It’s unfortunate that some spirits simply get mislabeled. This isn’t the fault of the people who produce them, but rather fairly stringent and often draconian laws which surround the manufacture and sale of spirits in the US. A prime example of this is the mislabeling of Cachaca as “Brazillian Rum”, which is as inaccurate as calling Rhum Agricole “Martinique Rum”. Even though it’s one of the biggest selling spirit categories in China, Baijiu isn’t considered a category of spirit in its own right in the US.
The makers of Vinn Baijui have been forced to label this traditional Chinese spirit as vodka, even though it isn’t. Baijiu is a classical Chinese spirit which translates literally into “white liquor”. Baijiu is often made in China from sorghum whose flavor profile generally isn’t accisable to the western palate, or rice which can be much more accessible.
Vinn Baijiu “Vodka” (80 proof – $19.95) – is distilled from a blend of different rice. It’s tripple distilled but unfiltered which means it retains a lot of the characteristics of the base rice grain. The nose on a baijiu is an extremely important aspect of judging the spirit and the Vinn Baijui’s nose is simply entrancing. The nose has elements which remind us of the union of white whiskey and an unfiltered sake combining sweet high notes that smell a little like buttered rice and more savory and earthy undertones. We found ourselves nosing this spirit for quite a long time both trying to unlock the notes while also really enjoying how it smells.
The Vinn entry is very soft and slightly sweet with clear earthy brown rice tones which envelope the mid palate. The flavors intensify in the mid-palate and it picks up a very subtle rice vinegar undertone with a little touch of sea salt. The finish is extremely long with the slightest hin of heat and a lingering sweet brown rice flavor that sticks around long after the spirit is gone.
It’s an absolute shame that Vinn Baijiu has been shuffled off into the vodka category, because it simply doesn’t belong there. Regaurdless of how you label it, Vinn is an entrancing and delicious spirit that is amazingly accesible to the western palate. Vinn is a journey of scent and flavor that really drew us in and caused us to seriously spend time with it. Very Highly RecommendedVinn Baijiu Review by Geoff Kleinman