Spirits Review: Finlandia Tangerine Fusion

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Finlandia Tangerine Fusion tastes like chewable Bayer baby aspirin. Dead ringer. There's also a touch of sweetness which, combined with the aromatic chemicals, makes the vodka go down surprisingly easy.

I'm certain that the Finlandia folks, and bartenders who have adopted this new flavored vodka, are full of fabulous recipes that make use of the vaguely citrus flavors crammed in. But, with simple ingredients like fresh OJ, orange zest, and even orange oil readily at hand at bars that bother to try a little, the real question isn't what you'd do with it, but why bother?

I've expressed my disdain — if not actual dislike — for flavored drinks, and for vodka in general, so perhaps I'm not the ideal person to review this newish flavor from Finnish liquor company Finlandia. Or maybe my love for the hearty Fins and the frozen tundra they call home will counteract those ill feelings towards anything as silly and inappropriate as cramming aromatic nonsense into bland ethyl alcohol.

Oh, um, perhaps I betrayed my feelings there. It's just difficult to have sympathy for any nation that can concoct a flavor as profoundly odd as the one that wafts from a glass of Finlandia Tangerine Fusion. The first whiff comes across as an orange scratch-and-sniff circa 1985, the kind of concentrated faux-citrus flavor that seems more appropriate, these days, for infomercial cleaning solutions or truck stop air fresheners.

But wait, Finlandia uses only natural flavors in its Tangerine Fusion. Of course, when they say natural flavors they're likely talking about atoms stripped from plants and recombined by chemists in a lab, not a few pounds of tangerine run through a food processor.

With the first sip of the vodka, I immediately peg the flavor thanks to a long childhood of aches and pains:

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