Żubrówka Bison Grass Vodka Review

Żubrówka is a celebrated vodka made using bison grass. In this review, you will discover Żubrówka Vodka as I cover the following topics:

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Drink Overview

  • Distillery: Polmos Białystok
  • Expression: Żubrówka Bison Grass Vodka
  • Variety: Vodka Liqueur
  • Region: Białystok, Poland
  • Age: NAS
  • Casking: N/A
  • Cask Strength: 37.5% ABV
  • Pricing:
    • Drizly: From $26 / 75 cl [Buy Now]
  • Parent: Sojuzplodoimport

As mentioned in the introduction, Żubrówka is made using a 14th-century recipe. However, it was first commercialised in 1928. It is primarily produced at the Polmos Białystok distillery in Poland. However, sometimes it may also be made in Belarus. Each bottle has its a decorative blade of bison grass. However, the flavour is extracted by steeping hand-picked bison grass blades from the Białowieża Forest in alcohol. The essence is then filtered to remove sediment and added to the vodka.

Żubrówka Bison Grass Vodka Sky Background

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Żubrówka’s Robe

Żubrówka Bison Grass Vodka Robe

  • Hue: Lime Cordial
  • Clarity: Mostly Clear
  • Viscosity: Moderate

Żubrówka has a distinctive lime cordial colour. It’s faint, but there’s this yellowish-green tint. The liquid itself is quite clear. You may get a little bit of sediment from the blade of grass in the bottle, though.

In terms of viscosity, you’re going to get some nice scallops on the side of the glass. It seems to be relatively unctuous for a vodka. Nevertheless, it’s worth noting that it’s technically a liqueur given the additives and 37.5% ABV.

Żubrówka’s Nose

  • Notes: Hay, Vanilla, Rosemary
  • Nosefeel: Prickly

Żubrówka has a prickly nose feel that is rich in aroma. Expect some notes of hay, soft vanilla, and then aromatic herbs such as rosemary. It’s not intense nor overly complex, but it’s very balanced and it’s harmonious.

It’s going to give you a lot of aromas and it’s very pleasant as well, even though it’s quite prickly and it does burn. There’s a little bit of pepperiness at the back. You’re going to get some nice rich aromas.

Żubrówka’s Palate & Mouthfeel

Żubrówka Bison Grass Vodka Bottle & Glass

  • Primary Taste: Sweet
  • Mouthfeel: Creamy
  • Opening: Lemon Zest, Grape, Cinnamon
  • Heart: Anise, Cardamon, Coconut
  • Finish: Moderate [Tonka Bean, Rose]

Żubrówka delivers an overall sweet primary flavour. However, it could arguably be umami, because it features savoury and herbaceous notes as well. Its mouthfeel is very creamy and envelops the palates.

For a vodka, it’s very rounded and smooth. The opening consists of lemon zest, a twang of citrus, and then you’re going to get white grape, and a hint of cinnamon. The latter is a precursor to the spiciness of the heart. Once you get into the heart, you may detect hints of anise, maybe a hint of cardamom.

Interestingly, it also produces a note of coconut that contributes rounded sweetness before you finally get to the finish, which can be defined by tonka bean and rose.

Indeed, the finish is quite floral but gourmand towards the end. it lingers well with a medium to long finish. Furthermore, it’s much more complex on the palate than on the nose. You do have a nice array of different rich flavours in the bouquet.

There’s a nice crescendo from the start to the finish. It’s relatively harmonious with good balance. Similarly, it spreads its weight evenly across the palate.

Finally, Żubrówka was actually illegal in the USA until recently because bison grass contains trace amounts of coumarin. Therefore, a new formula was made just for the American market. Since this is a European bottle that I’m drinking, I’m afraid that I can’t comment on how close it is to the US recipe.

How To Drink Żubrówka Vodka

Needless to say, the best way to drink something is the way that you enjoy it the most. Yet, if you’re new to Żubrówka, we’re happy to give you a few pointers.

Firstly, Żubrówka is very pleasant to drink neat. It’s smooth and flavoursome even at room temperature. However, it’s best served chilled from either the fridge or freezer. Ultimately, the temperature depends entirely on your personal preference.

You can have it in a shot glass or even in a nosing glass to capture its flavour. Check out our guide to the best glassware for a few suggestions.

Otherwise, Żubrówka is an excellent cocktail ingredient. Rather than using more conventional vodka, its herbaceous flavour can produce an extra level of complexity to your drink.

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Żubrówka Cocktail Suggestions

Dirty Martini Cocktail

As mentioned above, Żubrówka is surprisingly versatile for creating different cocktails. For instance, here are a few of our favourite Żubrówka cocktails:

  1. Tonic
  2. Vodka Martini
  3. Moscow Mule
  4. Apple Zu
  5. Vodka Gimlet

Generally, Żubrówka pairs well with citrus fruit and produces rich and zesty flavours. For instance, it can be part of a simple Vodka Tonic with a wedge of lime. Meanwhile, it can offer additional complexity to a classic vodka martini.

Otherwise, consider using it as a substitute for regular vodka in a Moscow Mule or instead of gin in a Gimlet. Finally, it is traditionally enjoyed with apple juice, which is sometimes referred to as an “Apple Zu”.

Best Pairings With Żubrówka

Żubrówka Bison Grass Vodka & Connecticut Cigar

First of all, Żubrówka is great with vanilla ice cream. That said, consider also trying it with somewhat acidic fruit sorbet like raspberry or lime.

Meanwhile, seafood is a great choice. A typical tradition in some parts of Scandinavia is to have akvavit and seafood like langoustine or crab. You could certainly have Żubrówka instead given that many Scandinavian akvavit is quite herbaceous and rich in fennel.

Finally, we’re big fans of cigars here at Bespoke Unit. My pairing recommendation would be an Oliva Connecticut Reserve. It has quite a potent profile for a Connecticut cigar with nutty characteristics.

Both the Connecticut Reserve and Żubrówka have similar levels of body. Therefore, they’re not going to overpower each other. Otherwise, another type of Connecticut cigar that is quite smooth on the palette would marry well with the Żubrówka.

Overall Experience & Value For Money

Żubrówka Bison Grass Vodka Bottle & Glass On Desk

Żubrówka has a distinctive bottle with a bison in a clearing. There’s text underneath, which in my case is in French. However, I imagine it’s different for every country. Around the bottle are extra blades of grass, an additional logo, and a bison pressed into the glass.

As mentioned earlier, the bison grass inside is purely decorative. It’s a great touch, though. Meanwhile, there’s no additional packaging to the bottle. In terms of formality, it’s very versatile. It’s great for casual drinking or special events, especially if you are hosting a party with guests who have an Eastern European heritage.

Finally, it costs just $26 in the USA whereas it’s about 15€. All in all, it offers great value for money, especially given the unique experience that it offers.

Closing Thoughts

Richly-flavoured, smooth, versatile, and easy to drink, Żubrówka is a vodka that simply stands apart. Some purists may argue that it isn’t technically vodka. However, those who cherish it realise that it doesn’t matter. After all, it’s a very pleasant drink!

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"A refreshing and richly-flavoured spirit that offers a pleasant experience for even those who typically don't like vodka."
Bespoke Unit Rating: ★★★★

Further Reading

Once you’ve finished reading our review, feel free to peruse our wide range of related content such as the following resources:

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