My Two Russian Friends

I’d like for you to meet Tobaritch and Hammer & Sickle, my two favorite Russians.

I am a firm believer in tastings, for yourself. We all wonder ‘is this one better than that one’? Sometimes it’s a variety of apples, sometimes a cheese, sometimes a wine, and often it’s a spirit. I say release your Bon Vivant and allow yourself to develop preferences! You don’t have to overspend or over indulge to give yourself this opportunity.

Here in Tucson we have a market called Total Wine and More. The interesting thing about this place is that they encourage their employees to try the products they sell, and to have opinions. So far they’ve been dead on! About six months ago I wanted to do a vodka tasting to compare potato vodka with that made from grain. Unfortunately I didn’t record or retain my results so I’ll have to repeat that tasting (poor me). But it was then that I discovered Hammer & Sickle, a moderately priced Russian vodka. I loved it, so smooth, so refined, so silky.

Then about a month ago, my opinion of vodka was to be challenged. I was having trouble finding the Hammer & Sickle. A helpful young man pointed it out and then said those words that meant I was in for a tasting ‘have you tried….’ Trust me, when you hear this at Total Wine and More you want to listen. He showed me his new favorite Russian vodka Tobaritch. It was even less expensive, I was skeptical but, OK, I’m daring so I’ll give it a try. The results have caused quite a dilemma around here.

Tobaritch is distilled from grain, Hammer & Sickle from wheat. Tobaritch has a 300 year history and can be traced back to Czarina Catherine II. You can read about the awards they’ve won (over 50) at www.tobaritch.com. Hammer and Sickle has also won several awards, you can get more of their story here www.hsvodka.com.

A tasting is supposed to establish a preference, a winner if you will. I find both the Tobaritch and the Hammer & Sickle to be incredibly smooth, refined and silky. They are both mouth-warming, but not mouth-burning, when sipped at room temperature straight out of the bottle. I just can’t choose one, which means this tasting was not successful.

If you’ve had these two Russian vodkas and you have a preference, please share your opinion. I’m sorry my tasting wasn’t more definitive. We have a guest writer stopping in later this week with a report on tequila… and trust me, his tasting has a clear winner!

Release YOUR Bon Vivant and Savor Your Life!

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