Review: Absolut Vodka Original

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This week we’re sampling a bottle of Absolut Original, one of the most widely available and often purchased brands of vodka on the market. But what do we know about Absolut? It’s popular, it’s in a funky cool packaging inspired by the medicine bottle, and it comes from Sweden. Does that about cover it? Actually there’s a bit more to it than that…

Absolut Vodka was created in 1879 by Lars Olsson Smith, a Swedish entrepreneur who was known as “The Vodka King” for his innovative distillation process. Fast forward about a hundred years and it’s introduced to the global market, becomes one of the top-selling brands in the world, and moves over 100,000,000 liters all from the tiny community of Åhus; A village in southern Sweden with a population of only 9,423. Don’t worry I’ve never heard of it either. Let’s put it this way, every region has it’s drink, and so for Tequila it’s Tequila Mexico, for Champagne it’s Champagne France, and for Absolut Vodka it’s Åhus.

With today’s huge emphasis on “keeping it local” and supporting “craft” brands, it should make you feel good knowing every bit of Absolut Vodka consumed in the world comes from that small place. They use all natural ingredients including winter wheat, and unlike other brands it contains no sugar. It’s a happy medium for conscious consumers because despite still being mass-produced, they maintain a carefully crafted product using the local farmers and distillers of Åhus, allowing them to craft a consistent quality to their vodka. It’s a catch 22 for some spirits, they start out small, gain some success and then make sacrifices to become a commercially accepted  big boy brand but Absolut’s process balances the two, setting them apart from their other big competitors and the little guys too. Last month’s shocking news that many of your favorite small batch spirit companies actually outsource their spirit from one distillery in Indiana opened a lot of peoples eyes so its pretty cool knowing even a company as large as Absolut can still stay true to their roots.

Tasting Notes: Everyone says vodka is odorless and flavorless. I’ve never agreed with that. From the barely drinkable to the ultra premium vodkas, the aromas are there. With Absolut its got a clean aroma with the wheat grain noticeable.

We tasted Absolut in a few ways, neat, chilled, and in a mixed drink (or two, or three). Sipped warm it’s got a really mellow flavor, smooth, and with a bitter finish that reminds me a bit of licorice or a not so sweet fruit. Chilled in a shot, it loses some of its flavor, but still maintains it’s smoothness as expected. Every bar in town keeps this handy for a reason, it makes a great mixed drink. I think that after taste previously mentioned makes it a great pair with citrus flavors. I love it with orange or lime juices, and especially grapefruits. We made a mean Salty dog, and yes you should try it.

Price: 17.99 [750 ML]

Proof: 80 Proof [40% abv]

Final Word: Trying to come to a common opinion on almost any spirit is tough, and with vodka it’s almost impossible. Some people hate it, some swear by it, but in reality Absolut is a premium brand for a reason: It’s got a consistent quality that won’t leave you reaching for the Advil in the morning, it mixes well & easily, and it’s at a great price point. That’s the winning trifecta to me.


Alex is a full time consultant with 10+ years experience in the wine & spirits + consumer packaged goods industries. He is not a professional bartender, but is BarSmarts certified and makes a mean caipirinha. When not writing, Alex can be found traveling, spending time with his family, or bar hopping.

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