One ingredient that I had never seen as a vodka base is maple syrup. I figured: "Hell, they use it to flavor Bashah, the Stone/Brewdog collab beer and that's fantastic. Wonder what else it can do?" Vermont Spirits, distilling in...well...Vermont, makes a vodka that uses fermented maple syrup as a base. This is cool, says I. That probably tastes awesome. My fondest family trip memories were going to Mt. Trembland in Quebec province of Canada. They had this tiny little "sugar shack", or maple syrup manufacturer's shack, that sold maple syrup and maple sugar. One of their most delicious treats was ladling hot and sticky maple syrup onto fresh snow. It cooled into this sticky sweet and slightly buttery maple taffy that you would roll up with a Popsicle stick and eat as you walked. I always ended the day with my face coated in a fine patina of mapley glue that would freeze in the sub-arctic winds of Canada turning my face into the human version of that self-hardening ice-cream fudge. The Vermont Spirits people were kind enough to send me samples of their stuff and I obliged them by sampling them. I tell you this, however, to tell you about their OTHER vodka.
It's made with milk.
Yep. You read that right.
They ferment milk and distill it. Simple as that. Sounds horrible in theory, honestly. In practice...it is a gift from the Bacchus. It is -THE- perfect White Russian vodka. Here are the notes for the neat spirit:
Nose is sweet. It has the standard ethanol burn and sizzle with a clean sweetness to it. The milk base comes through though. You can really tell it's milk. It doesn't have that clean, sterile smell of grain or potato but rather a slight creaminess behind the ethanol.
The taste is amazingly delicious. It is rich and creamy almost like a fresh whole milk. It is exceedingly smooth with a clean alcohol taste. No congeners in this stuff, it's a nice cut. Makes me wonder if the heat denatures some of the milk proteins at all. The finish is long and lasting, almost like an alcoholic milkshake.
The White Russian with this bad boy is a religious experience. With normal vodka, the vodka tends to "water down" the creaminess in some way. The viscosity gets thinner and the fatty richness of the milk is diminished. Not with the White. It cradles that succulent taste and cares and nurtures it. It blossoms with milk added. It has almost an...alcoholic creaminess. It's very good. Mine I made with hazelnut Kahlua which made it like a Nutella Russian. So very good.
Summary: buy it.
Technical EDIT: Vermont Gold is made from maple sap, technically. And Vermont White is made from just milk sugars. Close enough.