Xellent Swiss Rye Vodka

Difford's Guide

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alc./vol: 40%

Proof: 80°

Vintage: Non-vintage

Aged: Unaged

Product of: Product of Switzerland Switzerland

Xellent Swiss Vodka is made using two types of Swiss rye: Matador and Picasso (Picasso being dominant). Distillerie Willisau source rye grown in the alpine foothills at altitudes of 500-800m and have contracts with farmers there to help control the quality of the rye used.

The fermented mash is distilled in 17 traditional, small pot stills, each with a 500l capacity. The raw spirit produced by this first distillation is then redistilled using a tall 45-plate column still. The spirit is then further rectified by a second pass through the column still to produce a 96% alc./vol. distillate. This is rested in vats for a couple of months before being diluted with water from the Titlis glacier in Engelberg (Mountain of Angels) at the heart of central Switzerland. The vodka is then rested for a further six months prior to filtration through active carbon and an additional "secret filtering technique" is performed prior to bottling.

One of the first Swiss vodkas to be launched after the 1999 change is distilling legalisation in Sweden. The Affentranger family, who own the distillery that produces Xellent, helped lobby for the law to be changed. Their distillery, Distillerie Willisau, was founded in 1918 and lies in the town of Willisau, north of Lake Lucerne.

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Review and Tasting

Sampled on 07/01/2012


Crystal clear.


Minerally nose with subtle hints of cherry and dark chocolate.


The enveloping palate continues the theme with grainy mineral and green tea accompanied by hints of oily bitter chocolate and maraschino cherry.


Lightly spiced finish ends with a bitter chocolate dryness. A most unusual vodka.

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Closure: Screw / Stelvin cap

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