If I had to list my top three spirits, vodka probably wouldn’t be on there. Or even in the top five. But once in a while a spirit comes along that changes your view and perception of the category. Whilst it might be too early to say for sure Cardrona’s the reid, looks set to be the tipping point for me.
It’s the first vodka from New Zealand I’ve ever had the pleasure of sipping and it arrived beautifully presented in a wooden box with a celtic-like symbol on the front - the logo of the Cardrona distillery. The vodka is housed in an elegant, water droplet-shaped bottle that's certainly inviting to look at, and a tribute to its pure local water source. With a respect for the surrounding land at the core of production, the team at Cardrona distil using this local water alongside high quality malted barley.
But the story really starts with a passion to create a single malt whisky that could represent New Zealand, before the vodka ever came into fruition. Desiree Reid, founder, kicked off the journey in 2011, and began travelling the world to work with the finest distillers across the globe from the US to Scotland. In 2013 she sold-up her farm to build the distillery and in 2015, the first run of liquid began. From there, Cardrona has now crafted a portfolio of spirits, including the vodka.
The Cardrona team describes the vodka as ‘decadently rich’ and I would have to agree. The spirit itself is creamy and inviting. It’s incredibly sweet on the nose (which is ideal for my sweet tooth) with notes of toffee, caramel, butterscotch. At times it almost reminded me of Fruit Salad sweets (in the best way). Taste follows through, with an exceptionally buttery mouthfeel. It’s truly a delicious sipping vodka and that’s not a label I’d give to many.
This is not a spirit to be wasted in a simple vodka & soda or masked in sugary 90s cocktails, such is the fate of many vodkas. This is a vodka that stands on its own two feet and it’s no surprise then that this family-owned distillery is rapidly growing and winning awards. At a time where the world is actively searching for vodkas from new areas, it feels like the reid could be the answer for many vodka fans. I’m certainly excited to see what’s going to be coming out of this new-ish distillery in the coming years.
Currently available at Harrods and selected Waitrose stores across the UK: RRP £55.00 for 700ml
[Items in this article may have been gifted to Chatting Food. No financial payment has been made to feature in this article, and entries to the feature are made independently by members of the Editorial Team. This page contains affiliate links and we may receive a small commission for purchases]
Chatting Food contributor: Lucie Rhoades