Zorokovich 1917 – How to Re-establish a Vodka Empire

I don’t get many emails from PR people for my blog, which I rather like as I’m not really a ‘write-up a press release’ kind of blogger. However, when I got one through a few weeks back from a guy telling me about a film chronicling the adventures of Dan Edelstyn in Ukraine it rang a bell somewhere. I did a bit of research and found that I met the chap in question (I think), complete with Russian hat, while helping to organise Sci-Fi-London 8. I dug a bit deeper and found that I’d been invited to the production’s Facebook group when it started, although I’d ignored it as I do most things on Facebook, and that a friend of mine is one of their Vodka Club members (as I am now as well).

The project seems to have started with Dan deciding to do a documentary about his grandmother, who left Ukraine after the Russian revolution. However, after finally finding the family’s home he also found a spirit factory, still churning out vodka, and thus was a new documentary born. It’s currently appearing episodically on Babelgum, but it should be appearing on More4 next year after it’s been edited into a feature. There’s 6 episodes up out of the 24 of as my writing and there’s been a lot of wandering in the snow and looking a bit down so far, but I suspect that things are about to hot up…

Here’s the first episode (a bit of a longer, overview style one), here’s a link to the rest and there’s a new one appearing up on Babelgum every few days:

A few days back a clinky envelope flopped onto my desk at work, containing a couple of sample bottles of Dan’s Zorokovich 1917 for me to try, complete with bow and a label marked ‘Drink Me’. Named after his family and the year of the revolution its appearance and my mentioning it here does spoiler the end of the documentary a bit, but this post would feel a bit empty without some booze to drink.

Vodka Empire

I chilled one bottle down in the freezer and left the other at room temperature, as seems to be my vodka tasting regime, and I started with the warmer. On the nose it was sweet (and alcoholic) with a hint of mulchy cereal. In the mouth it was quite thick and oily, with quite a clean taste – a touch of mintiness, a hint of sweetness (maybe red berries?) and a slightly bitter finish. It did burn a bit on the way down, but it didn’t linger. The cold one got down to -16 before I got bored of waiting and had lost almost everything on the nose. To taste it was very clean, with little burn in the chest, with the sweetness and menthol/mint notes coming through if you sip and consider, but otherwise just a light honeyed sensation on the back of the tongue when it slips down.

I’m still very much learning about vodka and this one seems to do better chilled, with it being a bit oily for me when warm. Luckily my freezer is rather good and I rather liked it. I’m quite pleased that having joined the Vodka Club I now have a bottle of it somewhere in my future.

Update: I just got a mail from new father Dan (congratulations!) welcoming me to the Vodka Club, and it seems that the sample I got isn’t the final Zorokovich 1917, but the current top vodka the distillery produces. They’ve got the final version with a new recipe appearing in July, complete with supporting events that I will be keeping an eye out for…

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