That old saying about not judging a book by its cover is used as a metaphor for just about any product you can think of, and it’s often right—except when it comes to liquor. It’s a safe bet that a brand’s not going to spend 10 to 30 percent of its budget on packaging if what’s inside is, say, bubblegum-flavored vodka. Anestasia, a new vodka that launched just last month, is as much a design piece as a bottle of booze. If I had loads of extra cash lying around, I’d buy a few just to class up the bottle skyline of my bar. But would I also drink the vodka?
To be sure, Anestasia’s packaging is sharp (literally). It was dreamed up by Karim Rashid, the industrial designer whose sofas, for instance, will set you back as much as some BMWs, and is of clear glass with angles pointing this way and that. You’d be forgiven if you thought it was a sculptural miniature of a Frank Gehry building. I had trouble opening the thing—the ultra-sticky transparent tape on either side stumped me for a minute—but the cap comes off smoothly, almost luxuriously.
The vodka also pours with sophistication. Marketing boasts—“ultra-premium!” “gluten-free”—turn out to be unnecessary. As the bottle would lead you to believe, this is excellent vodka. Ukrainian-born distiller Yuliya Mamontova named the vodka for her grandmother, who also manufactured the spirit back in the motherland. Anestasia is made in Bend, Oregon, however, where the combination of clear water from the Cascades and the volcanic soil informs the vodka’s terroir, if you will. (And if terroir can endure after extensive filtering and distilling.) The brand is trumpeting Anestasia’s sweetness, and I concur that it does have a syrupy mouthfeel with a tinge of sweetness, maybe from the corn that’s part of the ingredient list (unless that’s just the power of suggestion). I sipped it after dinner over a giant ice cube, and it did the trick—refreshing, elegant. I also would recommend mixing it with tonic and a hit of citrus, if drinking vodka unfettered isn’t your thing. Or heck, just leave it in that beautiful bottle and gaze at it from across the room.
Buy Now: $38 at andrewswinecellar.com