A brand of Polish vodka.
Spirits reached Poland from Italy and Germany in XIV century. It is beyond any doubt the Poles acquired this ability earlier than any other Slavonic nations. This new technology resulted in a drink called gorzalka , an amalgamation of gorzale wino meaning burnt or scorched wine. Initially, gorzalka’s popularity also stemmed from its “healing” benefits, and it was not until the early 15th century that it become more firmly established as a social drink. The earliest written reference about vodka in Eastern Europe dates from 1405. It is claimed that the word vodka originates from Poland and is a diminution of the Polish word “woda” which means water. The word is also supposed to indicate an improved version of original. Originally, the word “vodka” was a generic term that also encompassed various vodka-based remedies, fragrances, and cleansers, the word “gorzalka” was generally used in regard to the social drink.
The first reference to a modern type of vodka dates back to 1534, when Stefan Falimirz in his work “On herbs, and their properties” described a sophisticated methods of distillation ensuring the unusual purity of the liquor. It is no doubt the ancestor of vodka as we know it today. The author also described how the distillate was mixed with herbs and other flavourings.
By the first half of the 16th century, vodka was all set to begin its phenomenal rise as a social drink after King Jan Olbracht passed a statue allowing all Poles to produce and sell alcohol. By 1550 a significant amount of vodka was being distilled in Cracow, Gdansk and Poznan. In Poznan alone there were 49 distilleries, and every larger country estate and monastery possessed its own distillery. Vodka was also used as a currency in which craftsmen from Poznan regularly paid for goods supplied from other cities.
By 17th century vodka was firmly established as the national drink which each social class relished. In the 17th and 18th centuries, the larger country estates and monasteries had their own stills, recipes were invented. New recipes were created and production techniques improved, among them triple- distillation. Changes in the base ingredients were the crucial factor. Potatoes replaced in majority rye, and profitability leaped. While vodka produced from potatoes was the most popular, rye-vodka remained a specialty and the main source of Polish vodka. At that time Polish vodka reached the Netherlands, Denmark, England, Russia, Germany, Austria, Hungary, Moldavia, Ukraine and the Black Sea shore. In the late 18th and early 19th centuries, the distilling industry expanded at home stills and small- scale enterprises. The large distilleries specialised in purifying spirits and producing alcohol beverages accordingly to their own recipes. Some of the distilleries operating in Poland today including Wyborowa SA, are the direct heirs to these traditions. In those days the recipe of Vodka Wyborowa was invented that considerably contributed to the development of the distilling art, perfected by the Poles over many centuries.
Vodka Wyborowa history and dates
In 1823 Hartwig Kantorowicz established in Poznan one of the most modern plants in Poland In the same year, a Polish newspaper Izys Poland or Diary of Skills, Inventions, Arts and Handicrafts offered vast reward to the first person who would produce vodka that was sufficiently refined to drink it straight. The jury consisted of a panel of scientists and connoisseurs. Farmers brought their products to be judged by expert panel. When Hartwig Kantorowicz presented his vodka, the president of the judging panel proclaimed it being “Exquisite” what was supported by the rest of the panel. The Kantorowicz vodka was acknowledged being the best in Poland. The uniqueness of Wyborowa applied to rye as the only ingredient used for production and the new method of rectification.
In 1927 Wyborowa became the first registered vodka brand name in the world and at the same time the first brand of vodka exported outside the country of production. The Poznan distillery kept producing vodka during WWII, in spite of the terribly difficult conditions of the time. After the war, Wyborowa became the flag brand in Polish vodkas both in Poland and abroad. It is awarded more than 22 gold medals and several other trophies in the greatest international fairs. The recipe and production process of Wyborowa was perfected since 1823, but its essence remains the same since the time of Kantorowicz.
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