Let me start by saying many floral scents give me a raging migraine. When the bottle of Peony Vodka was sent my way I was both curious and a little afraid to try it. In fact, it took me quite a while to get the nerve to do so. I know, that sounds ridiculous. But seriously, when a migraine takes hold I’m down for the count. Migraines for me mean several days of body aches, dizzying nausea, and darkness.
Don’t even get me started on perfume. I wish someone would invent a perfume atomizer that only allows the recommended dose to come out every 24 hours to prevent cloying aroma caused from over use. When someone’s perfume or cologne is so strong I can taste it when I breathe it in, that’s just way too much. It’s like instant migraine.
Anyway, peony flowers are quite sweetly perfumed, so I was afraid. But then I opened the bottle for group tasting. Here’s what we all thought about it.
Three Meadows Spirits Peony Vodka product provided by brand representatives. All photos and opinions are my own and those of my tasting team unless otherwise stated.
Peony Vodka Review
70 proof / 35% alcohol by volume
Suggested Retail Price: $32 to $34
Website and social accounts:
First Impressions: After looking at that bottle sitting on my desk and then liquor counter for so long I never noticed something about the label. One of my team sat down at the table in front of the bottle and immediately noticed there is a different picture on the back of the label. It’s a beautiful outdoor scene. It’s a scene similar to this one on their website.
We also liked the bottle style. It’s tall and slender so it will never be lost on the bottom shelf at the liquor store. It is also easy to wrap a hand around it for ease of pour. Some bottles are odd shapes and kind of bulky making holding on to it to pour a little difficult. No problem with this one.
Did you see the neck of the bottle? Yeah. Those aren’t just random words. They are “words to live by” that capture the whimsical nature of the brand. That photo linked above contains all the “words to live by.” Just scroll over the people in the photo and the sayings will pop up. Go head. See for yourself. I’ll wait right here.
(tapping fingers, twirling hair, looking out the window)
Did any favorites pop out for you? I can totally relate to this one; “sooner or later we all quote our mothers.” Just ask my kids.
Color: Sparkling Clear
Aroma: As it turns out, there was absolutely nothing to be afraid of in this bottle. There is light sweetness and vanilla creaminess in the aroma. I detected angel food cake or tapioca pudding nuances. Buried deep in the aroma is a bit of soapiness. Others picked up on the vanilla as well, but more so the floral notes.
Tasted Neat: One taster mentioned its smoothness and that the flavor lingered on the tongue. Another mentioned that it burned a little. I found it to be lightly sweet with lilting floral notes and strong bitter herb that I couldn’t quite put my finger on. But what stood out the most was intense white pepper. Just as the floral sweetness rolls over the tongue the white pepper rises up in the middle of the tongue and lingers there.
Tasted with Ice: Once chilled and the ice begins to melt, there is almost no burn to the spirit. It actually mellows out a little while retaining soft sweetness. Everyone mentioned enjoying it better with a little ice. The floral notes were still there, but softer, less pronounced. I thought the white pepper became even more distinct. It is different than I thought it would be, but quite good.
Overall Impressions: Everyone agreed that this specific flavor was beyond the normal realm of flavored vodka. It is enjoyable, but not an everyday traditional sipping vodka. A couple of people mentioned this is the kind of thing they would purchase for special occasions or as something unique to serve to guests. It is also vodka that needs to be tasted before committing to purchase. It’s an acquired taste. This is not a flavor I would actively seek out, but definitely a spirit I would try in a cocktail at a craft bar.
Peony Vodka Spring Martini
Overall the vodka has nice flavor. I think it lends itself nicely to gin inspired cocktails that are meant to highlight the spirit rather than drown it in heavy flavors. There are many recipes to choose from on the Peony Vodka website like this one with jalapeno and lavender syrup. There are also recipes that are more recognizable like the Cosmo, Vesper and Gimlet. We skipped all those and opted to keep the drink simple and spirit forward.
The fresh citrus twist gives this drink a nice spring-like, sunshiny feel. Its flavor is light, refreshing, slightly sweet and very easy to drink. Peach bitters are a lovely complement to the spirit. We may or may not have had a few more cocktail rounds during our team tasting.
Spring Martini – variation created by Cheri Loughlin
2 ounces Peony Vodka
1/2 ounce Lillet Blanc
2 dashes Peach Bitters
Lemon or Orange Twist
Place vodka, Lillet, and bitters into a mixing glass with ice. Stir until well chilled. Strain into a chilled cocktail glass. Spritz a fresh citrus twist over the cocktail and then circle the rim of the glass with the peel. Drop peel into glass and enjoy!
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Cheri Loughlin is the Omaha writer and photographer behind www.intoxicologist.net. Email Cheri with comments and questions at str8upcocktails at gmail.com.