Архи! Архи! Архи!—A detailed study of Mongolian and other regional vodkas

Matt’s work has been keeping him occupied and inspired. He comes home at the end of the day talking about how motivated his colleagues are. Surely this means he’s too exhausted to continue working after hours? But no,  he has been doing a little of his own external research, and has now prepared a white paper on his findings. While the research is Mongolia specific, I suspect the findings are universally applicable. So I thought it was only fair to share.

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Objective

The objective of this study was to quantitatively determine which regional vodka provides the best value for money. The secondary objective was to determine whether vodka companies are abusing the trust of consumers by selling products that all taste the same at a range of different price points.  Colloquially, the sub-objective question may be phrased as: ‘are vodka manufacturers taking the piss?’.

Method

Seven different vodkas at a range of price points were selected and administered to the sample group (which constituted 81 per cent of the population) in a blind format. Gherkins and water were administered in between tastings to cleanse the palates of the subjects and minimise the risk of tainted taste buds. All participants scored the vodkas for ‘aroma’, ‘smoothness’, ‘crispness’ and ‘overall taste’, and a total score was awarded.

Limitations

This was a single-blind trial, and as such there is some chance that the chief vodka administrator (the ‘Khan’) inadvertently introduced some bias to the study. However, it was determined that for the sake of ensuring that all vodkas were of drinkable quality, the Khan should participate in the tasting. A second limitation is that the trial only contained a relatively small number of the vodkas that are available in Mongolia. It is therefore recommended that further testing be undertaken in case there are other, better value-for-money vodkas available.

Results

The vodkas included in the study were as follows:

Vodka Name Price per litre (MNT) Price per litre (AUD)
Vodka 1 титэм           20,299  $         13.53
Vodka 2 эрөөн           10,799  $           7.20
Vodka 3 Evok           43,000  $         28.67
Vodka 4 Chinggis Grand Khan           16,299  $         10.87
Vodka 5 Беленькая (Russian vodka)           34,699  $         23.13
Vodka 6 Viva           15,499  $         10.33
Vodka 7 Chinggis Platinum           27,500  $         18.33

The scores given by the study participants were as follows:

Name Vodka 1 Vodka 2 Vodka 3 Vodka 4 Vodka 5 Vodka 6 Vodka 7
Matt 11 8 10 6 11 12 11
Alex 11 11 7 8 13 14 10
Gemma 12 7 4 8 13 10 11
Kate 11 8 12 10 14 12 11
Lucia 7 12 10 9 9 9 11
Jane 11 8 12 16 9 10 15
Kat B 10.5 9.5 4.1 14.5 10 10.4 11
Silke 7 10.5 9.5 16 5 12 12.5
Ashleigh 14 11.5 4 13 11 12 8
Stu 11 10 7 11 11 11 12
Pat 11 13 6 7 11.5 12 8
Lizzi 11 15 7 16 8 12 13
Casey 10 16 7 6 11 14 11
Average 10.6 10.7 7.7 10.8 10.5 11.6 11.1

The study participants’ rankings of the vodkas were as follows:

Name Vodka 1 Vodka 2 Vodka 3 Vodka 4 Vodka 5 Vodka 6 Vodka 7
Matt 2 6 5 7 2 1 2
Alex 3 3 7 6 2 1 5
Gemma 2 6 7 5 1 4 3
Kate 4 7 2 6 1 2 4
Lucia 7 1 3 4 4 4 2
Jane 4 7 3 1 6 5 2
Kat B 3 6 7 1 5 4 2
Silke 6 4 5 1 7 3 2
Ashleigh 1 4 7 2 5 3 6
Stu 2 6 7 2 2 2 1
Pat 4 1 7 6 3 2 5
Lizzi 5 2 7 1 6 4 3
Casey 5 1 6 7 3 2 3
Number of ‘wins’ 1 3 0 4 2 2 1

In addition, a ‘refinement rating’ was given to each participant. The rating was calculated by measuring the variance of each participant’s ranking of the vodkas with the ranking of the vodkas according to their monetary value. The lower the score, the more refined a participant’s tastes were deemed to be. The refinement rating results are as follows:

Name Rating Rank
Kate 2.857143 1
Jane 5.428571 2
Gemma 10.85714 3
Kat B 11.42857 4
Matt 11.57143 5
Stu 14.28571 6
Silke 22.57143 7
Alex 26.42857 8
Ashleigh 28.28571 9
Lizzi 36.28571 10
Casey 43.57143 11
Pat 44.28571 12
Lucia 47 13

Conclusions and discussion

Viva achieved the highest average score, and was the second cheapest vodka. Chinggis Grand Khan was the vodka that most people selected as their favourite vodka, but it only received the third highest average score. It was also more expensive than Viva. From a value-for-money perspective therefore, Viva is the most appropriate vodka to buy. Notably, the cheapest vodka, эрөөн, was significantly cheaper than the other vodkas, was chosen by three people as being the best vodka, and received the fourth highest average rating. It is also therefore worth considering.

Even more notable is that the most expensive vodka, Evok—which also came in the fanciest bottle—was the only vodka not selected as the best vodka by any of the participants, and received the lowest average rating.

The refinement ranking assumes that the value of the vodka is a true representation of its quality. It is therefore closely linked to the study’s secondary objective. Given that the author of this report (and Khan) is clearly the most refined out of any of the participants, it appears that value is not a good indicator of quality, as the author was only ranked fifth in the refinement ranking. In addition, given the scatter-gun approach to participants’ ranking of the vodkas, and the fact that six out of the seven vodkas achieved average scores within about one point of each other, it can be concluded that vodka manufacturers are indeed ‘taking the piss’. Another possibility is that the study participants are all unrefined louts who know nothing about vodka, but given the extensive alcohol-related experience of the group, this seems unlikely.

Recommendations

  • If you want to please as many people as possible, buy Viva.
  • If you want to please a few people greatly and alienate a few, choose Chinggis Grand Khan.
  • If you want to alienate everyone, choose Evok.
  • As a general rule, buy the cheapest vodka you can possibly find.

MI

Like what you read? We also have a blog about cycletouring in Europe. Check it out here: https://journals.worldnomads.com/katescarlett

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2 thoughts on “Архи! Архи! Архи!—A detailed study of Mongolian and other regional vodkas

  1. Hahahahaha!!! Hilarious. Did everyone drink them in the same order and the same amount? And what was the duration of this experiment? A couple of days? A couple of hours? xox

    Like

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