"All I want to know is who's the player on second base?"
I co-authored a vodka article awhile ago. Here is the link. I tasted them all slightly chilled neat.
Jewel of Russia Ultra and Chopin were my 2 favs by far. Both had a creaminess to them that all the others lacked. Skyy90 was not very good. The Jean Marc XO had a really nice cinnamon taste to it.
Famously, the New York Times conducted a tasting and Smirnoff won.
"Vodka tasting" seems almost an oxymoron to me, so it's hard to know where to start.
The ABC News test seemed well done. There are a million ways you could do such a thing. The result doesn't surprise me, just like all the tests that have been done proving Coke loyalists can't tell the difference between Coke and Pepsi.
There's nothing wrong with people drinking vodka, if that's what you like. There is a difference between "bad" vodka and "good" vodka. "Bad" vodka has a very chemical flavor and odor, and costs under $10 for a 1.75 L. "Good" vodka smells and tastes like water and starts at $15-$20 a bottle for a 750 ml.
For all the stuff above that, there are taste differences and you might find one you like better than another, but the price differences have nothing to do with additional quality. They are about provenance, packaging and marketing.
When the actual product cost so little to make, you can spend a lot on all that other stuff and still have enough left over for obscene profits.
If anyone believes a $200 vodka is ten times better than a $20 vodka, they deserve to have their pocket picked.
Col. Charles K. "Crotchety" Cowdery
"Whiskey Don't Keep."
As to the vodka I agree 100%. Super premium Vodka is as silly as "oxygen bars".
Saw the abc story on tv the other night. Loved the woman who hated the taste of her beloved Grey Goose. Makes sense given what vodka is.
I keep a lot of bourbons and scotches around, but am trying to pare down. Realized the other night that I like Knob better than Woodford, but will confirm it with a blind taste test, too.
Like to think that I can tell peaty Lagavulin from smoky Talisker. Harder to tell some of the other regional scotches apart, I think. Even there, I think there is diminishing returns for the 25 yr old and up single malts.
One of the most amusing stories I've seen is on Penn and Teller's BS show. They filled fancy water bottles from a garden hose and had a water sommelier sell people water for up to $$$ per bottle and they thought they could taste differences. They also compared NY city tap to bottled water and people liked the tap. You gotta see this story--it's great.
Have you seen the Myth Busters episode where they try and run bottom shelf Vodka through a Britta filter to make it taste like a "top shelf" Vodka?
Jamie, Kari, and a guy named Anthony Dias Blue did a taste test. Mr. Blue is listed as a "vodka expert" he is the executive director of the San Francisco World Spirits Competition.
They took a bottom shelf Vodka and ran it through britta filters 1-2-3-4-5 and then 6 times. They also had a "Top Shelf" vodka. Mr. Blue did a taste test and was able to put the shots in correct order, from the Un-filtered bottom shelf up through the various levels and then the Top Shelf.
His conclusion was that the extra filtering improves a bottom shelf vodka, but does not make it a top shelf vodka. Maybe a little off track on this thread but I found it kind of interesting.
They said they did a test of the chemical composition of the unfiltered and filtered vodka's and there was no difference between them...even after the 6 extra filtrations.
IMO Premium Vodka is far better than the cheap swill. But with some Vodka prices rising above $60, I could never justify that amount however the better $20-$30 bottling are worth it, (if I were a vodka drinker) because the generic bottlings are no better than terpentine.
To alcohol! The cause of, and solution to, all of life's problems.
I find this post very interesting. Because the vast majority of my friends are vodka drinker's. I can't tell the difference form kettle one, to grey goose, from whatever. Now there may be a little difference from say gordon's, but I would say its a huge difference. Most of my friends swear that kettle one is the greatest vodka ever. Myself, I don't see the reward in drinking something that tastes like nothing. I have however been able to sway at least one of my friends to at least think about drinking whiskey. I took him to a tasting and he is starting to see that there are many more flavor possibilities with whiskey. I gotten him to try and like some Bourbon, he likes some Scotch, and he likes almost all Irish whiskey I have shared with him. Maybe he is starting to see the light. But in this mix drink society we live in, young people(which I am) will probably keep drinking vodka. I try however to share some of my bourbon with those of my friends who are willing to try it. Most are pleasantly surprised.
In a word: no.
"Drinking when we are not thirsty and making love at all seasons… that is all there is to distinguish us from other animals."