Viru Valge Cranberry (37.5%)

Viru Valge is the flagship product of Estonian Liviko Distillery and one of the oldest alcohol brands still in production. Nowadays the raw material for Viru Valge comes from Latvia, where Liviko delivers grain grown in Estonia. So, in terms of its raw material, it could be said that it is Estonian vodka. However, according to the new EU law, rectified spirit must also be distilled in Estonia in order for vodka made from it to be labeled “Estonian Vodka”. Liviko acknowledges this with the text “Taste of Estonia” on the label. In addition to traditional vodka, Liviko also produces six different flavored vodkas, which are watermelon, pomegranate, cherry, green apple, rhubarb and cranberry. Cranberry vodka is supposedly made from rectified spirit, water, sugar and cranberry juice concentrate. A 20 cl bottle cost €3.50.

The color is a pale red, somewhat like you would expect cranberry vodka to be without any dyes added. The smell has certainly a cranberry aroma, ethanol vapors also emerge nicely from the background. The taste is sweet at first, but the taste quickly turns sour and dries the mouth, perhaps due to the combined effect of cranberry and ethanol. Cranberry is the mean aroma on taste, but the berry taste is not exceptionally strong. However, it is a cranberry-flavored vodka, not a liqueur. There is just the right amount of sweetness and the combination of sweet and sour is really functional. Cranberry spirit is made by several Estonian (and Lithuanian) producers, Viru Valge’s version is one the best. Natural-feeling aroma, appropriate sweetness, moderate cranberry acidity, high-quality ethanol used as raw material – no complaints. By adding a little water, the cranberry flavor emerges and the taste is even more balanced. Clearly better when diluted with water or tonic. Neat sipped, maybe a little too sharp and acidic.


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