really just vodka?
[review of Spring Vodka, sampled in Taiwan, 40% alcohol]
This one is from more than a year ago, back when I was in Taiwan for a book tour. I bought it, drank some of it it, jotted down some notes, took the rest home, snapped a picture, drank a bit more, and jotted down some more notes.
So here it is, finally – Spring Vodka from Taiwan!
every country has one
Taiwanese vodka? The truth is: nowadays most countries have their own brands. Russia, Ukraine, and Poland are responsible for the lion’s share – if not in gross volume then at least in their respective amounts of brands.
But most other countries that might not have a comparably strong vodka culture eventually end up with a few domestic vodka brands as well.
So I wasn’t very surprised to find out that Taiwan had one, too.
all in the water
If you’re wondering about the spring in the name Spring vodka and why there’s a bunny on the bottle, look no further:
The brand is called YoungCheers, though in Chinese the name 兔兔酒 (Bunny Liquor) is much cuter.
hipster bunny in a bottle
I got this bottle of Spring Vodka from a hypermarket in Taipeh. There didn’t seem to be any other domestic brands for sale, only this one. It set me back about 450 New Taiwan Dollars (about 13€ for a 700ml bottle), which was a pretty good price.
The bottle design seemed to be a bit elaborate for this price level. It reminded me less of Russian Standard and more of a hipster version of Belvedere or the Goose, with the ground glass body and the playboy-evoking bunny on the label.
But it’s the taste that really counts, and this is where Spring Vodka gets interesting.
You can tell right away that something is a bit off – the smell gives it away. Spring Vodka has a strangely sweet and aromatic note to it, something that doesn’t belong to the realm of vodka but to that of the world of baijiu.
Don’t be afraid, though – neither the smell nor the taste of Spring Vodka is anything like the stuff that Chinese officials use to drink each other under the table. No, there is just a faint scent of something decidedly non-vodka in there.
Spring Vodka is when vodka and baijiu have a baby
And the taste is interesting as well. Spring Vodka is sweet and balmy. It doesn’t quite taste like pure vodka. It’s more as if an upscale vodka and a brand of super-soft Chinese liquor had a baby. It’s very interesting, very smooth, and I loved its taste.
So how about the aftertaste? Well, it’s a bit similar. When you breathe out through your nose after having Spring Vodka, there is a rich aroma filling your head, something that you wouldn’t expect in a vodka. Of course it doesn’t quite taste like Chinese liquor, either. Instead it’s more of a very balmy mix. I found it awesome.
take care when mixing
Overall, Spring Vodka is definitely worth a try if you want something that is new, interesting, sophisticated, and tasty.
But be warned: your favorite cocktail recipes will probably end up tasting a bit funny if you use this stuff to mix them with. The baijiu note is too strong.