Blog: Olly WehringVodka - does it matter what you're made of?

Olly Wehring | 11 September 2006

As some of you may know, the European Commission is at loggerheads with Finland, which holds the rotating EU presidency, over vodka. While the Finns are pushing for protection for the spirit as a traditional spirit made only from grain or potatoes, the Commission wants to allow vodka to be made from a far broader range of ingredients.

While talks between the two sides are ongoing, the BBC has run a fascinating, albeit not wholly scientific, survey of whether consumers could tell which vodka was made from what agricultural produce.

With only three correct guesses out of 20 samples, a success rate of only 15% leads to the conclusion that it isn't as important as some might think. The bewildering array of contradictions amongst the samplers, however, might also suggest that this test shouldn't be taken as gospel.

It could, of course, also be an indication of what a weird and wonderful spirit vodka is. I remember visiting Russia four years ago, and hating the stuff prior to arrival. An intensive crash course in vodka drinking etiquette, however, drove me to love the stuff.

Churchill once said that Russia was a riddle wrapped in a mystery inside an enigma. He could also have been referring to vodka.

For the full BBC report, click here.


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