There’s a new vodka in town, and it hails from Ukraine. In contrast to more common single grain or potato distilled vodkas, Dima’s Vodka is distilled using rye, wheat and barley, and you’ll find its three grain emblem proudly portrayed on its rather royal-looking label.
Owner Dima Deinega introduced his vodka to TLR, with a tasting over Zoom, socially distanced but no less convivial.
“You don’t really get many triple grain vodkas in the world. So we thought we’d make a nice blend and showcase the best of all three grains. Hopefully, once you try it, you’re going to get a hint of each one,” Deinega tells us.
Ukraine is renowned for its grain production, thanks to its highly fertile black chernozem supersoil, and it’s this which allows rye, wheat and barley to flourish, and is responsible for a unique flavour profile, glassy smoothness and clarity.
“You don’t really get many triple grain vodkas in the world. So we thought we’d make a nice blend and showcase the best of all three grains…”
Dima’s wants to change the way we think about vodka. Eager to find a point of differentiation, it intends to position itself as a ‘sipping’ vodka, to be enjoyed with food. The preferred accompaniment is a pickle, which we discover compliments the flavour brilliantly.
“In Ukraine you always have pickles with vodka,” insists Deinega “It’s pretty much illegal to have vodka without pickles! Pickles can either mask the harshness of terrible vodka, or complement very nice sweet vodka. I think it gives a nice salinity and acidity contrast.”
One intriguing cocktail suggestion is Dima’s with pickle juice. Just add a dash of pickle brine to the shot – “technically you’re making like a deconstructed Martini. That’s a lovely way of drinking it.” We’re eager to give it a shot.
In addition to signature pickles, other food combos that work well include cheese and dark chocolate, both of which add to the experience of the serve.
During our introduction, Dima has us sip both at room temperature and chilled. The former revealing its flavour character, the latter more obviously refreshing. “It does compare very differently, not only the viscosity but the flavour profile,” he says. The warming effect also lasts slightly longer, when chilled.
“One of the main things that we are trying to showcase is the fact that vodka can actually be quite enjoyable, smooth and flavorful. It’s nice to have at an ambient room temperature.”
When it comes to flavour profile, there’s a rye note that evokes biscuits, and there’s a little nuttiness from the wheat. We thought it absolutely delicious.
Our tasting session involved numerous ‘Budmo!’ toasts, as is the Ukrainian way. These toasts follow a hierarchical etiquette, beginning with the event and friends, but ultimately ending with a toast to ‘the horses’, a reference to the drinking habits of Cossacks, who would end the evening with a final “Na Konya!” to their steeds before careening off into the night, no doubt somewhat the worse for wear.
Deinega is a staunch defender of Ukraine’s vodka heritage, suggesting that the country may well have invented it (“It’s a hotly debated subject”). It’s a claim we’re happy to toast with an additional ‘Budmo!’
Dima’s Vodka hails from a 125-year-old distillery in Zhytomyr, on the outskirts of Kiev and is reportedly the product of 38 different flavour combinations and trials. It has an ABV of 40%.
It’s worth commenting on the packaging. Unlike Vodka rivals, which tend to come in round bottles, the Dima’s is tall and flat, which not only makes it distinctive, but also easier to chill in in the freezer. “We found this perfect bottle that I think symbolises so many things – it’s very Ukrainian, very Eastern European. It also reflects the architecture you’ll see in Kiev and around Ukraine.”
It suits the company’s logo too, which riffs on the national coat of arms. Bold gold and dark blue label looking premium, as well as reflecting the country’s national colours.
Dima’s is available to purchase online at dimasvodka.com, with a 70cl bottle priced at £35.
To celebrate the launch, there’s also a £25 gift set available, which features a 20cl bottle of Dima’s, a branded Michelangelo stemmed shot glass and a pack of premium pickles.