We tasted 2 Polish vodkas made using the wine concept of ‘terroir ‘ — here’s what we thought

The new ‘Smogóry Forest’ and ‘Lake Bartężek’ vodkas from Belvedere Belvedere

You’ve probably heard of “terroir” (pronounced “terr-wah”) in wine.

In recent years the concept has spread to other produce, including coffee, and even honey.

It’s the notion that a particular region’s climate, soil, aspect and terrain can affect the taste – and that combination ends up being expressed in the contents of the bottle.

Now Polish vodka brand Belvedere – best known recently has the preferred base for James Bond’s martini in Spectre – has experimented with the terroir concept to launch two new vodkas it believes capture the distinctive taste of where the grain was grown and then distilled.

Belvedere, owned by luxury giant LVMH, says it’s the first time a vodka has been produced this way, from two regions 350km apart.

Of course Poland is known for the distinctive flavours of its vodkas, including one made with bison grass, which gives it a notable almond-like flavour.

In Belvedere’s case, both are made with the company’s signature grain, Dankowskie Diamond rye.

Given the sometimes overpowering alcohol taste of vodka, we thought it may be difficult to determine the subtle differences. That wasn’t the case.

Here’s what we thought.

The “Smogóry Forest” vodka is made from rye grown at a remote estate deep in western Poland, almost at the border of Germany, about a 4-hour drive from Warsaw, Poland’s capital.

The region is known for its vast forests, short, continental weather fronts, mild winters and fertile soils.

It’s a very savoury vodka, with notes of black pepper, and has a smoky aftertase.

The “Lake Bartężek” vodka is made from rye grown at a farm in northern Poland’s Mazury lake district, about a 3-hour drive from Warsaw.

This region is known for crystal-clear glacial lakes, weather shaped by Baltic winds and long, snowy winters. The rye in this region spends 80 days covered in snow.

Its flavour is much sweeter than the “Smogóry Forest” with cranberry on the nose, and on tasting there’s black pepper, toasted nuts and cream. It’s very thick and very mellow.

Both vodkas are great neat, on ice or in a cocktail.

But if you want to get your hands on some, you have a limited number of options.

There are no plans to sell these exclusive new vodkas in a retail store or online. You can only try them at Charlie Parkers and Smoke in Sydney, The Everleigh in Melbourne, Blackbird Bar & Grill, Byblos Bar & Restaurant in Brisbane and other leading bars around Australia. After they have been launched there, they will available for customers to purchase later in the year.