Top Pick Of The Week

December 7, 2010

Sub Rosa Saffron Vodka


Tarragon vodka? Saffron vodka? What may sound unusual is quite exceptional. Photography by Katharine Pollak | THE NIBBLE.

WHAT IT IS: Microdistillery crafted vodka flavored with tarragon or saffron.
WHY IT’S DIFFERENT: The flavors are infused with fresh herbs and dried spices, not created with essential oils.
WHY WE LOVE IT: The flavors are brilliant, an epiphany of how good flavored spirits can be. And perhaps that makes Sub Rosa the best vodkas we’ve ever had.

.Magically-Flavored Vodka From Sub Rosa

CAPSULE REPORT: We love them but we can’t figure out why these brilliant vodkas are named Sub Rosa.

As an adjective, sub rosa* means confidentially, privately, secretly. Why would anyone want to keep Sub Rosa Vodka a secret?

*Meaning “under the rose” in Latin, the term refers to the symbolic use of the rose from ancient times at secret meetings. It connoted the sworn confidence of the participants. Buy or rent The Name of the Rose with Sean Connery and a young Christian Slater as monks, and F. Murray Abraham as the inquisitor. The film is based on the historical novel by Italian philosopher Umberto Eco.

As it turns out, this craft microdistillery in Dundee, Oregon thinks that its sublimely infused and flavorful vodkas should be enjoyed by a secret brotherhood of connoisseurs. But we took no vow, and we’re not keeping it sub rosa. NIBBLE readers and their friends deserve a thrill like this.

You may have tried a flavored vodka. Like them or not, Sub Rosa vodkas are in a different category entirely. They don’t even live in the same country as “flavored” vodkas.

  • Sub Rosa vodkas are not flavored with essential oils, but infused with real herbs and spices. This makes a huge difference, whether in spirits, olive oil, vinegar or recipes.
  • For example, infusing cream with fresh mint instead of flavoring it with mint oil makes an enormous difference in ganache, custard, ice cream or anything else.

Continue to the next page to see why you’ll look at vodka very differently once you have your first sip of Sub Rosa Tarragon Vodka or Saffron Vodka. Hopefully, you’ll try both. The secret’s out of the bag.

You can also look at the article index below.

THE NIBBLE does not sell the foods we review
or receive fees from manufacturers for recommending them.

Our recommendations are based purely on our opinion, after tasting thousands of products each year, that they represent the best in their respective categories.

Books That Catch The Spirit

The Vodka Bible The Art Of Distilling Whiskey The Book Of Gins And Vodkas
The Vodka Bible, by Paul Knorr. The history of vodka, great vodka cocktails and a comparison of the world’s famous vodkas. Learn more.

The Art of Distilling Whiskey and Other Spirits, by Bill Owens and Alan Dikty. A fine enhancement to the enjoyment of spirits. Learn more.

The Book of Gins and Vodkas: A Complete Guide, by Bob Emmon. History, production, extensive tasting notes of the best brands. Learn more.


This is Page 1 of a two-page review. Click on the black links below to visit other pages:


Continue To Page 2: The Sublime Flavors Of Sub Rosa Vodka


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