In my quest to find the best vodkas of the world, I went to Denmark. Well, okay, I didn’t actually travel that far, but I did have to go 2/3rds of the way down the aisle of my local Sam’s Liquor store in Westminster, CO to discover Fris Vodka which is imported from Denmark. Fris is unique for two reasons:
- Fris Vodka uses a freeze-distillation process
- Fris Vodka is made from whole grain wheat as opposed to potato or other grains
These two differences in the making of their vodka give Fris Vodka a cleaner taste and just a hint of distinct grain flavor – so says, the Fris Company.
After reviewing and learning to love Svedka Vodka, I found it difficult to try something new. Normally, Fris Vodka is in the same price range as Svedka Vodka: $19.00 – $23.00. I made the mistake of paying $25.00 for it at Sam’s which normally has very competitive prices. Either the bottle was mismarked or they rang it up wrong at the counter, though my receipt did clearly say that I had purchased, Fris. Even at $25.00, it’s still quite a bit cheaper than Grey Goose, and comes highly ranked by Wine Enthusiast with a rating of 89. The Wine Enthusiast is the outfit that recommended and rated Svedka so highly. As I indicated in my review on Svedka , it had a ranking of 93 just below the much pricier Grey Goose at 94. With a rating of 89; the wine enthusiast obviously believes Fris belongs rated among the Best Vodkas along with Grey Goose, Ketel One and Svedka at 94 and 93. Does it really taste like an 89 compared to these other three Best Vodkas?
The Fris Company website has very little textual information. Instead, their information on the freeze distillation process is in the form of a clever, scientific video. The video essentially explains how the distillation through freezing solids does a better job of removing impurities, which in-turn, results in a cleaner, more refreshing taste. When I opened the unusual-looking, wide-mouth bottle, I decided to take the Fris Company to task on their recommendation for mixing a little vodka with warm water in order to get a better sense of the aroma and subtleties of its grain flavor. I did immediately note that the Fris has a stronger smell than the Svedka, which is not necessarily a good thing. One thing I’ve noticed about the cheaper Vodkas such as Taaka, is they have a pungent smell ever so slightly reminiscent of natural gas. The first sip of Taaka certainly has a bite when you first taste it that reflects its unpleasant aroma. The Fris Vodka had just a very small hint of this aroma, but still, a much, much cleaner taste than Taaka, overall. There is certainly no comparison between Taaka and Fris, but how does Fris compare to Svedla? Having had a couple of martinis with straight Fris these last couple of evenings, I am inclined to agree with the Wine Enthusiast. Fris is a few notches below Svedka. Some might prefer the grainier, somewhat heavier flavor of Fris, but my taste buds indicate that Svedka has a cleaner, lighter, crisper and fresher taste .The Freeze Distillation process sounds impressive, but in reality it doesn’t beat the $20 1.75 Liter bottle of non-freeze distilled Svedka. While I paid a little more for the Fris, my guess is that I can find either of these vodkas in the 1.75 bottles for $19-$24. For a $20 bottle of vodka, the company might have the edge in the marketing department, but not in the taste department. As far my ongoing ratings of the, ‘Best Vodkas’ are concerned, I do think Fris belongs on the list.
One other note: Many people do not digest whole wheat grains well. If you’re among those who prefer a gluten free or whole-wheat free diet, you will certainly want to avoid Fris. However, if you don’t mind wheat in your diet and want something a bit different that still has a clean, fresh flavor at a reasonable price, give Fris a try.
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