Rolov Mild Imperial Spirit

Today I noticed something I had never seen before. Behind the counter, hiding beside the vodkas on the bottom shelf, I saw an uninteresting bottle labeled “Mild Imperial Spirit”. This obviously interested me, so I purchased a bottle for £9.99. The off-license doesn’t let you pay by card unless you spend over £10, but the lovely woman made an exception this time.

I cannot think of a more pointless drink than Rolov not-vodka

I cannot think of a more pointless drink than Rolov not-vodka

When I got home I poured myself a glass and read the label. It was at this point that I realised why this drink is called Mild Imperial Spirit. It only has an alcohol content of 30%. Thirty fucking percent! I could have walked 10 minutes down the street and bought a 37.5% bottle from Tesco for 2p cheaper, but now I’m stuck with this silly little drink. This is vodka with 1/4 of the alcohol missing! As far as I’m concerned it’s a mixed drink.

When I said the bottle was uninteresting, I wasn’t lying. Rolov comes in a plain bottle with a red cap, and has a white label with (mostly) black text. The label seems to only contain what is legally required. It appears to be made by a company named “Strathendrick Vintners”, but a Google search of the name returns no results whatsoever. Whoever makes this drink clearly doesn’t like to give out more information than necessary. From my understanding of vodka, it is made by distilling it to around 95%, then watering it down to the required strength. This means somebody has went to all the effort of distilling vodka, then said “Yeah, just fire in more water. It’ll be fine.”

Rolov Mild Imperial Spirit is a colourless drink which lies about being vodka. In the bottle it smells like regular cheap vodka. When poured into a glass it smells like acetone mixed with water. On the first taste, Rolov is quite flavourless and neutral with a slight but firm burn on the way down. It certainly isn’t tasty, but you can swallow it without instantly vomiting. After about 10 seconds, the inside of your mouth will begin to writhe and burn, while an overwhelming taste of hot plastic cripples every exhaling breath you take. After two glasses you’ll have a splitting headache and no will to drink, but you’ll know you need to finish up, otherwise you’ll be left with more for another day.

When I picture this drink being made, I imagine some kind of machine which twists giant sheets of plastic until vodka juices out. Kind of like how you would juice an orange, but with plastic instead. I know that isn’t how plastic works, but I can’t imagine how else you would make a drink like this. I didn’t think you could create a spirit which is less alcoholic than vodka, burns more, and tastes worse, but the boys at Strathendrick Vintners have found a way.

Booze Review rating:
3/10 deliciouses

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4 Responses to Rolov Mild Imperial Spirit

  1. Louise says:

    I can’t believe this stuff still exists! And the exact same label, too (maybe they can’t afford swish advertising and re-designs).

    Way back in the mists of time, circa 1990, nearly out of teenagerdom by a few months, I bought cheap (probably THE cheapest) vodka from a local newsagents, expecting a night of merriment and hijinks, fuelled by a 1/4 bottle of Rolov.

    Big mistake. This is why this stuff stays in my memory. I drunk this vile concoction once (the fact it’s not described as “vodka” anywhere is probably a red flag) and spent the whole evening with my head down the toilet. I don’t think I’ve ever been so ill, before or since.

    I remember thinking at the time that it didn’t taste very much like vodka, that it was quite sharp and chemically, but I soldiered on as it was made halfway-drinkable with fresh orange juice…..your “acetone” comment is pretty much spot-on.

    The fact it was sold to me as “vodka” probably violates some trade description laws nowadays, but those times were simpler and we were all more trusting.

    Buy it at your peril. Your stomach will hate you for it. Or was it just me that had this violent Anti-Rolov reaction?

    PS: The younger version of me still lived with my mum. When I got home from my evening of Vomiting Hell, I sneakily tucked my vomit-encrusted jeans into the washing machine, hoping to bypass any deeper discussion.

    Dammit, she called me down the next morning and asked me what had happened to my jeans. I told her it was pizza. It’s sort-of true, if you count pavement pizza. She said nothing, and washed them anyway.

  2. rb says:

    think this review is harsh and makes you look ill informed really… you keep saying its pretending to be a Vodka – NO it isn’t, you clearly said multiple time that it clearly say ‘Imperial spirit’. At no point does it claim to be a Vodka, in fact you bought it because it WASN’T a Vodka and it intregued you apparently, then you moan about the fact that you got exactly what you bought.

    Imperial spirit is classed as a clear distilled alcohol that has UNDER 40%

    Vodka is a distilled spirit that must legally have OVER 40%

    you got exactly what you bought and paid for which was clearly marked, the fact you dont know alcohol classifications is not the manufacture fault. You might as well of bought Gin and moaned its not Vodka for all the rediculousness of this article.

  3. Pauline says:

    I’m going sober for October and my drink would be rolov. I was wondering would you like to be willing to sponsor me, its for Cancer.

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