A NEW THEORY CONCERNING THE DISTILLATION AND AGEING OF VODKA, WITH REFERENCE TO  MENDELEEV

David Wansbrough

Dear members of the Russian Academy. I wish to be one of you. I desire to be an Academician. Allow me to present an Abstract of my Chemical Theory that gives total insight into the chemistry underlying the psychology of all true Russians. The theory also expounds the chemical properties of Vodka.

We all know that Dmitri Mendeleev wrote about the beneficial qualities of very strong alcohol in his candidate’s thesis. He suggested that 38% alcohol was a fine and balanced proportion. He justly deserves his many monuments all over our dear homeland. Whether it is true or false that he actually endorsed the brand ‘Russian Standard’ with its perfectly balanced 40% alcohol content, is irrelevant, because his fame has attached itself to it. It can be attested and celebrated that the great man brewed and fermented much grain and potatoes and then as the tenderly evaporated vapours rose in glass coils and cooled, the condensed alcohol was allowed as pure spirits to drip into flasks… All for the sake of science (oh yes, and it should be noted in passing that he also wrote the Periodic Table of Elements).

But allow me to present my theory.

Dear Academicians, please think of the stoic and patient lonely Scots waiting 25 years as Scotch Whisky matures in oak barrels. The part that evaporates through the wooden containers is known to even stern Presbyterians as: ‘The Angels’ Share. What remains of a 25-year-old Single Malt brew for the first wee dram is said to be mellow and soft and warm and yet apparently gives energy. (Please, dear President of the Scientific Academy of the Russian Federation, give me a grant that I too may verify this…).

We can observe the sensual French…  Those epicureans take their time when it comes to producing flavours in food to savour. So much so that good normal healthy conquering Russian soldiers occupying Paris would shout, “Bistro!” to hurry the cooks up.

The French can allow a Cognac to ever so slowly mature for 50 years before slurping, -or wait even longer for a Napoleon Brandy.

Even the crass Americans with lots of ‘know-how’ and the urge to  ‘get it done now’ can produce Kentucky Bourbon ‘whiskey ‘ aged for five years so that a mysterious ‘e’ can be added to the word,  ‘whisky ‘.

But it is unknown if Vodka chemically improves with age. We all know that we Russian scientists immediately open the bottle to propose toasts to Dr Mendeleev and “drink as soon as the bottle is on the table… ”

(This report of the Abstract of the scholarly paper delivered by Prof. A. Zapoy was taken down in shorthand by a visiting Australian observer,  D. Wansbrough).

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