While there, he shared the story of how Chopin Vodka — named after Poland’s most famous composer — came to be and changed the spirit’s landscape over the past three decades.
“Vodka [was] something that most of us … consume[d],” he said, “but nobody really [knew] anything about it.” Dorda decided to change that by creating Chopin, the world’s first luxury vodka. In doing so, he helped to shift its perception. Once known as bland and boring, it is now recognized as a nuanced spirit, meant to be savored and appreciated.
Over the years, Dorda’s potato distillation garnered impressive accolades for potato-based vodka, including gold medals from the Chicago Beverage Testing Institute and double gold at the San Francisco World Spirits Competition.
Today, Chopin is still a small, family-owned business that operates out of a distillery in Poland. It is known for its three single-ingredient vodkas—made with potato, rye, and wheat—as well as Chopin Family Reserve, a one-of-a-kind, super premium potato vodka.
What makes Chopin Family Reserve special, Dorda said, is that it is made with a particular type of potato that contains almost no starch. These potatoes—harvested about three months earlier than usual, at the peak of summer while still young and tender—were carefully distilled to retain as much of their earthy flavor as possible. Next, the spirit sat in 50-year-old Polish oak barrels for two years. Finally, the vodka was hand bottled for distribution.
Dorda suggests enjoying it neat to truly appreciate its earthy sweetness and top notes of licorice and clove. “We’re very proud of it,” he exclaims. “We do everything ourselves.”
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