Image: NEFT vodka

It’s not every day that a bottle of a top-quality spirit comes across my desk. And technically it didn’t happen recently when I was presented with a fifth of NEFT Vodka, not because the vodka isn’t first-rate (more on which shortly) but because the object that was set down before me was a can. Yes, you read that right. Vodka in a can. The can, which actually resembles a barrel — which is how the product is marketed — reportedly keeps the vodka cold for up to 6 hours. I’ll let you decide for yourself whether the idea has practical applications.

But we are here to taste. Before we get to the actual sipping, some particulars on NEFT. It has received a 98-point rating from “Tasting Panel” magazine and was named one of the Best 20 Vodka Brands of 2020 by VinePair.

It has earned a slew more accolades, but one other feature of the product that impresses me more than awards is the fact of its planet-friendliness. The Austrian-based distillery where NEFT is made is moving toward 100% renewable energy. That barrel, moreover, is more recyclable than glass, weighs less (thus requiring less fuel for transport), and boasts a smaller carbon footprint.

So how does it drink? We put NEFT in a head-to-head taste test against Grey Goose, a consensus favorite among the testers, doing both shots and dry martinis. The martinis were presented sans olives, lemon peel, or other distractions.

The NEFT outperformed Grey Goose when consumed neat and held its own in the martini contest. I personally recommend drinking the product straight because it derives an unparalleled purity from the oxygen-rich spring water used in its manufacture in the Austrian Alps.

A suggested retail price of $31.95 compares favorably with other premium vodkas on the market.