Lars Olsson Smith, a Swedish businessman and politician, was the first who had a continuous column distillery in Sweden in the 1870s. It allowed him to produce a much cleaner and neutral liquor that had been produced in Sweden until then. Lars named his product “Absolut rent brännvin” which means accurately “absolutely pure burned wine”. Brännvin today is usually translated into vodka, but originally it meant burned wine or brandy. The wine was an alcohol used in the first distillations in Scandinavia. Since then, it was learned to make a mash from grain for distillation, but the “burned wine” stays as the name for distilled, clear liquor.
Lars Olsson naturally did well with his own, significantly cleaner vodka compared to other producers. In 1917, however, the Swedish state took over Absolut’s production, providing a state monopoly on the alcohol production. For decades, Absolut was mainly sold only in the Swedish market, until in the 1970s the company that produced it began to look for new markets. Absolut Vodka was released in the US in 1979 and through aggressive marketing it has become one of the best selling vodka in the world. The brand was acquired by Pernod Ricard in 2008 for EUR 5.8 billion.
Absolut Vodka is produced in the small town of Åhus in Sweden. The raw material grown near the distillery is winter wheat, which simply means the wheat sown in the autumn and collected in the next year autumn. According to the manufacturer, vodka does not contain added sugar or other additives. One of Absolut’s trademarks is an iconic bottle resembling a medicine bottle. Absolut is priced in the middle class, in Estonia a 50 cl bottle is usually on sale for about € 10.
The aroma is neutral, light and has a slight hint of industrial ethanol. The taste is very soft, the burn is light and short. The taste has a slightly burnt grain aroma and a very delicate vanilla tinge. The aftertaste is soft, very slightly spicy and dry, but not bitter.
Absolut is a neutral, smooth and dry, very clean vodka. Sipping it neat is very easy, but maybe it is distilled even too neutral, I miss the grainy aroma. At the dining table while drinking on shots, it is easy, neutral but quite dull. Absolut suits more for mixed drinks, for which it fits naturally as a very neutral vodka. I tried it with orange juice and if the mixing ratio is right, I don’t feel the taste of alcohol at all. Absolut is best for those who don’t want any taste of alcohol in drinks. To the dinner table, I would choose some fairly more original and grainy vodka.