Thursday, December 18, 2008

My Vodka Taste-Test

As someone with an incredibly dull sense of taste and smell, I am intrigued by people who are able to detect differences in food that I never could. Even though I know that people can tell the difference between similar products, part of me is always suspicious of their claims, especially when it comes to items that are consumed while intoxicated.

Kelley and her sister Laurie are vodka drinkers who prefer Ketel One. I've always wondered why they like that brand. It was time to put their claims of Ketel One's status as the superior vodka to the test. Jordan, Kelley and Laurie's nephew, was around, so he decided to play along too.

The menu: Smirnoff, Stoli, Eco 360, Ketel One and Absolut.

Laurie and I went to the liquor store and selected the brands that would be used. Since my hypothesis was that they wouldn't like Ketel One better than other vodkas, we had to select Ketel One. I determined that the best way to test my hypothesis would be to serve Ketel One along with the following:
  • A vodka they claim to like - Stolichnaya
  • A vodka they say is ok - Smirnoff
  • A vodka they claim to dislike - Absolut
  • A vodka they have never tried - Eco 360. This brand caught our attention because it looked like its color was green. It wasn't, it was just the bottle that was green.
I had Kelley, Laurie and Jordan rank each of the vodkas they were about to try. Here's the pre-taste-test preferences:

TasterKetel OneAbsolutEco 360SmirnoffStolichnaya

While everyone was ranking the brands, I prepared the test. I got 15 dixie cups and separated them into groups of 5. Then I numbered each cup 1 through 5. I poured 1/3 of the first vodka into the cups numbered 1, 1/3 of the second vodka into the cups number 2, etc.

Jordan, Kelley and Laurie before the tasting began.

I brought each taster one set of cups. They could drink the samples in whatever order they preferred. They got some bread, crackers and water to help cleanse their palates. I asked them to rank the drinks, and to try to write a description of the taste of each vodka.

I can't say if the results really validate my hypothesis. I am impressed with Kelley's ability to stay true to her predictions. Laurie was pretty good too, and Jordan wasn't bad at all.

Here are the results. The prediction is in parenthesis:

TasterKetel OneAbsolutEco 360SmirnoffStolichnaya
Kelley2 (1)
5 (5)
4 (4)
1 (2)
3 (3)
Laurie3 (1)4 (5)5 (4)2 (3)1 (2)
Jordan3 (1)2 (3)5 (5)1 (4)4 (2)

And here are the taste notes:

TasterKetel OneAbsolutEco 360SmirnoffStolichnaya
brittle, stark
don't like
no taste
Jordanno clean flavor

sharp, clean


Thin Crust - TX Chuck said...

First off why wasn't Belvedere in your taste test. I'm positive it would rank #1. After Belve I would say Ketel is my next favorite. And if nothing else is available cuz intoxication is my goal I'll drink Absolute or even Skyy (yuck).

I can't stand Grey Goose and usually won't drink it, I switch to rum or Brown juice. (I forgot who I'm talking too that's Henny or Courvoisier)

After all that drinking did wild hot sex follow? I hope so cuz it's the only reason why people drink. And I would hope you did waste a perfectly good intoxicated girlfriend moment!

Unknown said...

We could test every brand. I was very disappointed that the store didn't sell Vladimir Vodka. Dannybo's front porch used to be littered with empty plastic bottles of that stuff after you stopped by for a visit.

Upon further investigating, I learned that, legally, Vladimir Vodka can only be sold in Brooklyn bodegas, purchased using food stamps and consumed from a plastic bottle that is covered with a brown paper sack. Still, Chuckie, there's no shame in drinking the stuff.

Anonymous said...

Adam, I think you have too much time on your hands.

Unknown said...

Coming from the Internet's foremost authority on having too much time on one's hands, I must take your comment seriously!

Anonymous said...

I must say that the taste test result is surprising - it is roughly the case they seem to know their Vodka. By "know", I mean their preceived preference order was somewhat, but not completely out of order with the taste test results.


notsobad said...

Adam, Adam, Adam - no Grey Goose? 360 is what I've been drinking at home forever. I love the recycle angle, but can't bare to part with the lovely bottles. Why wasn't I invited to help taste?

he he - Susan

Unknown said...

We were saving the Grey Goose testing for when you join us for taste test part 2, Susan.

Anonymous said...

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