This is a review of Belvedere Intense vodka from Poland. I sampled it in Germany in 2013. It’s clear, 50% alcohol, and I thought the aftertaste was great.
Belvedere Intense. I guess you can think of this vodka as the mean sister of Belvedere.
What does “mean” mean? Well, with an alcohol content of 50%, Belvedere Intense stings a little bit more than the original, which is 80 proof (40%). There’s a reason why vodka usually contains about 35% to 42% alcohol. Less alcohol tends to be boring. More alcohol tends to sting.
about those 40%
Of course there’s an origin story for the 40%, which goes like this: back in the 19th century, Russian scientist Dmitri Mendeleev (Дмитрий Менделеев) came up with a standard for the production of vodka. He decided vodka should contain 40% alcohol. This was mainly because he figured it was most safe to consume at that level, and also because he thought it tasted best when it was not more and not less than 40% alcohol.
Apparently this legend isn’t true, though. It’s made up. But does that matter?
duty free stuff?
So I checked on belvederevodka.com, and there it says that this one is a “bolder version” of the regular Belvedere. It says that it has been double charcoal filtered, and that it won a trophy in 2019. It also says that it’s “The Traveler’s Exclusive”, though:
Did this mean that you could only buy Belvedere Intense vodka from duty-free shops? I looked it up on different retail websites and found it for sale in France and Germany. Not sure what “Traveler’s Exclusive” means then. [I sent an email to the company, maybe we’ll hear from them.]
Belvedere Intense vodka puts up a good show
So back to drinking: the Intense version of Belvedere is fun to try, and it isn’t bad at all. It just isn’t as smooth as the original. And how could it be with that much more alcohol? The aftertaste was still very good, though. Balmy and aromatic, a bit like breathing lakeside air in the morning.
I thought the black bottle design was not as classy as the original. It looked a bit cheesy to me. The price was as high as you’d expect (ca 40€/700ml).
what to do with this
All in all, I think there isn’t much you can do to make a 100 proof vodka taste good. The people at Belvedere certainly gave their best, and the result is pretty good. But I would always rather be drinking the regular stuff.
My suggestion is to use this in mixed drinks if you want them to be a bit more intense than usual.