zero harmful impurities
This is a review of Zero Black vodka from Kyrgyzstan. I sampled it in Kyrgyzstan in 2014. It’s clear, 40% alcohol, produced by Kyrgyz Alco Trade, and I didn’t like it very much.
Zero Black vodka. In a world of corporate branding, this seemed like a pretty good name for a vodka: short, easy to pronounce, easy to remember.
from the black ax
So far, Kyrgyz vodka brands have been a bit difficult to find online. When I looked for information on Zero Black vodka, I went back to the article on Alco Reviews that I had used while writing about Vivat. It said Zero Black vodka was produced by Kyrgyz Alco Trade from Kara-Balta.
I then found an article on 24.kg talking about a distillery in Kara-Balta, but without any specifics on Kyrgyz Alco Trade or Zero Black vodka.
And finally, there was an article on Frullato that talked about Zero Black vodka. It mentioned that the manufacturers added honey to the end product. Also, it used the picture that I had taken for this post.
[online search from April 3rd 2022]
I only remembered during the process of this search that I had actually been to Kara-Balta before, the place where Zero Black vodka was supposedly made. Kara-Balta meant “black ax” in Kyrgyz, and it seemed to be a rough little town.
drunk at the lake
Anyway, I bought this half-liter bottle for 150 Som (less than 4€/700ml) in a tiny shop in a tiny village on the shores of Issyk-kul. I was staying in an old sanatorium, and in the evening I sat down on my balcony overlooking the lake. Issyk-kul was so big it had actual waves, like an ocean.
A good place to drink.
say what now?
As usual, I checked out the bottle design first. It didn’t overly impress me, but at least it didn’t seem to be a knockoff like Ozon and Vivat. There was, however, one thing that caught my attention. See the little note on the top of the label?
According to the article on Alco Reviews it was supposed to be read together with the brand name: there were ZERO HARMFUL IMPURITIES. Only I didn’t find that very obvious. I was in an old sanatorium deep within the former Soviet Union, and I was looking at a bottle of vodka that proudly advertised itself as containing: HARMFUL IMPURITIES.
Zero Black vodka isn’t pleasant
It turned out that Zero Black vodka wasn’t very fun to review. The taste just wasn’t that good. It burned. Maybe the “advertisement” on the label had something to do with it, but I didn’t really like this stuff very much. And there was no pleasant aftertaste either.
I took another sip just to make sure that I had gotten it right.
Then I decided to put the bottle down and stop drinking. I looked at the lake. The waves were still crushing in.