good stuff in a terrible bottle

[40%, sampled in Tajikistan]

This one has a name that sounds pretty official: Tajikistan. I got it in Khujand when I was there in June 2017, and I found myself wondering: would it live up to its name?

I’m listening to “Paradise Circus” by Massive Attack while I’m typing this. I’m reading my notes, and here’s what they say: Tajikistan vodka was super cheap. I got 500ml for around 4€, but then the same goes for most vodka brands from Central Asia. They are affordable as hell. Seems a bit unfair to most other markets. But what can you do?

how fast are you supposed to drink this?

Okay, so about that bottle design: I didn’t like it at all. Sure, there was a sort of “Soviet Charm” to it, and you certainly wouldn’t accuse this brand of looking pretentious. And yet I couldn’t get myself to like it.

They could have at least made sure the label doesn’t come off that easily, and give the bottle a screw cap or a cork or whatever, not just a little flap that you can never close again once you’ve opened it. Or is everyone supposed to finish the whole bottle at once? I hated the bottle design.

But then vodka, at its essence, is about two things: taste and aftertaste.

the surprise

At some point you remove the bottle flap, which is when you learn that Tajikistan‘s smell matches its bottle design: it burns the air around it. This is a bad sign. A terrible sign. But sometimes life (vodka) can surprise you.

And by that I mean that this stuff actually tastes pretty good! It burns on the way down, yes, but not as much as you would think if you’re judging from the initial smell. It’s quite smooth, and it even tastes a bit sweet.

aroma even better

And then the aftertaste hits you: the sweetness is still there but it turns into something bigger, something aromatic and rich. Like a forest. Tajikistan goes straight to your core and warms you from inside. A very good aftertaste that goes perfectly with all kinds of hearty appetizers. So good.

All things considered, this vodka does need some polishing when it comes to its bottle design. But the stuff itself is very good.


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