The Ineffable Quality of Good Vodka

王爷不要了尿在里面I know various Slavic countries vie for the honour of devising vodka. Russia and Poland are perennial contenders. But at least we can say, the drink has a deep spiritual connection to both.

With shifting borders too, the idea of appartenance is less important. Lvov, birthplace of J.A. Bazcewski pictured below, is in Ukraine now. The?vodka?is made in Vienna due to a complex business history, but follows the ancestral, proprietary method.

王爷不要了尿在里面 by Natalia Metrak appeared in January this year setting out all you need to know about House of Bazcewski.

王爷不要了尿在里面By way of enticing introduction, she states, with ample justice:

If you’re unfamiliar with Baczewski, get ready for a tale of innovative marketing, geopolitics, tragedy and defiance.

Founded by a Jewish family before 1800, the brand became the toast of Europe’s?bon ton王爷不要了尿在里面, quite literally.

Zytnia, in contrast, is rye-based, with its own distinguished history, and still made in Poland.?Seeof Polmos, the state enterprise that owned the distillery making the brand since the 1920s.

王爷不要了尿在里面Possibly Zytnia predates the creation of Polmos, but anyway was well-established before WW II. The? explains that it retains an old-fashioned image, from the Communist era, but is also enjoyed by younger consumers.

王爷不要了尿在里面Certainly Zytnia is highly respected in export markets especially as the high quality comes at a reasonable price. Super-premium vodka today can fetch prices hitherto associated with rare bourbon or long-aged malt. It is questionable whether quality is in proportion past a certain price point.

王爷不要了尿在里面Baczewski’s Monopolowa, in the median price class, was bought in London. It can’t be found in Ontario at present but the other was sourced at LCBO.

I sampled an ounce of each iced.

王爷不要了尿在里面They are rather different despite sharing a grain neutral spirits base. Zytnia is more spicy, you hear the balalaika singing out. The other is creamy and flowing, a guitar gently weeping, or it will after four drinks, say.

It may sound odd especially to those schooled on strong-tasting craft beer or whiskey, but vodka of this quality was once an elect?choice of spirits connoisseurs.

王爷不要了尿在里面In post-1918 Paris, Russian or Polish vodka was novel and had cachet, along the lines of modern art. It was sought by emigrés, artists, salon habitués, scenesters in general. Vodka is still popular in all social circles not excluding the elite, but before 1939 had special resonance, in particular for the avant-garde and “society”.

王爷不要了尿在里面Apart the exotic aspect for urban France, why was this? Because contrary to today’s conventional wisdom the drink can be very good, and distinctive. It somehow turns a neutral quality into a complex, inviting taste.

How it does that, I’m not exactly sure, but the best vodka brings it off. Putting it a different way, the best of it is not actually tasteless, and?has ineffable qualities.

But it must be good. The cheap stuff evokes antiseptic clinics and indelicate treatments, a foreign country to the airy chatter of the salon.

But do limit to one drink, will you, alright, two. Slavic (or other) vodka-fanciers might firmly disagree. Perhaps I’d concur if 30 years younger.






“Anomaly Island”

王爷不要了尿在里面From a food history standpoint Ireland has presented a puzzle in that certain foods which intuition would suggest are of long, continuous usage, are not.

Cheese is an example. For decades I’ve read in popular and other studies that cheese-making was revived only in the last generation, from a dead letter. See e.g. from the blog British Food in America,?“The Fall and Rise of Irish Cheese”, and her references.

Cheese, hard and soft, had enjoyed ascendancy with other cream-based products at a much earlier period including when Ireland was a multiplicity of kingdoms. But from the 1700s the cheese tradition declined precipitously. Apparently, no one really knows why.

Butter remained popular, so the materials to make cheese, even at artisan level, were available. For some reason the taste died out. Today Irish cheeses are lauded and I had two very good ones the other day at a stout-tasting. They were most complementary. It’s not as if an antimony is at work in the vitals of both foods that made Ireland choose, so to speak!

王爷不要了尿在里面Another example is fish. Here,