"Oh, you haven't had vodka until you've had potato vodka," I've heard. "It has a totally different mouthfeel, and it's a lot more flavorful. And that's the way you're really supposed to make vodka." Etc. Etc.

When it comes to talking about vodka, I'm always reminded of the conversations I have with people about any kind of ethnic coffeeThey'll say something like, "Well, what you buy isn't bad, but if you had Turkish coffee, you wouldn't get anything else." Feel free to sub the word "Turkish" for Italian, Armenian, Sumatran, Javanese, French, Martian, Liliputian, Antediluvian, or whatever else. 

Even if Chopin has the distinction of being truly representative of a potato vodka, it’s still a mediocre experience.

So just like every person from somewhere feels like their homeland has a monopoly on good coffee, so too will every vodka producer tell you that they've figured out the precise distillation base needed to bowl you over and make vodka as it really should be. So for Chopin, a French vodka, they're going to dig a series of foxholes on Mount Potato and defend it from all pretenders.

Credit where credit is due: there are some differences. The Chopin arrives thick in the mouth and with a very bread-like sensation. Specifically, spongy bread like a McDonald's hamburger bun or the kind of roll you can mash into a dense little pearl with only the slightest bit of pressure. The kind of bread that doctors have been telling us is lacking in nearly any nutritive value. 

The issue is that the bready quality of Chopin—if it's truly representative of all potato vodkas—isn't enough to salvage a mediocre drinking experience in all other respects. There's some decent creaminess inherent in the taste, but there's a lack of refinement in the finish that puts it more firmly in the camp of bland vodkas like Skyy, Smirnoff, Svedka, or Sobieski. Vodkas like this aren't going to kill anybody, but they're not stunning, and I've never felt inspired enough to write about them. 

Until something changes my mind, it's going to be Reyka if I want a neutral vodka and St. George, Russian Standard Gold, or Belvedere if I'm actually in the mood to taste something.

Nose: The faintest insinuation of lemon and pine needles. A little granny smith apple.
Taste: Does arrive thick in the mouth. Sweet, slightly bread-like. Like wonderbread or a King's Hawaiian roll. Spongy. Bavarian cream.
Finish: Pretty ethanol-heavy on the swallow. Eventually mellows out into a pine-like, almost gin-esque sensation. After a while, still a little astringent, but not quite as bad. Tongue pepper as it warms.
Misc: 40% ABV, made onsite via copper pot column still. They use locally-grown potatoes now.
Price: $17
Overall Rating