the name means hotness

This is a review of Qalampir vodka from Uzbekistan. I sampled it in Uzbekistan in 2017. It’s a clear infusion, 40% alcohol, and it tastes like fire.

So this site just got another new category: Uzbek vodka! This might sound exotic if you’re not from Uzbekistan. Or in Uzbekistan. Or in any of the neighboring countries. Otherwise it just sounds normal. But anyway, I’m very happy to be able to add this category to the site.

am I doing it wrong?

This was one of the rare times when I found absolutely nothing about a vodka online. No website, no social media, no news article, no mention, nothing. Qalampir vodka didn’t seem to exist, or to have ever existed.

I found out one thing, though, while googling the thing: qalampir meant “pepper” in Uzbek.

[online search from April 15th 2022]

I wonder if this vodka still exists at all.

drinking alone

So anyway, I got this bottle of Qalampir vodka in Tashkent. I took it to the lounge of the hostel where I was staying, figuring that there would be some other guests to share it with. But I was wrong. I was the only person there. So I had to drink by myself, in the bluish light of the TV.

A talkshow was on. It was in Russian, and it was about people who were talking about the media. I didn’t understand much of it, but they were constantly holding newspaper clippings into the camera, and they sounded very smart and very snarky. I figured that it was probably a very good show.

the pepper theme

But we are here for the vodka. This bottle of Qalampir vodka was cheap, like almost all vodka brands in this part of the world. I got it for 28,000 som, which is between 4 and 8 euros, depending on which exchange rate we’re looking at, the official one or that of the black market. Either way, it’s affordable.

I thought the bottle design was very pleasing as well. It looked both simple and sophisticated, both stylish and traditional. I’d have preferred it if the pepper theme of the vodka was a little bit more clear.

Qalampir vodka is hot

I started my review of Qalampir vodka with a smell test. It wasn’t very promising. There was a hint of motor oil in it, definitely not the kind of fume you would want to come out of your drink.

And it tasted very hot. Not hot like lava, but still hot. I figured that this was because it was called Qalampir vodka, but still, it seemed a bit much. After all, I had tried Nemiroff Honey Pepper before, which was a very fine vodka, and Mernaya Honey Pepper, which was still much smoother than this one. So I knew what pepper-flavored vodkas could taste like. This one wasn’t so good.

no redemption

Now about the aftertaste. Some vodkas that might seem a bit unrefined in their taste can still surprise you when the aftertaste kicks in after a few seconds. But sadly, this wasn’t one of them. There was a hint of sweetness, but it was quickly burned away by a sense of hellfire that still lingered in my mouth and throat after I drank it.

Overall, Qalampir vodka is just not very good.