A Tale of Two Vodkas: The Taste-Off

When it come to clear spirits, vodka is not my go-to. I enjoy a drink’s flavor, after all, and the hallmark of a good vodka is more-or-less the absence of flavor. (Not that good vodka tastes like nothing, it’s just subtle notes that you really have to taste for–most days I just don’t want to have to work that hard!) But as much as I like gin, a good vodka comes in handy when gin’s herbaceousness would be out of sync with the rest of a drink. Which is why I agreed to participate in tasting challenge Purity Vodka posed to self-proclaimed “world’s best tasting vodka,” Grey Goose.

Premium vodkas are distilled to within an inch of their cogeners; Purity Vodka is distilled 34 times (compared to a single column-distillation of Grey Goose). 34 sounds like excess–can you really taste the difference? Could I?

There was also a flash drive with some more information and the whole thing was tied up in a purple bow. I thought it was a wedding present, at first, it was so nicely presented. And we know I'm a sucker for good presentation.
There was also a flash drive with some more information and the whole thing was tied up in a purple bow. I thought it was a wedding present, at first, it was so nicely presented. And we know I’m a sucker for good presentation.

Purity sent me this really spiffy tasting kit with faux calla lilies and lined with a purple cloth, with two petite tasting glasses and an airline bottle of each Purity and Grey Goose vodkas. The Swedish-made Purity is obviously confident in their quality to send not only their own samples but that of the competitor as well. And while many people prefer their vodka ice-cold, Purity encourages this tasting be done at room temperature, so that’s what I did.

I started with the Grey Goose, and when you’re tasting spirits it’s important not to judge based on that first sip as the alcohol is interacting with whatever you last tasted. So wait until that second sip to make any decisions about whether you like it or not. What I noticed about the Grey Goose was that it had some definite hard edges, a slight burning at the back of my mouth, and a thin, angular mouth-feel.

Prepare to be tasted!
Prepare to be tasted!

The Purity, on the other hand, really impressed me with how smooth and round it feels in the mouth and while there’s a bit of tingle under my tongue, there’s no burn at the back of my mouth. I’m still not sold enough on either of them to switch my mixed-drink preferences to vodka, neat, but I can see the Purity vodka making for a better base spirit in many cocktails where you the flavors of the drink to flow easily around.

Granted, Grey Goose might still make for a bracing martini, but I’d use Purity over GG to make my layered cocktails in a heartbeat.

If it wasn’t obvious, I was sent the sample of Purity Vodka for the purpose of review. A while ago (the original event was last summer)–it got lost in the wedding shuffle, so my apologies for that. Nonetheless, all opinions expressed are my own as well as any factual errors there might be. We here at Scraps of Life encourage everyone to drink responsibly and never drink and drive.

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