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Vodka

Belvedere


  • The facility at Polmos Zyrardów, Poland, was constructed in 1910 as the "Distillery and Rectification of Spirit and Vodka" set up by Dawid and Mejer Pines, and started production of Belvedere in 1993. At this time, it was run by the state as a partnership with Millennium. The factory was privatized in 2001, with Millennium LLC as the main shareholder along with the state. LVMH bought a 70% stake in Millennium, and this stake was increased to 100% in April of 2005.

    Today, it only distills Belvedere, although under communist rule, there were many products produced there, including Wyborowa, Zubrowka, Luksusowa and others. The stills were modernized in 1998, and Belvedere macerated vodkas were developed in 2003.



    For the general history of vodka, you can find that information under Spirits > Vodka.

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  • As the world’s first luxury vodka, the production of Belevedere includes four very important elements:
    - The Dankowski Rye. This local, low-yielding rye is renowned for its sweet and soft character.
    - Water. The water for Belvedere comes from their artisanal water source that goes through an eleven step purification process.
    - Four distillations that preserve the character of the rye.
    - Thirty-three quality controls and checkpoints throughout the process.



    Dankowskie Gold Rye
    When creating Belvedere vodka, we first start with a single ingredient: Dankowskie Gold Rye. This rye was first cultivated in 1880 in the Mazovia region of Poland. This rye is known as a “winter” rye as it planted in the fall and then harvested the next year in July. What makes Dankowskie rye so special is its soft but distinct flavor and unusually high percentage of starch (65% by volume).


    The Dankowskie rye is harvested and simmered with water at several agricultural distilleries to form a mash. Enzymes known as amylase and diastase are added to the mash to break the starches down into sugars and speed the fermentation. A special distiller's yeast is added to the mash, which is then fermented to 6-8% ABV. The first distillation (also known as the agricultural distillation) takes place here, and the resulting spirit is around 93% ABV.


    This spirit undergoes organoleptic and chemical analysis to establish quality prior to being diluted to 45% ABV and rectified. The distillate is broken down with artesian well water that is filtered in a two-step process that includes reverse osmosis. This is a water treatment process whereby dissolved salts, such as sodium, chloride, calcium carbonate, and calcium sulphate may be separated from water through forcing the water through a semi-permeable membrane under high pressure. The water diffuses through the membrane and the dissolved salts remain behind on the surface of the membrane. The spirit is then softened prior to filtration through a carbon filter to remove odors.

    The first column at Polmos Zyrardów is a pre-distillation that removes acids, esters and aldehydes.

    The second column is the rectification column that removes the remaining fusel oils, and the spirit emerges at 96.5% ABV. Finally, and most importantly, the spirit is run through the third column—known as the purifying column, which is an additional step that removes any remaining off notes or odors from the spirit. It is this step that brings elegance and softness to the vodka.

    The pure spirit is stored in tanks for a resting period and then blended with the distillery's artesian water. This marrying process takes place slowly over a few days, and the vodka is broken down to a bottling strength of 40% ABV. After the blending, the vodka is filtered in a two-step process that includes carbon filtration and then a finer mechanical filtration prior to bottling.

    Fun Fact: Over 80 pounds of rye is needed to produce one 750ml bottle of Belvedere!


    Dankowskie Diamond Rye
    For Belvedere Unfiltered, a higher grade rye is used. The Dankowskie Diamond Rye is a super-premium "baker's grade" rye that is lower in starch yet higher in texture compared to the Dankowskie Gold Rye. Using this rye yields vodka that is exceptionally complex, full-bodied, and elegantly smooth.




    Water
    Belvedere is one of only two distilleries in Poland that sources their own water. They own two artesian wells 1.6 km from grounds of distillery. One well draws water through 41.5 meters and 7 “quaternary terraces” or mineral beds (formed during the Oligocene Epoch). The other, 50.5 meters deep, draws water through 10 mineral beds. To get the water to the distillery, they use special acid-resistant steel pipes.


    Once the water arrives at the distillery, it goes through a number of steps to confirm its purity. First, the water goes through a two-step mineral filter that removes iron, manganese, and other minerals. Then the water goes through a softening process where calcium and magnesium are removed and that is followed by filtration through a carbon filter that along with reverse osmosis extracts the remaining salts in the water. In total, the water goes through 11 steps with 8 quality control checks along the way giving Belvedere’s water a distinctive soft character and 100% purity.



    Bottles
    The bottling process is a slow one with many quality control checks, the spirit is almost bottled by hand. All strip and hang tags are applied by hand as well as each bottle being individually checked by hand for any imperfections. In addition to visual and organoleptic checks, statistical sampling and chemical analysis are also done. Eleven people are employed on the bottling line, and the throughput is 8,000 bottles per shift.


    Saverglass and Saint-Gobain S.A. produce the bottles. A rubber sticker protects a part of the bottle, which is then frosted. A four step printing process is then carried out on the bottle: the text, the tree, the word ‘vodka' in blue, and then the snow on the tree and the bar code. The bottles are then sterilized in an oven at 700°C.

    Thirty-three separate steps are taken in the quality assurance/quality control program, from the raw materials to each of the components to the final product. Traceability documents are coordinated and HACCP is verified, and an outside lab verifies all lab results.

    The final step before bottling, all bottles of Belvedere are rinsed with Belvedere, or Belvedere Unfiltered prior to bottling to protect the integrity of the vodka.



    The genius of vodka is its purity, but the interest lies in the mixture of great intrinsic character. For this reason, Belvedere maintains its traditional recipe.

    No synthetic flavorings or additives are utilized in the production of Belvedere.

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  • Maceration is the means whereby oils are extracted from flower petals, fruit peels or fresh fruit through the process of soaking or steeping in alcohol and then re-distilled to create clear but distinctively flavored beverages.

    In the 14th and 15th centuries in Poland - the birthplace of vodka – spirits were often flavored with honey, herbs or fruits. We’ve enhanced and perfected these techniques today. The process of drawing out the freshest and most vibrant flavors from fruit peels, fresh fruit, and flowers is what fuels our passion for creating the finest flavored vodka in the world.

    When it comes to other flavored vodkas, unfortunately not everyone else has the same view as Belvedere. Vodka can be flavored in many ways; most common are the addition of ‘aroma chemicals’ or synthetic flavor compounds. The aroma and flavor of these vodkas leave a lot to be desired if you want to taste real fruit. The same is true for essential oils. The aroma is there, but the flavor is not a sophisticated or complex one. If you want powerful, enriching flavor then your only choice is maceration.



    The Journey
    Maceration begins with Belvedere Vodka. Distilled four times from the finest and select Polish Dankowskie Gold Rye and diluted with pristine artesian water from our own well at Polmos Zyrardów, Poland, Belvedere represents the pinnacle of the vodka making tradition.

    After its fourth distillation, Belvedere destined to become macerated is concentrated to 96% ABV (alcohol by volume) and combined with fresh fruit peels and berries to eventually become Belvedere Macerated vodka.


    The Process
    Once the Belvedere pure spirit is ready, the fruits are individually placed into a vodka bath where the fruit peels and berries gently soak for a period of up to one month depending on the type of fruit, temperature or time of year. Once the macerated fruits reach their optimal flavor, the fruit is gently pressed to extract the juice and the fruit pulp is removed. The berry juice and spirit continue to macerate for a further week before the infusion is ready for distillation.


    Distillation
    The macerations are gently distilled separately along with the fruit peels, in a proprietary Alembic pot still, as used to make cognac or perfume. The pot still is a Bain Marie system, meaning no direct heat is applied to the fruit peels (this is a technique similar to using a water bath when cooking). Therefore, the skins of the fruit will not burn and create any bitterness throughout the distillation.

    Extraction of fruit essential oils, often used in flavoring other vodkas, will often rely on standard distillation which by comparison to the maceration process, uses direct heat. Therefore essential oils can often be bitter and result in an off taste in the vodka.


    Blending
    Blends must be modified each season to adjust for the seasonal alterations inherent in every fruit harvest. This is a crucial step in making Belvedere’s macerations bright, alive and consistent. After distillation the macerates are blended together to create the final product in the same way that eau de vie is blended to create Cognac

    Blending is a slow and complex process and one that we refer to as ‘shading’. In the same way as a painter creates layers of light and shade, our artisans in the blending process create deep and complex layers of flavor and intensity. The distillates are blended in the same way as a fine perfume or a Cognac, balanced depending on the individual fruits’ flavor profile for that season, to create their distinct taste profiles and are referred to by recipe numbers. No other Vodkas blend in this artful fashion.


    Finishing
    After blending, the new macerations are allowed to rest and to ‘marry’ with each other before being blended with our own artesian water. Once they have been blended to bottling strength the macerations are filtered through a paper filter which removes any residual fruit solids that would impair the fresh and natural quality of the flavors - charcoal filters are not used as this would remove the fruit flavor. The vodka is then ready to be bottled and enjoyed.

    The few other Vodka brands that macerate for flavor often skip this final paper filtration step, leaving fruit bits and color which may look pretty, but actually oxidize and deteriorate the vodka over time. Belvedere’s Macerations remain clean and as fresh as the day they are bottled for years after opening... if you can resist for that long!

    Unlike artificially flavored vodkas, no sugar, glycerine, or other hidden enhancements are added to our macerated vodkas. Only citrus fruits, flowers and berries combined with Belvedere Vodka and water from our own source are used to create our flavored vodkas. It’s yet another promise of quality that only Belvedere can deliver.


    Curious?
    Curious about maceration? Claire Smith explains Belvedere vodka maceration - on YouTube!


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  • Belvedere Vodka
    Rye. Water. Character.
    Belvedere Vodka is the original and true expression of luxury vodka, created from 600 years of Polish vodka-making tradition. The vodka itself is always authentic, and never artificial. Created exclusively from Polish Dankowskie Rye and quadruple-distilled to create the perfect balance of character and purity; it is completely free of additives, including sugar or glycerin. Dilution with purified water from Belvedere's own artisan wells is essential, enabling the character of the rye to shine. Perfect on the rocks, in a martini or breathing character to any cocktail. Belvedere represents the pinnacle of vodka making tradition. Zero additives, gluten free, naturally smooth.

    Tasting Notes
    Nose: Faint hint of vanilla along with some gentle, soft cream characteristics.

    Palate: Full and round with a medium bodied weight and rich, velvety texture. Some vanilla swaying between sweet and savory with a hint of white pepper and spice.

    Finish: Good length with notes of almond, clotted cream and some faint almond and Brazil nut characteristics.



    Belvedere Classic Martini
    2 oz Belvedere Vodka
    1/4 oz Lillet Blanc
    Stir over ice and strain into a chilled martini glass. Garnish with a pink grapefruit twist.



    Belvedere Unfiltered
    "The Whiskey Drinker's Vodka"
    Distilled from Dankowskie Diamond Rye, a single-estate baker's grade grain grown on one select Polish farm, Belvedere Unfiltered is vodka at its smoothest and most distinctive. This full-bodied, elegant creation is a celebration of Diamond Rye; distilled four times and then left unfiltered in order to heighten the expression of the rye. This results in a silky soft texture and elegant mouth feel. Creating exceptional vodka is having the confidence to know when to take a step back and allow the craftsmanship of each element to shine.

    Tasting Notes
    Nose: Intense aromas of sea air, baked bread and toasted nuts.

    Palate: Full but mellow with initial impressions of salted caramel, freshly baked bread and a touch of honey. Mid-palate evolves into fresh minerality with some stone and flint characteristics. Back palate is refreshed with delicate notes of sea salt and a hint of white pepper. Mouth-feel is rich, well rounded and luscious.

    Finish: Long and salty/sweet. Notes of baked bread, vanilla and cream.


    Unfiltered On the Rocks Your Way
    1.5 oz Belvedere Unfiltered
    Twist of lemon OR Green Olive OR Sprig of rosemary OR Slice of cucumber (your choice)
    Pour Belvedere Unfiltered over ice into a rocks glass.




    Belvedere Maceration
    Maceration is the proprietary artisanal process Belvedere uses to create the world’s best super premium flavored vodka. It’s a process using only real fruit, herbs and spices, delicately drawing out the vibrant flavours from the freshest whole ingredients combined with the finest super-premium Belvedere vodka and technical expertise.


    Belvedere Citrus
    By soaking fresh fruit directly in the vodka, Belvedere ensures that the vibrant flavors from fresh fruit, peels and flowers are delicately extracted.Real fruit delivers a bright and natural lemon and lime brightness to the vodka. The aromatic citrus notes take you elsewhere, where the climate is warm and invigorating. This spring time escape is the result of three separate macerations of citrus peels, Italian and Argentine lemons, and Mexican limes, with no artificial flavors or sugar added. Enjoy spring refreshment any month of the year.

    Tasting Notes
    Nose: Fresh and aromatic with a refreshing fragrance of crisp citrus with baked key lime notes.

    Palate: Complex and well-balanced. Crisp, clean, inviting with the lemon and lime notes seamlessly integrated.

    Finish: Clean, with lively acidity.



    Belvedere Wild Berry
    When Belvedere Vodka meets berries, the result is fresh, wild and unexpected. Inspired by the summer berry harvests in Poland and North America, Belvedere Wild Berry vodka will delight your palate with a surprisingly refreshing taste. The perfect combination of wild dark red Polish strawberries and aromatic sweet North American blueberries will deliver a burst of sweet, ripe berries to elevate your tonic water or lemonade. Add a slice of lemon or a squeeze of lime and enjoy.

    Tasting Notes
    Nose: Bright, fresh and luscious notes of juicy strawberries and tart blueberries with a hint of vanilla and cream.

    Palate: Soft and inviting with intense hints of strawberries and cream, blueberry pie and crushed berries. Gentle acidity which adds refreshment and an impression of juicy, ripe berries.

    Finish: Sustained and refreshing with clean and bright berry.




    Belvedere Mango Passion
    Not even white sandy beaches convey summer like Belvedere Mango Passion. This exotic creation is made with real fruit and contains no artificial flavor or added sugar. Belvedere's unparalleled maceration process of soaking mango, passion fruit, tangerine, mandarins and lime directly into the vodka, has created the ideal summertime beverage. Perfect with tonic or ginger ale and a slice of lime.

    Tasting Notes
    Nose: Clean, bright and refreshing with a heady hit of fragrant mango, supported by notes of ripe passion fruit with a hint of mandarin flesh.

    Palate: Tropical fruit bursts onto the palate, with snaps of juicy mango and zesty lime. Luscious and full bodied, the palate displays concentrated passion fruit notes, tempered by soft tangerine with a hint of sweet spice. Well structured, with a good balance of fresh acidity and succulent exotic fruit.

    Finish: Sustained notes of ripe mango, persistent aromatic passion fruit with a lingering and refreshing lime lift.




    Belvedere Lemon Tea
    Belvedere Lemon Tea represents the ultimate refreshment. Created specifically with poolside and garden parties in mind, Lemon Tea is the perfect partner for BBQ’s and beaches. Made with real fruit and botanicals with no added sugar, Belvedere Lemon Tea is macerated with an aromatic blend of green tea, black tea, chamomile, lemongrass, honey, ginger, lemon and rosebud – steeped directly in the vodka. Although still not fully confirmed, blue skies and sunshine were also believed to be included in the maceration process.

    Tasting Notes
    Nose: Soft and spring-like with inviting notes of cut grass, chamomile, freshly brewed green tea, fresh hay and lemon grass with a hint of honeyed black tea.

    Palate: Bright, fresh and buttery with notes of warming ginger, malted black tea bringing a good tannic structure with slight honeycomb sweetness. Fragrant and sweet, the zesty notes of lemon peel, green tea and honey bring energy and softness in equal balance.

    Finish: Creamy and mellow with persistent notes of baked citrus fruit, biscuit, coconut with a hint of black tea tannin on the finish.






    Belvedere Pink Grapefruit
    Bursting with 3 1/2 grapefruits in every bottle, Belvedere Pink Grapefruit creates a truly zesty and refreshing cocktail. By steeping a fresh blend of Argentine and Spanish pink grapefruits, French ginger and Spanish lemons directly into our luxurious vodka, Belvedere ensures that these vibrant flavors are delicately and deliciously drawn out. Belvedere Pink Grapefruit is the refreshing and vibrant result.

    Tasting Notes
    Nose: A rush of bright and refreshing sweet citrus lift, with notes of ripe grapefruit flesh, spicy ginger, and a hint of vanilla.

    Palate: Soft, sweet and rich with a velvety texture and vivid pink grapefruit tartness tempered by hints of warming ginger and lemon peel. Medium bodied with a good balance of acidity and spice.

    Finish: Sustained notes of fresh citrus with a persistent sweet spice warmth and soft cream and vanilla back palate.




    (BELVEDERE) RED
    In 2011, Belvedere proudly joined forces with (RED) to launch a Special Edition bottle. 50% of profits from the global sale of (BELVEDERE) RED is contributed to the Global Fund to fight HIV/AIDS in Africa. Learn more about RED and how you can help here by visiting JOIN(RED) or the official Belvedere website.

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