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In 1652 the nobility was granted the monopoly of its manufacture and sale; In 1925 it was turned into a Government Monopoly, easily sliding into the Communist vera concept of a state controlling companies – in the case Polmoz.
It was only after the fall of Communism in Eastern Europe that Polmoz was privatised and the brands snapped by Western companies like Pernod-Ricard.
By the time Poland entered the EU, everyone and her husband brewed vodka (I had some cheap yellow Vietnamese vodka in Singapore myself) so any Designation of Origin became impossible.
Today Polish vodka is defined as one produced exclusively in Poland, from potatoes or traditional cereals: rye, wheat, barley, oats and triticale (a hybrid of wheat and rye grown in Eastern Europe).
Firstly, potatoes arrived from the New World and, while the yield of their fermentation was poor, there was a lot more of them than rye, so vodka from potatoes became the new craze.
Secondly, Irish inventor Aeneas Coffey patented the single column still (the precursor of a modern distillation column) that would eventually allow spirits to reach purity of 95% alcohol.
In my recent trip to Poland I had the pleasure of being introduced to Polish vodka tasting by Pawel Dziubek of Dom Wina wines and spirits in the old Polish manor house (now a hotel) of Dwór Sieraków.
This blog post is based on his excellent presentation.