There are some occasions—like say a birthday, or anniversary, or maybe ringing in a new decade—that prompt us to go all out. Celebrations such as these are just the right place for bringing out the top shelf vodka. Often these releases will have a fancy bottle design, so they make nice gifts as well. Each bottle on our list has a unique feature about its production to qualify for our recommendations. These vodkas are designed to be consumed neat, but don’t let that stop you from mixing up your favorite vodka cocktail. If you’ve got the dough, why not throw some in a punch? We only live once!
This top shelf vodka uses San Francisco Bay fog in its production. The fog is captured using mesh netting with the resulting water droplets falling into a receptacle for collection. The water is then carbon-filtered, boiled, then re-filtered and added to the still-proof vodka to bring it down to 80 proof. The vodka itself is distilled from chenin blanc & viognier wine sourced from California’s Pine Ridge winery. All profits go toward water conservatory in California.
Crystal Head Aurora is the luxury release of Crystal Head Vodka, a brand owned by noted Ghostbuster, Dan Aykroyd. The grain used here is English wheat, rather than the peaches and creamed corn variety used in the brand’s original version. After distillation, the vodka is filtered seven times with three runs through Herkimer quartz “diamonds”. The packaging mimics the natural light phenomenon in the Earth’s sky called an aurora.
This ultra-premium vodka first hit the market in 2003. Elit by Stolichnaya is made using “freeze filtration” which is inspired by the old Russian tradition of leaving casks outside in plummeting winter conditions. This grain-based vodka—wheat and rye—is bottled at 80 proof.
Introduced in 2017, Carbonadi Vodka is distilled in Piedmont using organic wheat sourced from the surrounding Italian Alps along with Alpine water. It is distilled through active charcoal and then filtered through carbonados—microporous black diamonds. Lastly, the vodka is micro oxygenated, a process often used in winemaking to soften tannic wine. This top shelf vodka is bottled at 80 proof.
This top shelf vodka is a collaboration between the French vodka brand and legendary chef Alain Ducasse. While the flagship Grey Goose is made with French wheat, this one takes it a step further. The Ducasse version is made from three types of toasted French wheat—light, medium, and dark toasted.
Beluga Gold Line Vodka is made with grain like its other bottlings. This version however is filtered five times rather than three for its Beluga Noble bottling. Additionally, additives such as milk thistle extract, oat extract, honey and vanilla are included. This limited edition top shelf bottling comes with a hammer and brush to assist with the removal and clean-up of the wax bottle enclosure.
Chopin Family Reserve is made with estate-grown young potatoes (aka new potatoes) which were planted during the 2016 growing season. Four times the amount of potatoes are used here compared to the brand’s flagship Potato Vodka due to the low starch of young potatoes. After distillation, the vodka rests for two years in 50-year-old Polish oak. This limited edition vodka was released in spring 2019.
Elyx is made from 100% single-estate winter wheat sourced from the Råbelöf Castle near Åhus where Absolut is made. It is distilled in a single column still made entirely of copper. “Lyx” is the Swedish word for “luxury”.
SRP $ 49
U’luvka is a Polish vodka distilled from wheat, rye, barley and oats grown in the Wielkopolska region of Poland. The bottle design is “inspired by ancient alchemist distillation vessels”. Some bottles are sold with two drinking vessels which have no base, a gentle suggestion to never put your glass down.
SRP $ 60
These single-estate vodka releases from Belvedere each gets all of their rye from a selected farm in Poland. Lake Bartężek is in northeastern Poland and Smogóry Forest is in western Poland. The farmers each use the Diamond Dankowskie rye variety grown on their respective estates. These top shelf vodkas are intended to explore the idea of terroir. Why not get both bottles and do a taste test yourself?
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