth. Also detected some of the almond (also advertised). Great sippability and excellent transitions.

2) Sobieski, 40% ABV

  • 100% Dankowskie gold rye
  • distilled once (continuous distillation)
  • $25.50 @ BC Liquor Stores
  • Flavours: aggressive black pepper
  • My Rating as a vodka: B-

Tasting notes (room temp, neat): also pours crystal clear, and thicker than water viscosity. Stronger nose, traces of minerals, medium nasal tingliness, awakening of the senses. Much more aggressive pepperiness which floods all areas of the mouth, lots of numbness on the tongue, more alcohol burn gets through but it is quickly mitigated by the warmth. Overall it’s a bit more watery less smooth and flavourful as Belvedere. The aggressive nature of the spiciness inundates the palate – not a bad thing, but definitely not as complex as Belvedere. 5/10-level sharper sweetness, 8/10 flooding warmth, 6/10-level cleanliness smoothness, not-so-smooth transitions.

Final notes: tasting was done non-blind but at least I can say I was pre-sober. After about 1/2 shot each I am still confident that if presented both blind, I can discern which is which. So with that, if you don’t mind spending the extra $$$ go for Belvedere in the more delicate vodka-martini cocktails. If you’re drinking screwdrivers or vodka-7s the Sobieski will do just fine.