where’s the oak?
This is a review of Dębowa Polska vodka from Poland. I sampled it in Germany in 2014. It’s a clear infusion with a strip of wood in it, it’s 40% alcohol, and I didn’t think it tasted like wood at all.
The name Dębowa Polska vodka (I guess you could also write it as Debowa Polska) suggests that this vodka comes from Poland. And it does. But this is not just any vodka. It claims to be an “oak vodka”. Whatever that is.
I went to debowa.pl to find out a bit more. The website looked alright:
There was some company lore about how the brothers Jerzy and Leszek Markiewiczwas had founded it in the 1980s and started making Dębowa Polska vodka in 2001. There was a lot of talk about wood, particularly about oak wood.
And I found out that they had started offering a bunch of differently flavored editions of their vodka. So which one had I? I couldn’t tell, because my bottle looked different from the ones on the site.
a piece of wood
I didn’t get my bottle of Dębowa Polska vodka in Poland, but at a German grocery store. When I picked it up I noticed that there was a piece of wood shaving in it, reminding me of the bison grass in Żubrówka or the wheat ear in Kłosówka.
I figured that this was supposed to illustrate the fact that this was an oak infusion.
Dębowa Polska vodka tastes normal
Okay, back to our review of Dębowa Polska vodka. Surprisingly, it didn’t smell like wood at all. It had a pretty ordinary vodka smell. Not pungent, not particularly refined. Just normal.
The same was true about the taste. It tasted a bit sweeter than a normal vodka, but other than that, it was just a bit rough. The aroma in the aftertaste was full and interesting, though. I wouldn’t say that it tasted like oak or even just wood, though. There was a certain sweetness in it that was quite pleasant.
I liked the minimalistic shape and the wooden cap of the bottle. But I thought the printed labels were just ugly. The pricing was okay – I got this for around 18€/700ml.
So all in all I’d say that Dębowa Polska vodka tasted a lot less like wood than I had been expecting. It was actually a bit sweet. Maybe this was because of the infusion? Maybe it was what wood actually tasted like?
One question I have is this: is there anything that goes particularly well with Dębowa Polska vodka in a mixed drink? What do folks in Poland usually have with it?