The word 'vodka' means "little water" in Russian. In 1474 a state monopoly for its production was intriduced by Ivan III.
A few centuries later Catherine the Great granted the right to distil spirit to the gentry, who turned vodka production into an art form.
The first luxury vodka, produced in aristocratic households, was of such a superb quality, that Catherine II did not hesitate to bestow gifts of vodka on European monarchs and intellectual luminaries. Vodka made for the masses, however, remained of dubious quality.
Therefore, in 1894 D.Mendeleev, a prominent Russian chemist, developed a perfect vodka formula, which became the benchmark in mass vodka production and ensured exceptionally high standards of the national spirit in the Soviet years. Luxury vodka also continued to be made after 1917, but its consumption was restricted to the party elite. It was not until the collapse of the Soviet Union, that the old Russian luxury vodka began to experience renaissance. A product of unrivalled heritage, quality and style, it remains the most sought-after vodka in the world.