The world seems to be flooded by gin at the moment and it’s easy (at least in my case) to forget that there are other spirits in the world.
Vodka is, I admit, something I rarely drink neat. There are some exceptions to the rule, but the majority are too clean, or strong, or even spiky on the palette, that means I’d reach for a mixer, or more probably a gin first.
One of the newest I will happily add to my list of sippers is Sauvelle Vodka. A new French Vodka, I was recently introduced to on a(nother) visit to El Gato Negro. I swear, I don’t have a tapas problem. Honest.
Sauvelle – a blend of the words Sauvage (wild) and Belle (beautiful) – is made with French winter wheat, and water from Gensac in the heart of Cognac country, in France. Once distilled, it is non-chill filtered, which allows it to keep it’s natural oils, and then ‘oak smoothed’ using chene du Limousin – a particular French oak also used in the creation of Cognac.
The smoothing is simply the slow trickle of vodka across the wood, allowing for hints of the vanillin to enter the spirit, creating a very tasty, very lightly coloured vodka.
As you can see from the picture above, the vodka isn’t completely clear, it has a hint of colour to it from the wood, and the non-chill filter means that the spirit clouds a little on the adding of tonic – hence the light cloudiness to the drink, as the fine natural oils meet the chilled liquid. Something often seen with whisky, and more obviously with absinthe.
Flavour wise, it’s clean, creamy and you do get the hints of vanilla – something that can be emphasised with a light tonic and the recommended garnish, a fresh sticky vanilla pod. With the tonic, you get something akin to cream soda, but without the sweet stickiness. It’s a completely adult version.
Even the Martini retains some of that vanilla edge, and it suits the Martinez beautifully.
For me, this is a fabulous vodka, which comes in at a reasonable price point (around £35) but gives you a premium experience, and one that won’t break the bank if, like me you suddenly find yourself craving a cream soda.
With thanks to Sauvelle Vodka, and again to El Gato Negro for the invitation to try the vodka and meet the team.