Everyone loves a good back story. Whether it’s a distillery that covered generations of the same family, to a humble no body who had a dream, or even just a nod to an experience in some one’s lives. The most dramatic sometimes are the legends. Take Konik’s Tail for example. One glance at their website and you’ll see the mystery as a bottle is entwined within forest trees. Konik’s Tail legend is laid out for all to see -
‘Time stands still in Bialowieza, Poland’s last remaining primeval forest. So still, the snap of a twig alerts the native Konik to gather and gallop at great speed through the ancient forest. Sure footed on their time-worn path, their shimmering tails brush and blend with the silver birch, stirring up the pure air of this enchanted place.
The primeval Konik is the elusive spirit of the forest. To catch a glimpse is said to ensure a good harvest for the making of great vodka.
In times gone by Koniks were disturbed from their winter world, and harnessed to help with the harvest, gathering the precious grains selected for this most classic of vodkas …’
I don’t know about you but after reading that I’m rather intrigued about this Polish vodka.
Konik’s Tail is produced in limited quantities, nodding back to the early Polish era of traditional vodka making, by Pleurat Shabani and Master of the Cellar Bernadeta Ejsmont. The story of Mr Shabani is itself an intriguing tale. To nutshell what Pleurat is all about, he came to London in the early nineties from war-torn Croatia, stumbled into getting a job washing up in an Angus Steak House and took a night job as a bar security guard – and cruelly lost it all and became homeless. He finally worked his way back up through bars into a career in the drinks industry which led to him breaking out with his own vodka brand. He can also claim that his vodka outsold big shot rivals Grey Goose and Belvedere in the final weeks of December last year by more than 25 times in Selfridge’s. Hat’s off to you, sir.
A unique blend of three grains – Golden Rye, Early Winter Wheat and Ancient Spelt, is the highlight of the production process. And to keep it 100% authentic, all the grains coming to the distillery are furnished with a unique lot number so the grain can be traced back to the farmer’s field and the source of the seed. Konik’s Tail is distilled at the Polmos Bialystok distillery (also home of Zubrowka), which is situated close to the Białowieza Forest. No sugar or other additives are used to sweeten or flavour Konik’s Tail but it is filtered through silver birch charcoal. Each bottle is filled and labelled by hand and signed by Pleurat Shabani himself. The label itself features three wild Koniks that each represent one of the three grains as well as the name of the vodka.
So how does it fare? Well below, I give to you my tasting notes -
Konik’s Tail – 40%
Soft vanilla on a clean nose, almost velvet. Developing flavour with a rich vanilla and herbal mix which produces a warm spice. Creates a very long finish with a slow mouth-watering effect. A little dry at the end but still moorish.
A fantastic tipple, best served neat or over ice. Although you may want to try one of these -
The Rhubarb Royale
30 ml Konik’s Tail
12.5 ml Velvet Falernum liqueur
2 x 20 cm sticks of raw rhubarb
Dash of lemon juice
Champagne to top up
Run small stick of raw rhubarb around the rim of the Martini glass and dip rim in sugar crystals. Place the muddled second piece of rhubarb, Konik’s Tail, Velvet Falernum and lemon juice in a cocktail shaker with ice cubes and mix well. Strain immediately into the glass top up with the champagne (do not mix) and replace strip of rhubarb on rim as decoration.
Sounds fancy yet is actually rather simple to create. Grab yourself a bottle, or indeed order it in your local bar. London is your best bet at the moment but word is getting out around the UK that this is a must have vodka.
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