TheFiftyBest.com has awarded Michigan-made Valentine Vodka with a Double-Gold during its 2011 “Best Domestic Vodka” tasting, held recently at Beacon Restaurant & Bar in New York City.
Twenty-eight journalists, retailers and aficionados tasted 28 small-batch, handcrafted American vodkas. The products were served "blindly", without distractions of brand names. The order of service was randomly selected through a lottery system. Each of the vodkas were poured into fresh glasses from new sealed bottles, and served at slightly above room temperature. There were four flights of seven vodkas each.
The scoring was done on a 5-point system, with 5 as the best. The totals were added up, with the winners determined from 1 to 28, based on the scores received. Ties are listed alphabetically. Gold, Silver and Bronze medals were awarded based on the scores received.
The vodkas that scored over a designated point threshold – including Valentine Vodka – were awarded Double-Gold medals. The tasting notes that follow the rankings are a summary of the results, and all replicate commentary has been eliminated while contrasting opinions have been summarized.
As one of the first distilleries in the world to use a triple-grain recipe – a unique blend of barley, red Michigan wheat and corn, Valentine Vodka displays “vanilla, nutmeg, butterscotch, honey, toffee, creamy, buttery, grain, mineral, smooth, velvety, delicate, dry, nice, clean, peppermint, mellow, light sweet finish,” according to the judges.
According to TheFiftyBest.com, there are eight states that boast five or more craft vodka distilleries – including Michigan (as well as California, Colorado, New York, Oregon, Texas, Washington and Wisconsin), with a recent resurgence.
“Much like craft brewers and vintners, the highly entrepreneurial master distillers proudly use local grains (or potatoes, corn, grapes, honey, apples) and water to produce their small batch craft vodkas,” it reads on the website. “These ‘homegrown’ ingredients impart distinctive character and flavors to the finished products. This local craft approach has proven successful. Even though most of the domestic vodka brands are available only within the state they are produced, they usually sell out their entire production— ensuring future expansion for the enjoyment of vodka lovers everywhere.”
TheFiftyBest.com is a guide to fine living, featuring unbiased reviews of restaurants, food, wine & spirits, travel, and more. Or simply, a good taste guide to things that taste good.
As Detroit’s first micro distilled spirit since Prohibition, the award-winning Valentine Vodka is well on its way to setting the standard for ultra-premium hand-crafted vodka with its clean, crisp and uniquely flavorful taste.
Last year, Valentine Vodka was awarded a Gold medal ranking during the Beverage Tasting Institute (BTI) 2010 International Review of Spirits Competition – the largest and most prestigious annual spirits competition in the United States. The BTI gave Valentine Vodka a rating of 90 in the “Unflavored Vodka” category.
Rifino Valentine – the man behind Valentine Vodka – is a native of Leelanau County. A graduate of Cornell University, where he earned a BA in Economics, Rifino spent 11 years on Wall Street as an independent trader before founding his own successful trading firm. He returned to his home state in 2005 to fulfill his dream of creating Valentine Vodka.
Through his hand-crafted products, Rifino hopes to draw on the inspiration and history that the City of Detroit brings when it comes to distilled spirits, as he develops and grows Valentine Vodka. After three years of intense research and study, Valentine Vodka reached the market in March, 2009. From Christmas 2009 to the same time 2010, sales for Valentine Vodka has quadrupled in sales and can now be found in more than 900 outlets throughout Michigan and Illinois.
For a list of retail outlets carrying Valentine Vodka, as well as a menu of signature cocktails, log onto www.valentinevodka.com (www.facebook.com/valentinevodka).