Small-Batch Potato Vodka That Exemplifies Authentic Character Within The Vodka Category
A New Chapter For A Legendary Potato Region
The story of Karlsson's begins in the region of Cape Bjäre, located on the southern tip of Sweden. Long renowned for its potato production, the picturesque area saw land values dramatically increase in the 1990s due to tourism growth. This, combined with the challenges of being an independent farmer dealing with a volatile and unpredictable market, made the future of potato farming uncertain in Cape Bjäre. Enter local businessman Peter Ekelund, already a vodka legend for having launched the iconic Absolut brand in the United States. Ekelund saw an opportunity to create a new market for local potatoes and reintroduce Swedish potato vodka to the world. He rallied Cape Bjäre farmers to start a cooperative in order to share resources and develop a more sophisticated approach to bringing potatoes to market.
Cape Bjäre Virgin New Potatoes
The heirloom varietal potatoes grown in Cape Bjäre are called "virgin new potatoes," because they are picked early in the season when the skin has just barely begun to form. The developing skin is so delicate that it is stripped away during the process of washing. The young potatoes are extremely flavorful, due to the concentration of flavors from the lack of starch. Additionally, the absence of skin means the absence of impurity, allowing the essence of the potato to shine through the vodka.
The Return of Swedish Potato Vodka
With some of the finest potatoes in the world to work with, Ekelund set his sights on bringing authentic potato vodka production back to Sweden. Absolut had originally been produced from potatoes, but switched to winter wheat in the 1970s.
Making vodka from potatoes is extremely expensive; it takes ten times the potatoes to produce the equivalent yield of wheat, and the tiny virgin new potatoes of Cape Bjäre are among the most expensive potatoes in the world. The end product justifies the effort, however, creating an exceptionally rich and complex vodka that could only be achieved with such a premium base ingredient. The skin-less potatoes are so pure that they require only one distillation. Any further distillations would strip the flavor and complexity out the vodka.
Ekelund teamed up with some of his former associates from Absolut, including legendary master blender Björe Karlsson (after whom the vodka was ultimately named), as well as bottle designer Hans Brindfor and marketer Olof Tranvik, both of whom were instrumental in the success of Absolut.
Karlsson's Gold Vodka was released to spectacular media acclaim in 2007, signaling the return of Swedish potato vodka.
Karlsson's Gold Vodka is a blend of several different varietals of virgin new potatoes from Cape Bjäre, Sweden. It is handcrafted, single-distilled and unfiltered to preserve the flavor and character of this rare and expensive raw ingredient. The varieties of potatoes include solist, gammel svensk röd, princess, sankta thora, hamlet, marine and celine. Each varietal is distilled only once through a continuous column still lined with copper. The varietals are then blended without charcoal filtration, which would remove valuable flavor elements. The resulting vodka is full-bodied and rich, with a distinct viscosity and mouth-feel that is unlike other vodkas on the market today. Although it is designed to be served neat, on the rocks or in a martini, we suggest you also try Karlsson's Gold with fresh cracked black pepper or as a unique base for your favorite cocktail. 40% ABV
- Gold Medal - WSWA Tasting Competition, 2016
- Finalist, 91 Points, Excellent, Highly Recommended - Ultimate Spirits Challenge, 2014
Karlsson's Vintage Batch Vodkas are the purest and most individual expressions of our exquisite raw ingredient: the virgin new potatoes of Cape Bjäre, Sweden. Master Blender Börje Karlsson discovered not only that did different potato varieties produce different tasting vodkas, but that the same variety from different years produces different tasting vodkas. As always, Karlsson's Batch Vodkas are distilled only once, and left unfiltered to showcase the purest natural expression of the potato. Only 1,980 bottles of each of these limited edition vintage vodkas exist, and are available in select markets across the US while supplies last.
Karlsson's Vodka Batch 2008 was released in April 2012 and is made exclusively from the 2008 harvest of the gammel svensk röd ("Old Swedish Red") potato from Bertil Gunnarsson's farm in Cape Bjäre. "Old Swedish Red," as the name implies, is a slightly reddish heirloom potato varietal that is grown exclusively on Gunnersson's farm. Börje Karlsson selected it for this special release because of all the potatoes harvested in 2008, this variety had the best natural taste and character. 40% ABV
Karlsson's Vodka Batch 2009 is the second release in a Karlsson's series of limited edition vintage vodkas. It is made exclusively with the 2009 harvest of solist virgin new potatoes from the Mäsinge Lantbruk farm in Cape Bjäre, Sweden. The solist potato is round to oval in shape, with an off-white flesh and thin, easily-peeled, pale yellow skin. Solist potatoes are generally planted very early in the season, between the end of March and the end of April. This variety is also used in Swedish cuisine, often served boiled with just sea salt and dill. Because of the early planting, they can be harvested from the end of May through August. This early harvest, potentially before the Swedish celebration of Midsommar, makes the Solist highly sought after in early summer. 40% ABV