This is a review of Kalashnikov vodka from Russia. I sampled it in Russia in 2010. It’s 40% alcohol, and the taste could have been better.
Look at that name: Kalashnikov. Yes, it sounds just like the gun manufacturer that made the AK-47. This stuff is apparently from the same company. I’m not very interested in guns, but the bottle looked intriguing.
And so when I was watching my good friend Sergey open the bottle and pour the stuff into two shot glasses, I was excited: would it be smooth like the bottle design suggested? Or powerful like an assault rifle?
a serious brand or a gimmick?
First some background information, though: I managed to find an official Kalashnikov vodka website – though for some reason it was only for the Australian market. They seemed to have changed the bottle design a bit, and they were even offering a special bottle that was shaped like an AK. Apart from that, it all looked like a weird mix of gun fetish and bar culture:
It left me wondering why Kalashnikov vodka didn’t have an international brand presence. Weren’t they serious about their product?
Kalashnikov vodka isn’t bad
Let’s talk about the vodka, though. I liked the bottle design, and the price of about 20€ per 700ml seemed to suggest that this was going to be an upscale smooth vodka brand.
But the initial taste turned out to be a bit underwhelming. Kalashnikov vodka had a hot, fiery taste, as though they had wanted this to be a drink for manly men. Something that makes you stick out your tongue and gasp for air. The aftertaste was a bit better. It was faintly sweet and almost charming.
guns and tigers
Overall I think Kalashnikov vodka is okay for mixed drinks. It’s not great if you want to enjoy it neat, and it’s a bit overpriced. I guess you pay for the name as well. It seems like the perfect gift for someone who is into manly stuff, though: guns, bears, tigers, martial arts.
It’s for the macho in you.