Kök Böru


Kok Boru vodka

more Kyrgyz

This is a review of Kök Böru vodka from Kyrgyzstan. I sampled it in Kyrgyzstan in 2014. It’s clear, 40% alcohol, and I thought it was meh.

This one is called Kök Böru vodka (Көк Бөру). You could also transliterate it as Kok Boru, but the name has a specific Kyrgyz letter in it: the “ө”, which is usually transliterated as “ö”.


the game

Again my online search didn’t yield any results. Nothing. What was it with these Kyrgyz vodka brands being such phantoms on the internet?

I did, however, find out that the name Kök Böru referred to a traditional sport. It was called Buzkashi in Persian, and I had learned of it as Kokpar on my walk through Kazakhstan. It was a game akin to polo where the players would try to wrestle a goat cadaver from one another and place it in a goal.

There was even a Kyrgyz movie with the name Kök Böru:

more drinking with Hide

I found this bottle in a tiny shop in the village of Tamga on the shores of Issyk-kul, and I shared it with my Japanese friend Hide. He was the same guy who had previously finished the bottle of Kara Jorgo with me.

Those were days of quiet happiness. During the day I would go out and take photographs of the lake and the mountains. Hide would go running or play the flute. At night, we would get together in the guesthouse, share some food and some drinks, and listen to classical music.

Kök Böru vodka is bland

Let’s get back to our review of Kök Böru vodka, though: it was certainly not expensive – 150 Som for 500ml, making it less than 4€/700ml. So that was good. I thought the bottle design was tolerable at best.

The taste seemed okayish. It wasn’t overly rough, and I even thought I detected a hint of sweetness in it. But there wasn’t much in terms of an aroma in the aftertaste. It was just alcohol.


All in all Kök Böru vodka wasn’t exciting, and it was definitely not good enough to enjoy neat and at room temperature. The way to drink it was to chill it and have it in a mixed drink.

I liked those “ө” letters in its name, though.