Tuesday, 13 October 2015

Berlinsterdam Booty Part 3: Berliner Brandstifter

Berliner Brandstifter and friend
Welcome to part 3 of my new series in which I evaluate the various spirits I brought back from Amsterdamand Berlin… actually around a year ago now. Shows how far behind I am with the writing of things, doesn’t it? A quick apology too; I don't seem to have a proper picture of it. Sometimes these things happen, ok?

Well, I really need to cobble something together here, as looking over my notes, I haven’t managed to write too much about this up to now.

I picked it up from Berlin’s Finest Whisky on the recommendation of the proprietor there, and it was 22 euros 50 for 70cl and 38 ABVs. As I stated in my earlier travelogue (if you can call it that), going in favour of Berliner Brandstifter (arsonist) was that only 1000 bottles are produced every year, that each is individually numbered – something sought out in the scotch whisky world – and the stated unique selling point that this brand of korn (essentially German vodka) has been filtered so many times that everything that could possibly give you a hangover has been taken out of it – presumably including 2% of the alcohol. How they found the specific 2% that causes headaches, anxiety and insatiable thirst, we just don’t know.

There’s a problem with that last claim anyway; I’m never going to drink enough of it, on its own, to give me a hangover – I’m always mixing my drinks, and I seldom have more than one glass of any particular product in an evening. So I was never going to find out whether it is possible to have a hangover or not from drinking the Brandstifter. Being an experimental booze blogger, you’d think I’d be interested in finding out, wouldn’t you? But I’m not. I’m far more interested in enjoying this at my own pace and in comparison with tried and tested vodkas to see which I prefer.

I’ve read also that Berliner Branstifter is best served neat at 1 degree in a frosted shot glass – but is drinking vodka worth that much effort? How do you achieve this one degree? Isn’t putting it in a frosted shot glass enough?Again, I never actually found out as I was just enjoying it neat and at room temperature, as you should be able to enjoy all spirits.

It is nice, taken on its own terms, and if you like vodka – probably about as good as the Stoli Red, though 2 ABVs lighter and a few pounds pricier.

In fact, in a direct, blind taste test against the Stoli Red I actually made the incorrect idenitification. Yes, sorry to shatter your illusions, but I am only human after all. I decided though, that Mrs Cake had provided verification too soon and should have allowed me to finish the samples and change my mind before revealing the true identities of our combatants.

Nevertheless, there was very little to choose between them. The Berliner was smoother with a less tart finish and, while I initially put this down to the seven times filtration, it later occurred to me that it might be the lower ABV. This also led me to conclude that it might be slightly less interesting and complex than the Stoli. Still, in terms of flavour, very comparable.

Pablo, of Much of a muchness fame was very impressed with the Brandstifter. I told him it was basically German vodka and he said it lacked that “hairspray” taste that vodka tends to have, and you can understand that he considered this a good thing. I followed it up with a Stoli Red to see what he thought in comparison, and he preferred the Brandstifter.

As far as I’m concerned, I have concluded that it doesn’t quite trouble the Stoli at the top of my vodka rankings. After all, it is weaker and a bit more expensive.  It is worth a try though, and if you are the kind of person who drinks a bottle of vodka in a night, this could be the answer to your prayers.

Right, that’s it. I’ve tried padding this out, and I’m out of ideas. I’ll be back next week, no doubt trying to pad out part 4 of this odyssey, when I’ll be looking at Maldoror absinthe.

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