Neft is the vodka that comes in a miniature oil drum. The biggest question you may have is that when you see Neft on the shelf, there are white cans and black cans. What’s the difference? Nothing. The vodka inside is the same in both, so pick the can that appeals to you the most. (The mini barrels aren’t just to stand out: They’re insulated and will stay cold for up to 6 hours, according to the company. They’re also suitable for outdoor use, since they can’t shatter if dropped.)
Produced in Austria (not Russia, as the Cyrillic on the label might have you think) and distilled from rye, the vodka may have more than its share of gimmicks to confound you with, but the finished product is actually quite fine. The nose has an earthy quality and a very gentle petrol note, but nothing remotely overwhelming, merely hinting at walnut oil and graphite.
On the palate, the vodka sweetens up just a bit, while still maintaining some Old World charm. Hints of ripe banana, sesame oil, and a spritz of tangerine peel give it a lift, though its heart belongs to the underlying rye grain — gently spicy with lingering cereal notes that hang on through to the finish.
It’s a fine mixer and works well enough on its own. The oil drum container, of course, is a whole other conversation piece.