Pros: It is vodka. Uhmmm, easy to see how much is left in the bottle..??
Cons: Expensive, snobby, product of France (yes, that is a 'Con' for this user)
OK. Let's set 'the bottom line' at the get-go:
Do you choose your liquor for the outside of the bottle..?? Or for the content inside the bottle..??
Does your core philosophy mimic that of Cîroc spokesman Sean 'Diddy' Combs:
– "When I celebrate life, I celebrate with the best, Cîroc ultra-premium vodka."..??
Or perhaps bar-owner Nick, in It's A Wonderful Life, serves you better:
– "Hey look, mister - we serve hard drinks in here for men who want to get drunk fast ..." ..??
I have called both sides of that coin. I have celebrated getting out of the service, receiving a college degree, marrying the love of my life. I have celebrated the birth of a child times three, the purchase of a new home, and the real-world cementing of on-line friendships.
I have also mourned (or tried to drink away the memory of) flunking out of school, the loss of job, the loss of a love, and the death of parents.
I surely do not have to tell my astute reader which moments an ultra-premium vodka like Cîroc Vodka might be marketed to meet.
Packaged in a tall, clear bottle with but a bit of blue at the bottom (oddly matching the all-blue color of the Skyy bottle) this product of France stands a clear half-inch taller than the Skyy bottle. Take that..!!
When you visit the Cîroc website (cirocvodka dot com) and find a glitzy, flash-driven homage to vodka, big-breasted women, and song (Frank Sinatra, no less) ...you know this is no vodka for the working man.
A description of Cîroc vodka from their website:
" Cîroc Vodka is an ultra-premium vodka that celebrates the uncommon on every level; from the distilled Mauzac Blanc and Ugni Blanc grape, grown in the historic Gaillac and Cognac regions of France, to the innovative cold fermentation and maceration techniques usually found in winemaking, to its subtle aromatics and smooth, naturally refined taste."
The use of grapes seems to be an unusual approach to producing vodka. Grapes were not mentioned in any of the online vodka-info sites I Googled.
How does all this work out when the rubber hits the road..?? Or perhaps more appropriately, when the liquor hits the lips..??
To put this product to the test I enlisted the aid of family. We set up a blind taste-test panel, of four drinkers, sampling straight shots and mixed drinks made from five separate vodkas.
The vodkas were:
– Cîroc, of course,
– Absolute, and
Straight shots of chilled vodka were the first test. Perhaps not the way it is usually consumed. But it worked to judge the smell, taste, and characteristics of the base liquor. We then compared the five vodkas when served in pre-mixed 'screwdrivers', three parts reconstituted orange juice to one part vodka.
To cut to the chase ...some seemed more biting on the tongue than others, some had more of an alcohol scent than others, some were 'harder' on the throat than others.
As vodka is defined by law to be a "neutral spirit, so distilled, or so treated after distillation with charcoal or other materials, as to be without distinctive character, aroma, taste, or color" by the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco and Firearms it is hard for this drinker to understand all the hoo-ha about 'subtle tastes', and hints of 'this flavor' and 'that flavor'. Unless you are marketing a flavored vodka ...it should all be pretty much the same.
I am a chemist/scientist by training and aptitude, so yes, I understand the distillation process and the concept of congeners in the production of alcohol. But hey, if you want to find hints of vanilla, and charcoal, and pepper, and fruit in the straight vodka you choose to drink ... go for it.
Me, I will stick to the observations that some seem smoother and less stinging than others, for whatever reason, and leave it at that.
The best among those we sampled..?? Yes, the Cîroc, and the much cheaper Paramount brand finished at the top. To add a bit of sting to the cheap 'house' brand being as good or better than other ultra-premium vodkas . . .the Paramount vodka was from a bottle that cost just $2.70 over twenty years ago. The bottle still has the stickers used by the old State of Iowa operated liquor stores phased out in 1987.
The Bottom Line
Vodka is an industrial, 'raw' liquor. It is not intended to have fancy characteristics, distinctive colors, or tempting after-tastes. To be blunt, it is probably the closest liquor to straight distilled alcohol.
If you want to pay for the tall, pretty bottle and the decorative labels and bottle markings, if you want to impress your friends with a nice bottle for your home bar or a call drink when you are out celebrating . . .go for it. Cîroc Vodka, the ultra-premium vodka, is as good a call as any.
But you might be better served to save your dollars for other liquors, wines, and beers where the art of distillation makes a real difference.
Gratuitous URLs cuz everyone likes to copy-n-paste like crazy:
More than you wanna know about distilling vodka:
More than you wanna know about vodka period:
• No under-age drinkers were used in the production of this review.
• Designated driver(s) were available for all participants.
• No liver cells were abused/harmed (we hope) in the production of this review.
• Many thanks to my wife, younger daughter, sister-in-law (panel drinkers, along with myself) and my older daughter (guest bartender, par excellence)