Smirnoff is the world’s best-selling vodka. It was invented by Pyotr Smirnov in the 1860s in Moscow. Pyotr developed carbon filtration to remove impurities from the vodka. It quickly became a very popular vodka until the Russian Tsar in 1904 decided to nationalize all vodka factories. By then, Pyotr was already dead and the vodka factory was owned by his son Vladimir Smirnov.
During the October Revolution, Vladimir and his family fled the country and set up a new distillery in Istanbul and a few years later in Poland. The brand name then changed to Smirnoff. Vladimir initially had difficulties growing the sales and eventually during the Great Recession he sold vodka production rights and production in the USA. There, it gained great popularity through strong marketing and was already one of the world’s best-selling alcoholic beverages at the end of the 20th century. Today it is owned by Diageo.
Smirnoff vodka is sold at 37.5% in many European countries. This was possible after an amendment to the law lowering the limit for vodka from 40%. Diageo immediately took the opportunity. After all, 2.5% less alcohol is slightly cheaper to produce and also more tax-profitable. Especially when the price of a bottle in stores remained the same. Smirnoff is now manufactured in several different countries around the world. The product currently being tested does not state the country of manufacture. A 50 cl bottle costs about 10 € in Estonia.
The nose is very traditional from what you can expect from vodka. However, it is not strong and has a subtle grain aroma. The taste is very soft and light grainy. The burn is light and the aftertaste is sweetish and very neutral. A slightly lower alcohol percentage feels like general lightness. However, the aromas of the grain do exist, which means that it has not been filtered completely neutral. Smirnoff is a soft, light and well made vodka. It has managed to get a neutral taste, but still has light grainy aromas. Very easy to drink neat and naturally very suitable for different mixes.