Liviko and Altia are the largest alcohol producers in Estonia and are naturally well aware of what the other is doing and what new products are being launched. It is very typical that if one develops something new, the other will have a similar product on offer in a few months. This is clearly shown in the area of flavored vodkas, where both offer an almost similar selection. There is cranberry, blackcurrant, lemon and now the latest flavor is rhubarb, which has been recently launched by both producers. Viru Valge Rhubarb is part of Liviko’s “cocktail spirits” series, where there are currently five different titles. According to Liviko, they can all be enjoyed neat, but they are better optimized for making cocktails. The raw material they use is rectified spirit distilled in Latvia and for it there is added rhubarb extract (hopefully made by Liviko itself) and sugar. The light reddish color of the vodka may come from rhubarb, but perhaps also from the dye. A 50 cl bottle costs in stores between € 7-9.
The smell is rhubarb, very straightforward. The taste is also, rhubarb is on top, there is a bit of a spicy aroma in the background. The taste is sweet at first, but the sweetness disappears quickly, probably under the influence of a rather pungent ethanol burn. The aftertaste is already quite dry and slightly bitter. The good thing is that sugar has not been added too heavily. I added a little soda water to the glass, but because of the mouth-drying combination of rhubarb and ethanol, soda water isn’t a good companion with it. The sweet tonic water works better. I made a cocktail with ice and tonic water. Rhubarb is predominant in it and mostly masks the spices of tonic water, but in a drink, rhubarb feels somehow artificial and essential. A small amount of lemon juice balances the combination and these three ingredients make for a fairly fresh and pleasant drink. Viru Valge Rhubarb is a very straightforward rhubarb spirit, neat it is quite drinkable, although a little too ethanolic and bitter. It works better in mixed drinks and especially with some sort of sweet mixer.