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Best of the Best 2013: Spirits: Beluga Gold Line Vodka

Because vodka and caviar is among the world’s great pairings, Beluga Gold Line Vodka (www.vodka-beluga.com, $149), with its individually numbered metallic label, immediately caught our attention. To sample this new release, however, we had first to contend with its elaborate packaging. The open-front leather case must be unsnapped from the base on two sides to pivot the bottle out and away from the tube encircling its wax-covered cap, which in turn is secured by a wire cage. Yet this soft and creamy vodka proved well worth the effort. Beluga Gold Line uses grains harvested from the Siberian plains and is distilled in the Kemerovo region of Siberia using naturally purified, hyaline artesian water. Its complex flavors are heightened by the addition of golden malt spirit, rice extract, and extract of Rhodiola rosea. The result is an unusual, multidimensional vodka. We often think of Siberia as a place of exile, but we are pleased that this vodka escaped.