There are many super premium vodkas out there all claiming to be the the best craft vodka or the most premium. What really makes a vodka craft or super premium? Today I will be trying the new Absolut Elyx to find out.
We all know the brand Absolut and have for many years associated it with good high quality mixing vodka but never really put it into the super premium category. Absolut is trying to change that with a new super premium variant Absolut Elyx. Johan Lindeberg the Global Creative Director for Absolut has been quoted as saying, “It’s no longer about portraying an image through excess and logos. Modern day Luxury is all about integrity.” This is a refreshing outlook from a category that has traditionally been associated with excess drinking and big branded vodkas watered down or mixed to hide their tastes.
Absolut pride themselves on only using the finest ingredients and that is also true for Elyx. ABSOLUT ELYX is made in Åhus, Sweden, from single estate wheat exclusively from the Råbelöf Castle, which has been producing wheat since the 1400s. The Råbelöf Castle is situated within 15 miles of the distillery. This ensures that the quality of the wheat can be closely monitored to ensure the best outcome.
Elyx is one of the few vodkas from a large brand to be hand crafted. Everything from temperature and distillation rate is manually controlled by turning knobs dials and opening and closing valves. The still used to distill Absolut Elyx is a copper still that dates back to 1921. During distillation the copper catalyses with the vodka which purifies and along with high quality local well water gives a light silky feel in the mouth. The skills required to operate a manual still have been passed down over generations. Krister Asplund and his team are among only a handful of Swedish vodka makers who have the skills to produce vodka manually. Elyx is one of the few vodkas that is not filtered. Filtration according to Krister isn’t necessary as the manual distillation process removes unwanted compounds and leaves in subtle flavors that would be lost by filtration. Krister has said that taking out the compounds you don’t want is easy but the real challenge and skill is to keep those you do. This is another refreshing outlook on vodka production that makes Elyx unique. Most vodkas in the super premium category filter out most of the flavor and leave few if any flavors behind, this makes them usually suitable for only mixing. This doesn’t mean you can’t mix Elyx but means that if you choose to it will add subtle nuance in taste to your cocktail.
On the nose Elyx is full bodied with rich notes of fresh grapefruit and delicate spices. In the mouth you can really feel the silkiness brought about by the copper catalyzation process. On the pallet you get hints of warm fresh baked bread with notes of grapefruit bitterness in the back of the mouth. In the finish the grapefruit and spices taper off leaving you with a pleasantly warm and sweet finish that leaves you wanting another sip. Although Elyx is great as a sipping vodka, I found that serving over ice with a twist of citrus fruit really compliments the grapefruit and spices, enhances the flavours and opens it up.
Absolut Elyx is 42.3% and retails for approximately £35 – £40 a bottle. Unfortunately it isn’t very easy to find in retail stores. This is because Pernod Ricard, the brand owners, have opted to concentrate on the on trade and have not yet officially released Elyx to off trade distributors in the UK.