Angels Prefer Vodka
Miniature hand-crafted oak barrels sat empty on the windowsill of the distillery aging room, dwarfed by the massive ancient barrels around them which hold a treasure trove of the distilleries hard earned spirits; some of the recipes in the room have been resting soulfully for decades, others have just been born. Mr. Tadeusz Dorda, owner of Polmos Siedlce, the Polish distillery positioned at the epicentre of Europe that produces Chopin Vodka, was having an enthusiastic conversation with Master Distiller, Waldemar Durakiewicz. Pioneer and craftsman, together Mr. Dorda and Mr. Durakiewicz have brought Polish luxury vodka to the world from the historical birthplace of vodka. The conversation between the two revolved around ten one-litre casks made from Polish White Oak, which were being inspected and passed back and forth. Tadeusz Dorda explained that the small casks were part of an experiment into oak aged vodkas. The barrels had been filled with the distillery’s finest single-distilled, young potato vodka in order to explore the effects of oak aging on its flavour profile. After being filled and left for a year in a temperature and light controlled environment, the oak barrels had become completely empty – presenting somewhat of a mystery.
The Angel’s Share
In the whisky industry, there is a portion of spirit that is lost to absorption and evaporation during the barrel aging process. The roughly 2% of evaporated whisky is traditionally referred to as “the Angel’s Share”, as the lost whisky is adoringly considered as a tithe for the angels; the longer that the spirit is aged in the barrels, the greater the amount of whisky lost to the angels. A 20 year old whisky can lose up to 40% of its barrel volume – a dear price to pay to the heavens. While this phenomenon is accepted and accounted for in the whisky industry, there are no documented records of the process of oak-aging potato vodka. The loss of 100% of the vodka in the sample barrels over the period of a year have led Mr. Dorda and Mr. Durakiewicz to one conclusion – Angels prefer vodka! Perhaps, as the process of distilling and oak aging young potato vodka is unprecedented, the angels were worked into an enthusiastic drinking frenzy; or perhaps, one mischievous angel imbibed the whole harvest. Regardless, it is safe to say that single-distilled young potato vodka is now the drink preferred in heaven.
Leading through Innovation
Steve Jobs is credited as stating that, “Innovation distinguishes between a leader and a follower.” Chopin Vodkas spirit of innovation is very well established but generally unknown amongst the public. Chopin was the first vodka to enter the ultra-luxury category of vodkas, leading the way through both its luxury vodka recipe and its often-imitated frosted bottle design for the likes of Belvedere and Grey Goose to follow. Chopin Vodka was the first to produce the award-winning Dorda chocolate vodka, a partnership with Poland’s Wedel Chocolate that has resulted in a global following of passionate affectionados who have moved on from Irish Cream to a more sophisticated libation. Chopin Vodka is also the first to produce single distilled ultra-premium ‘vodkas’, including that from early harvest young potatoes, which has ignited a cult following within Poland and amongst in-the-know vodka connoisseurs.
It is this pioneering spirit that defines Tadeusz Dorda and sets his vodkas ahead of the pack. Mr. Dorda, driven by an appetite for constant innovation, is not interested in resting on his laurels (or his potatoes) while the world celebrates his vodkas; each year Mr. Dorda explores new directions in vodka distillations – refining techniques, exploring new ingredients and concepts to satisfy his need to walk in untrodden pastures.
The Future is yet Uncharted
As experiments into oak-aged single-distilled vodkas are ongoing, this vodka is not yet ready for Chopin Vodka’s passionate followers, who eagerly await the release of each of the company’s boutique distillations. For the moment, Chopin Vodka’s oak-aged experiments are reserved for the angels – perhaps, when they have drunk their fill then us mortals will be permitted a dram.