At least for this American, Luksusowa is a subtly but seriously maddening collection of vowels and consonants. It always tumbles inelegantly out of the mouth and never ceases to look wrong on the screen.
I'll state for the record that the rating doesn't account for the tongue twister or the fact that I eventually decided to copy-paste "Luksusowa" every time I needed to mention it in the review rather than write it out in full, since again, I would inevitably screw it up. Think I'm being dramatic? Open a new window right now and Google the name of the vodka we're talking about. I'll bet you choke on it, too.
Ribbing aside, I was very eager to try this. Luksusowa joins Chopin and Blue Ice in being one of only three potato vodkas that I'm aware of in wide distribution. Luksusowa brands itself with the tagline "Polish Luxury," which at least here in the US strikes me as something of an oxymoron. The bottle's only about thirteen bucks, so apparently your dollars go pretty far in sourcing the finest of what Poland has to offer.
Prior to my first pour, I was hoping of a repeat of what I liked about Belvedere, the much better-known Polish vodka. Specifically, I hoped Luksusowa wouldn't be afraid to throw in some actual flavors. Good news here: Luksusowa is a big vodka. The taste is generous with starch, probably due to the potato base, and here it comes across to me as rich sourdough bread in addition to some cooked yams. Right out of the freezer, it's initially soft, but that tangy, yeasty flavor comes bursting through with just a touch of sweetness on the development. Delicious, well-balanced stuff here.
The challenge is that Luksusowa becomes an altogether different beast as it begins to warm, and enjoying the vodka to its fullest is a race against time. By sip three, there's an unwelcome, grassy sort of sourness that begins to creep in. By the final remnants of the glass, the sweetness and softness begins to clash with raw alcohol and white pepper.
Simply put, Luksusowa works best ice cold, and the additional complexity that surfaces as it warms distracts where it should be enhancing. In mixed drinks, I found I could still detect that telltale sourness and ethanol "bite," so it's unlikely to displace stalwarts like Ketel One or St. George All Purpose. Shame.
All in all, Luksusowa is worth trying if you're willing to throw it in the freezer and sip it out of shot glasses. When it's playing to its strengths, it's delightful, but normally I don't have to work this hard with a lot of other vodkas to really appreciate what they have to offer.