Monday, May 10, 2010

The greatest scam of the 21st century

There have been many a notorious scam committed this century. Bernie Madoff's ponzi scheme, the Euro, marriage, Napster...these were all terrible frauds. But no fraud is as terribly pernicious as premium vodka.

Yes, premium vodka. I know what you're saying. Your asking "what's wrong with premium vodka? I like Grey Goose." Dear reader, allow me to explain.

Let me preface this by saying that I like vodka. My vodka of choice is Stolichnaya. It is priced reasonably, and is smooth. There is a harshness in your cheaper vodkas like Popov that gnaw on the way down. It offends the nose and the tongue. It will also leave you holding your head the next morning.

Now, if you are familiar with the distillation process you know that vodka is distilled into a raw spirit and bottled. No aging and therefore less flavor imparted. It isn't terribly much different than moonshine.

Vodka is nice, but I challenge anyone to do a blind taste test of vodkas and correctly identify the brand. I have no doubt that I could, with a blindfold, determine a glass of Johnny Walker from a glass of Old Grand-dad from a glass of Jameson. I might have difficulty telling the Knappoge Castle from the Sullivan from the Paddy, but I could tell you blindfolded that they aren't Scotch.

I'd like to see someone with a blindfold identify Grey Goose from Skyy from Kettle One from Belvedere, from Stolichnaya.

Notice that these vodka taste tests don't actually try and identify which is what. If you blindfolded people and had them taste test water, I'm sure one brand would come out the winner. That doesn't change the fact that its all water does it?

No, I'll wager that such a feat can be performed by few if any people in the world. Why? Because while vodkas might have a bit of character, they don't have the sort of flavor profile of a whiskey or brandy. They don't have much flavor at all.

So why should you spend more than 15 dollars on a fifth of grain neutral spirits that haven't spent a minute aging and developing flavors? What's the difference between moonshine and vodka again?

So for far less than a bottle of vodka one can buy a bottle of spirits that was crafted with a lot more emphasis on the flavor profile, and spent many years aging gracefully in a warehouse.

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