How To Tell The Difference Between Standard, Premium & Super Premium Vodka

It’s fairly common for people to assume that all vodka tastes bland and isn’t a good drink for leisure – and they’re missing out. While it’s true that most of the cheaper-end vodkas are used with a specific purpose in mind, there are a host of different options that can make for the most satisfying taste experiences in cocktails and as a standalone drink. Therein lies one of the key distinctions between the different kinds of vodka: standard, premium and super, the way they taste.

However, there is plenty more other than taste that distinguishes each type from one another. Craftsmanship, distillation, consistency and texture all come into play. This article details the nuances between a standard vodka and a super-premium vodka.

What Is Considered A Standard Vodka?

These are the types of vodka you would expect to find in your local supermarket or corner shop and is also commonly referred to as ‘bottom shelf vodka’, with Russian vodka such as Smirnoff being a classic example. The defining factors will often lay in production as well as the raw materials used to make the vodka.

The use of lower-quality ingredients is common in standard vodka during the fermentation process, such as potatoes and sugar beet, as opposed to premium vodka's use of higher-quality grains. The product often undergoes less refinement throughout the distillation process, with the goal of providing a standard vodka flavour rather than anything remarkable.

A "good" vodka has the quality of not leaving a strong aftertaste or sensation in the mouth. Standard vodkas occasionally produce this and have a pronounced ethanol smell when taken neat. However, a normal vodka drink can still be immensely delightful with the correct mixer. Another benefit is that regular vodka is far less expensive than premium ones.

How Can You Tell If Vodka Is Premium?

Contrastingly, premium vodka will place an emphasis on taste and texture by utilising different ingredients, production methods and distillation processes. The taste will be more refined, often with a neutral base alongside subtle hints of herbal or earthy tones. This will often entail bespoke botanical infusions at a specific point in the production process, such is the case for X MUSE vodka which contains hints of lemon zest and grist.

The ingredients that go into the vodka are often heavily considered and chosen specifically. The ancient aquifer at Scotland's Bonnington Estate, in the centre of Jupiter Artland, is where the water used in X MUSE is obtained. Selected for its purity, the water has been elevated above ground and purified below.

Premium vodka undergoes a significantly more stringent distillation procedure to improve the final product. Frequently, the liquid will also undergo additional distillation, as indicated by terms like "triple distilled" or even "5x distilled" on the label. Another factor is what the vodka is passed through while being distilled, which may include quartz sand and other high-end materials.

Super Premium Vodka: What is The Highest Quality Vodka?

Superpremium vodka is a concept that is easy to grasp but rather difficult to define. For some, the price is the biggest indicator of super premium vodka and for others in a similar vein, the significance of branding power is yet another. Most vodka connoisseurs will agree though that craftsmanship and quality are the fundamental factors that vodka has to have in order to fully be considered a super-premium vodka.

You might expect the production to involve distillation processes that are either guided by centuries of tradition, or that adopt the most cutting-edge and innovative solutions. The same can be said for blending that may occur as well as the selection of ingredients.

X MUSE is the first blended barley vodka distilled in Scotland, a country with centuries of spirit-making tradition. X MUSE is the first blended vodka to be produced using barley. And not big agri-business barley but two heritage varieties, Plumage Archer and Marris Otter, grown in the UK and distilled separately. Carefully selected pure water, a considered blending method and an innovative approach to the entire production process all serve as an indicator of the craftsmanship and quality that goes into X MUSE vodka.