Wednesday, 31 August 2011

The umami of vodkas

When I think of Sweden, the things that come to mind are ABBA, Scania, IKEA and Volvos. Having recently been given a bottle, I’ll now add the stylishly packaged Purity Vodka to that list.

Purity Vodka 

Purity is what they call “an ultra premium vodka” and in a category above the widely known “super-premium” Belvederes and Grey Gooses that one now sees in bars and clubs throughout the land. The super-premium category, which also includes the likes of P. Diddy’s Cîroc, Ultimat and Kauffman, is said to be - even in the current downturn - the “fastest growth area for vodka."

Described by Lifestyle Magazine as having brought about a “redefinition of the vodka category,” Purity is one that its makers go as far to suggest is “not made to please everyone.” Lifestyle adds that Purity is like the “fifth taste sensation” that I’ve written of previously - umami. They state that this is a vodka that is “packed with minerals and has a sweet-and-salty accent” and as a result I'd suggest it is as polarising in a  “love or loathe” kind of way as Marmite.

Vodkas like Russian Standard and SKYY are distilled just 4 times. Purity, however, is distilled 34 times and the result is a taste profile of far greater depth and character. During these distillations some 90% of the liquid is lost leaving a liquid that is so pure that the filtration process that form a necessary part of the manufacture of the majority of vodkas is not even required. Purity’s makers call this “the perfect cut.”

A pint of Purity Blood Shot Bloody Mary

The 13th century Ellinge Castle in the south of Sweden is the suitably romantic location where Purity’s master distiller, Thomas Kuuttanen, conducts this process that borders on alchemy. Kuuttanen is plainly the Heston Blumenthal of vodka making and very much like Laura Santtini’s revolutionary umami paste, his is one I highly recommend trying.

For my original piece about umami and Taste #5 Umami Paste see

Purchase Purity Vodka from Lea & Sandeman in Fulham, Notting Hill, Chiswick and Barnes ( for £42.50 a bottle. Alternatively, buy online from at for £40.59 a bottle plus delivery.

For more information on Purity Vodka see


Simon Baker said...

I sampled this vodka at a drinks show at Earl's Court recently and was blown away. It is expensive but it is one that I'll be ordering for my bar. Great that you shared this information. Thanks.

Annie Bruni said...

Is this available in Safeway yet in CA?

Jane Russell said...

Which supermarkets can I buy this in? Is it available at Waitrose?

Filli Falt said...

Thank you Matthew, I will try the vodka for you ;-)

C. D. Lynch said...

I asked about Purity Vodka after reading this at Waitrose. No sign of it and the manager at Gloucester Road had not heard of it (mind you, he's never heard of anything I ask for). The Purity people should go and see him and persuade him to stock it as I like the idea of trying a vodka with a taste instead of the boring bland Belvedere that all my friends drink like it is dishwater. If this vodka is as good as you describe it is worth the price of £45 as opposed to Belvederes £34.