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Spirits Articles

100 Bottles of Vodka on the Wall
The World’s Biggest Vodka Tasting Sheds Light on the State of Vodka in America

Posted: November 23, 2007

By Jerald O’Kennard, jerald@tastings.com

Well we did it. We made it through our largest tasting of vodka ever. In fact it was the largest professionally organized vodka tasting ever done in America and perhaps the world. All in all, some 108 unflavored and flavored vodkas were swirled, sipped, and most importantly spit in our tasting room in Chicago. You can’t make sense of that many vodkas unless you spit, by the way—a fact that gets overlooked by many who taste vodkas in a less structured setting.

From well-established national and international brands to small upstarts from domestic craft distillers and foreign distilleries looking to break into the lucrative and ever expanding US market, we tasted and rated them all. As another testament to this country’s seemingly limitless demand for vodka, it is interesting to note that half of these vodkas were new brand introductions to the US market. The jury is out as to whether America has reached the saturation point for vodka, but if our tasting is any indication, the martini glass has not yet been topped off, so to speak.

We are pleased to report that despite the hype and curious marketing pitches of many vodka brands these days that this was one of the best performing batches of vodkas that we have reviewed as well with some 39 vodkas being rated 90 or more points—gold medal quality. Clearly the crowded playing field has forced producers to ratchet up quality to a maximum if they are to remain competitive. This is a windfall to consumers for certain, but at what price? A sobering reality is that of the 108 only 29 were under 20 dollars. And it is in this category that we very pleased to find some best buys that beat the gold filters off of some the loftier priced brands.

So savor the subtle flavors of these, the world’s most popular allegedly flavorless, odorless spirits. We did the heavy lifting all you need to do is dig into the links, make your shopping list, and polish your shakers. This year’s best vodkas are primed and ready to go and heavenly holiday vodka libations await YOUR tasting.





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