Samaani vodka

change in funland

This is a review of Samaani vodka from Finland. I sampled it in Germany in 2012. It’s clear, 40% alcohol, and its aftertaste was the bomb.

Samaani vodka (or Shaman vodka) comes from the MOST NORTHERN DISTILLERY IN THE WORLD. It says so right there on the label. Also, there’s a cute little drawing on the bottle, so I thought: this will be fun!

the rebrand

It’s 2021, and I’ve been trying to locate Samaani vodka on the interwebs for a while now. But there was nothing, not even a social media page. Weird, I thought. Then I tried looking for “Shaman vodka” instead, and there it was – Everything about Samaani vodka had been changed, even the brand name:

Shaman's vodka website
from on October 10th 2021

Samaani vodka is now called Shaman’s vodka. The bottle, the label, the typeface – everything looks totally different now. The only thing that is still there from the days of Samaani vodka is the little drawing.

There’s a bit of company lore on the website, but it says nothing about the rebrand:

Shaman's vodka history
from on October 10th 2021

Why did they do it? Did the original Samaani vodka not sell well enough outside of Finland?  Did they get a team of outside consultants? Or was their company sold to someone else? I actually just wrote them an email to inquire. Maybe they’ll respond.

About the vodka itself, I don’t know if it has changed in the process of rebranding it. Anyway, the product on the site that seems to correspond best to the original Samaani vodka is Shaman’s Black Label vodka:

Shaman's vodka page
from on October 10th 2021

NO EXCUSES it says there, and I wonder: excuses for what?

Honestly, I don’t like this rebrand. It feels like they took away some of the character and the charm of the original brand and made it look more generic. It’s a bit sad, actually.

rough in a good way

Back to our review from 2012, when it was still called Samaani vodka. I was expecting it to be fun, and as it turns out I was right! The strange thing about Samaani vodka is that it’s rough, but in a good way. And with that I mean: it might not taste very refined at first, but the aroma in the aftertaste is fuckin A.

So please don’t expect any of that high-class smoothness you would find in a Beluga Noble or in the Goose. Samaani vodka is wild. Not terribly so, but it sure doesn’t go down without a fight. But then, once it’s down, you’ll notice an aroma in the aftertaste that is just… unique. It’s hard to describe actually. Hazelnut comes to mind.

I thought the original bottle design had a cute homemade feel to it, and the price of 18€ for 700ml was good as well.

don’t mix your Samaani vodka

I wouldn’t recommend mixing this with anything. Or let me put it this way: I drank it neat and at room temperature, and I have no idea what might go well with it. Berry juice? Milk?

All in all, this is a fun vodka. And I really hope the rebrand didn’t impact the taste.


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