Mixing flavors in vodka is nothing new. According to the Bartender Examiner, Absolut introduced the world’s first flavored vodka, Absolut Peppar, in 1986. With this new trend of flavored infusions, Vodkas have been offering dozens of flavors in just about every combination imaginable. Whatever the laest craze is, you can be sure there is a vodka company out there trying to capitalize on it.
Van Gogh is one of those companies, like Absolut and three Olives, Coming out with more flavors than a Jelly Belly store. Van Gogh has twenty two(!!) separate flavors, as well as an 80 proof straight up version. Thats a long way from the Bloody Mary inspired pepper flavor Absolut released 23 years ago. Van Gogh's biggest sellers are the Espresso vodkas, which altogether make up 50% of their total sales. Van Gogh's CEO has exclaimed in interviews that they "essentially own the coffee-flavored vodka category."
According tot he bottle, as well as Van Gogh's website, this drink is "the only FDA-approved vodka on the market today with the bold touch of double caffeine." Which is a little misleading. Double what? They don't mean double the original espresso vodka, as that has no caffeine in it whatsoever. This can cause confusion for the buyer, not really knowing what that little bit of marketing means. Basically, "double caffeine" means absolutely nothing. It is the Only FDA approved vodka with their trademarked "double caffeine" moniker - but it is certainly not the only caffeinated vodka and certainly not the only espresso vodka.
This can lead to an annoying confusion for people. According to Luxist.com, the company states it is the first kind to be made with caffeine and one shot of the spirit equals three espresso shots. Besides the impossibility of anything being that caffeinated (if that were the case, one triple shot martini would have as much caffeine as 14 Red Bulls).
On a more realistic scale, Ineedcoffee.com listed Vincent Van Gogh Double Espresso Vodka with 10 mg of caffeine per 50 ml, which the company confirmed. using this scale, you can feel free to imbibe a bit more from this triple-distilled grain vodka without having to stay awake all night. After 2 shots of the Double Espresso vodka, I felt absolutely no buzz from the caffeine or the alcohol, as this drink also has a bit less alcohol content that the standard 40% ABV for vodkas.
For those more seriously looking for a kick with their martinis, Van Gogh has come out with a hard-to-track-down Triple Espresso Vodka with a very decent 19mg per 50ml shot (this would equal about 60mg of caffeine in one of these fantastic Momtinis) .
When I first opened it, I caught a great whiff of a thick real coffee with a touch of citrus-alcohol vapor. This citrus was not in any way unwelcome, as it completely masked any alcohol vapor smell I get with cheaper grain alcohols.
It is hard to remember there is no real espresso in this while sipping. Flavored vodkas very rarely use the actual item for flavoring, as adding real fruits, or in this case coffee beans, would cost much more and be much harder to produce. In this case, however, I did not even notice, as the thick syrupy espresso slid slowly down my throat, like a shot of warmed honey.
Just because it pours like syrup does not mean it was bad by any stretch. The thickness and richness was something I looked forward to, Like a good coffee liquour. I tasted thick caramel and a touch of vanilla, with some cocoa along with the rich coffee flavor. It was powerful and complex flavor that I easily could have been drinking through the night.
On first glance I am all about this lovely looking frosted bottle. All Vincent Van Gogh bottles ooze sophistication - and this one is no exception. The design is very square,, and lends itself to the wrapped illustration well. The whole design is topped off with a gold foil cap to give it that extra sophisticated edge.
A few things start to bug me about this though. First is the Van Gogh painting chosen. I looked in all my art books in college, and did a thorough internet search, and could not find the design this bottle had on it. I even went to an art gallery, and they could not tell me if they knew of any works of van gogh which involved a coffee plantation. Could it be this design is not a Van Gogh after all? I have become suspect this painting has anything to do with Van Gogh, other than the name ont he top of the bottle, but would love to hear differently if there are any art majors out there.
Then there is the whole Double Caffeine business. It signifies there is something in here when there isnt. It is a minor deal, but sneakyness in advertising in any form bugs me. I understand their need to make everything look as sophisticated as possible, for a forty dollar bottle of vodka means you are buying more than the spirits inside, but also the marketing tied into the product as well (My favorite vodka right now is "Green Moon, an Art-Deco anise flavored vodka) .
while I appreciate the sophisticated style of Van Gogh, I feel like I am being taken advantage of.
Saturday, November 7, 2009
Labels: Alcohol energy drink