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Ketel One Vodka

by Eunice Fried

Jun 1, 2018
June 2018

IT WAS IN 1691 IN THE DUTCH TOWN of Schiedam that Carolus Nolet made his first spirit with the goal of creating an exceptionally fine, smooth vodka. Today, 327 years and 11 generations later, the Nolet family still makes exceptionally fine, smooth vodka, producing the spirit in Schiedam and still using Carolus’ original copper pot still, along with other stills and modern distilling techniques.

The vodka, in fact, is named after the origins of the 1691 batch. Taking the Dutch word for “pot still,” distilleerketel, the family named the vodka Ketel One, honoring the pot still used to make the family’s first vodka.

Today, the 11th generation continues to combine traditional methods with modern distilling in making Ketel One. It begins with European winter wheat, ground and blended with water to form mash. The mash is fermented and put through a column distillation. Part of the wheat spirit is then re-distilled in copper pot stills. After the eight-hour process, the harsh and weak parts of the distillate are discarded, leaving the prime hearts, then filtered and ultimately blended to create the vodka’s silky character.

The Nolet family currently offers three versions of its product. All contain 40 percent alcohol. All are water-clear. And all are likely to be among the silkiest vodkas you’ve ever tasted.

Ketel One Vodka is fine-textured and smooth, slipping seamlessly down the throat. Its body is rich and round and polished — altogether an elegant, inviting vodka that offers a long, satiny finish.

The flavors of Ketel One Citroen are highlighted by the essence and oils of two kinds of lemon plus a small amount of lime. They add a clean, zesty fragrance to a silky vodka, and those flavors linger on through a long finish.

One whiff of Ketel One Oranje and the aromas of Valencia and Mandarin oranges greet you. The bouquet of these two aromatic fruits gives the vodka a lovely floral tone and adds a minute hint of sweetness to the finish.

The prices of Ketel One vary, but most run about $36.

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