The Vodka Wars and Chopin Vodka
It’s hilarious: unlike Coca Cola who claims to have brought about world ‘harmony’ and ‘peace throughout the land’ – according to their famous syrupy advert – vodka has caused two wars.
In 1977, a trade war broke out between Poland and Russia. Poland claimed that only they could use the word ‘vodka’ because ‘vodka’ originally came from Poland. They explained that the word ‘vodka’ did not come from the word ‘water’ in Russian but from the word ‘gorzalka’ which means ‘burning’ ‘bitter’ or ‘spicy water’.
The Russians reacted furiously and an angry nationalist historian, William Pobklebkin wrote a refutation called ‘The History of Vodka’. In it, he claimed that Vodka was first distilled in Moscow in 1440 – by the way, there is no evidence for this claim.
The Russian refutation was accepted by the international court. Poland was in the middle of turmoil, fighting Russian oppression and didn’t dispute the ruling, but unfortunately – as these things do – the first vodka war led to the…
Second Vodka War.
In the second vodka war, EU countries from the vodka belt – Scandinavian, Baltic and Slavic countries – and chief among them Poland argued that only spirits made exclusively from rye, potato and sweet beet juice may be branded vodka.
However, by leading the argument, Poland succeeded in bringing to world consciousness that Poland is one of the original producers of vodka – or should I say ‘wodka’.
An interesting side point, the earliest authentic mention of vodka is found in a book by the Polish herbalist, Stefan Falimierz ‘The Herbal’ published in 1543. The word ‘vodka’ only appears in Russian literature in 1750 – two hundred years later.
But apart from winning the moral argument and revealing itself to the world as one of the original producers of vodka, plucky Poland can claim to have won an even more important battle: Poland can claim to have produced in the 1990s the very first luxury vodka in the world.
Chopin Vodka – The First Luxury Vodka
Please don’t stop reading because you’re going to learn something interesting about vodka – something to impress your friends with.
For a man buried in the Polish countryside, Tad Dorda, CEO of Chopin, has an interesting metropolitan accent. He sounds like a well-educated man of the world, but he has something revolutionary to say:
People believe that vodka should be ‘colourless, tasteless and odourless. They believe that vodkas are all the same.’ His mouth turns up in disapproval. They see it as a base for mixing rather than something that can be sipped and enjoyed by itself like whisky. No! No! No!
Chopin has created a vodka that they insist can be sipped alone; their vodkas are delicious and interesting in their own right. ‘Each vodka is different,’ Tad insists. It depends on the raw material used, the distillation process, the blender and the country. Tad Dorda and his Master Distiller, Waldemar Durakiewicz, have created something really unusual…
Chopin Vodka – the First Single Ingredient Vodka.
Chopin creates three unique single-ingredient vodkas from potato, rye and wheat. Each one has unique differences and can be drunk alone or mixed.
Their potato vodka is earthy, creamy and full-bodied. It is delicious alone or perfect in a martini.
Their rye vodka is spicy, vibrant and peppery with a short sharp finish, making it perfect for a Bloody Mary or cocktails.
Their wheat vodka is a light, sweet, gentle, summery vodka with a floral aroma.
The secret of the success of their vodka lies in the following:
To Strip or Not to Strip!
It’s true that Chopin grow their own potatoes or use locally grown produce – but that’s not the reason it’s great.
It’s true that they cook but don’t peel the potatoes – but there doesn’t lie greatness.
It’s true that the cooked potatoes sit in yeast for three days – yet that still doesn’t make for something uniquely luxurious. So where lies the secret?
The Secret of Chopin Vodka
The secret lies in the fact that during distillation, they ensure to leave in the distilled essence the flavours and notes of the raw ingredient.
Now, if your humble friend here, writing this article, told you that this is a simply stunning and delicious vodka, you may not believe me, but know this…
Chopin Vodka is an Award-Winning Vodka!
Chopin has created a vodka that’s won numerous awards in recent years. A vodka that bartenders around the world are proud to mix with or even serve by itself.
So, let’s end with our original question: who created vodka?
We’ll never know who created vodka originally, but Poland’s vodka wars have done one thing – they’ve told us that Poland has something worthwhile to say, and given what we see with Chopin Vodka, we’re listening now, and Whisky Kingdom is proud to be stockists of its exceptional range of vodkas. Please visit our collection here.