Kyrgyz top shelf
This is a review of Kyrgyz Aragy vodka from Kyrgyzstan. I sampled it in Kyrgyzstan in 2014. It’s clear, 40% alcohol, produced by Ayu, and I thought it was the bomb.
Here we have Kyrgyz Aragy vodka (водка Кыргыз Арагы). This is the first upper segment vodka that I’ve tried in the beautiful country of Kyrgyzstan.
when the copycat gets copied
Remember how Ayu got in trouble for copying other people’s designs with their Ozon and Vivat brands? Well, as it turns out they also produce Kyrgyz Aragy vodka. And, according to their brochure, they are still producing it.
And it’s not a copycat, quite on the contrary: according to an article on Kaktus, Ayu has been complaining about a distiller called Kristall copying their name and design. Which is funny because Kristall is connected to Kyrgyz Cognac, which, according to another article on Kaktus, has complained about being ripped off by Ayu.
I don’t know the final outcome in this battle of the distillers. One thing that makes the case of Kyrgyz Aragy vodka complicated is the fact that, for a long time, the Kyrgyz state didn’t allow the trademarking of any phrase containing the word “Kyrgyz”.
Either way Kyrgyz Aragy vodka is still being produced, and I even managed to find a slick ad for it on YouTube.
[edited on April 3rd 2022]
a drinking night
Anyway, back to our review. It was part of a night of drinking in the Jeti Oguz valley on the shores of Issy-kul. I had planned for it to be a sort of “one-bottle-evening”, and an exquisite brand like Kyrgyz Aragy vodka seemed just right for that purpose.
So I sat down with a German couple I had met somewhere on the road. We got some food. We got some shot glasses. And we poured some vodka. Then some other people joined in. More vodka appeared. And everything went downhill from there.
Kyrgyz Aragy vodka is the bomb
About Kyrgyz Aragy vodka, though: this stuff tasted very, very good. It was a bit sweet and very mild, and it went down almost as softly as spring water. The aftertaste had an aromatic richness that I really liked, something reminding me of caramel. Awesome stuff.
Like I’ve said before, Kyrgyz Aragy vodka is a Kyrgyz top shelf brand. Does that mean it’s expensive, though? No. I paid around 300 Som for 700ml (about 4€). Oh, and I liked the bottle design.
the morning after
When I woke up the next morning, the baseball cap I had been wearing during the night was gone. I found it outside hanging from a fence. It was torn in the middle. Apparently some dogs had been playing with it.
I put the broken cap on my skull. It didn’t fit anymore, but that didn’t matter. The inside of my head felt as if my brain was wrapped in cotton. Then I noticed something in the back pocket of my pants: there was a little piece of paper. I unfolded it and found my review notes on Kyrgyz Aragy vodka.