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Published:  23 July, 2008

By Jack Hibberd

Diageo's Reserve Brand Group (RBG) is launching a new luxury' extension to the world's largest vodka brand: Smirnoff Penka - The Finest Cut. RBG has also developed a new serve, the Smirnoff Penka Duo, to differentiate the new vodka in an increasingly saturated super-premium market. The Duo consists of a double shot of chilled Smirnoff Penka, served in a tailor-made long-stemmed crystal shot glass, together with a non-alcoholic cocktail shooter. The idea is to sip one and then the other in order to bring out the nuances of the vodka. With an RRP of 26.99, Smirnoff Penka is a Polish Rye vodka distilled three times, with the final distillation in a pot still. We only take the product from the fourth hour of the six-hour distillation, what we call the "finest cut",' said master distiller Ken McLachlan. We tasted the vodka that came off the still throughout the process and decided it was during this time period that the resulting vodka has the best balance of flavour and nuances.' Unusually for a vodka, Penka is being launched in the UK before the two strongest markets for luxury vodka, Russia and the US. We decided on the UK for the launch as we have the [RGB] up and running with a full sales force, marketing team and support structure. Also the UK's bar scene is so vibrant at the moment that we felt it would give the brand the perfect platform,' said account manager Emily Wheldon. Penka will be available in bars and prestige retail accounts' from 7 August.