Vodka Shines In The Nothing Department
POSTED ON 9/29/2006 | PERMALINK |1 Comments | BOOKMARK

Unlike just about all other liquors, whiskeys, wines and beers, vodka is not about being distinctive (there’s that nothingness again). It’s about a lack of distinctiveness. Of course, this doesn’t keep marketers from trying to call attention to their brand’s distinctiveness. They make claims for the water used in the distillation process, and for the grain, vegetable or fruit used in the distillation (vodka can be made out of anything, and can be made anywhere).
What is the difference between most vodkas? Packaging, marketing and status. Oh, and price. When our tasting panel sampled vodkas back in January of 2005, the cheapest bottle, Smirnoff, came out on top over much more expensive, esteemed brands like Grey Goose. But really, the differences were very subtle, mostly having to do with smoothness and heat.
There are essentially two types of Vodka, those that are carefully distilled and those that are carried in the back pockets of alcoholics. This isn't the only taste test where cheaper vodkas like Smirnoff have come out on top. It's pretty hard to tell the difference. And even if there were a significant difference, it wouldn't matter as most vodka is drowned in Red Bull these days. Whiskeys and Gins offer variety and strong character. There's nothing wrong with drinking vodka, but it's a waste of time for enthusiasts looking for unique flavors and strong character.
previously on wtg:
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Blogger thumbuki said...

I'm not a vodka drinker. But I can certainly taste the difference between smirnoff and other vodkas. Smirnoff leaves a sustained bitter, high alcohol content after taste in my mouth. So strong, that it still comes across in mixed drinks, unless the vodka is highly diluted. Some higher end vodkas do this too, such as chopin, but not to the extent that smirnoff does. That being said, I prefer gin.

Not to long ago, some of us were having a discussion on anise and absinthe. darkstar wrote something that I think might apply here:

"In one of my physical anthro classes, we were discussing genetics. The prof gave us a little white powder (nothing illegal) to taste. Some portion of the class could not taste it at all. The rest of the class could taste it and it was a very bitter taste. I don't remember the name of the chemical, but it is evidently used to demonstrate genetic variation in taste receptors, or something.

My theory is that people who like the taste of anise or black licorice lack the taste receptors for the most pungent component of the bitter flavor. And those of us that are turned off by it can fully taste the oily, bitter component that makes us recoil.

Alternately, the people who like it have an extra taste receptor that allows them to taste something really yummy in it that the rest of us can't."

Fri Sep 29, 02:59:00 PM  

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