Seeking Polish or Russian vodka
I myself don't like vodka much and anyway I can't drink more than a glass of wine a week due to meds I take for what we old timers used to call rhumatiz.
However, my father really liked a Polish(I think) vodka that was made with potatoes. The bottle was very Soviet Union style spare. Is it still around? Anybody heard of it?
Luksusowa and Chopin are the two most widely available Polish potato vodkas, they should be in just about every state (except maybe Utah!). Luksusowa is considerably less expensive than Chopin and has more of that "old world" look and taste.
Although I'm Polish, my family was into beer and not vodka.
The Polish vodka I see around the most at Polish and Russian places is Chopin ... but it is made from organic potatoes ... who knew ... and the bottle is kinda stylish.
That doesn't mean much as packaging might have changed since that time.
Wikipedia has a list of vodkas ... maybe something will stir memories, name-wise.
Most of the Russian and Polish stores in SF sell Polish/Russian vodka. The best selection I've seen is at Delikateski in Concord. Then there's always Voda, the vodka bar in downtown SF. Maybe they might know.
Here's another link about potato-based Polish vodkas with pictures. I would guess none of the are what your dad drank.
Vodka need not be made from potatoes. It can be amde from grains, such as rye, which I have been told make the best vodkas. I think Ketel One and Grey Goose both have no potatoes in their mash. There are other Polish vodkas, such as Wodka Wyborowa, Luksusowa, Stawski Prawdziwa Zytnia Koszerna Vodka, Debowa, Zubrowka, and Jarzebiak. I think only Luksusowa is unflavored potato vodka.
Isn't Belvedere a Polish vodka? Though I think their bottle is beautiful, and wouldn't consider it "Soviet Union style spare."
You may be looking for Monopolowa (pronounced Monopolova). It is probably the very best value in potato vodkas (much cheaper than Chopin and Belvedere) and is based on an old pre-war Polish recipe, although it is actually made in Austria. It definitely has a spartan Soviet-style label.
The Wiki article has a picture...