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Shock results in Vodka World Cup

the drinks business was last week invited to judge a vodka blind-tasting competition that yielded some interesting – and some might consider embarrassing – results, particularly where the ultra-premium brands are concerned.

Revolution vodka bars’ regional party manager (south), Alex Griem, organised the Vodka World Cup as a means of judging the vodkas offered by Revolution against others.

Explaining the concept, Griem said: “It’s not strictly one vodka per nation – it’s more of a selection of the vodkas we do along with some wild cards such as Glen’s and Putinoff.”

The 16 vodka’s were drawn randomly in a one-vs-one straight knock-out format, with Smirnoff Red’s elimination to Stolichnaya being the stand-out result of note in round one.

Glen’s, so often maligned due to its cheap price-point, quietly progressed first past Putinoff and then, stunningly, past both Grey Goose and then Belvedere in the quarter- and semi-finals respectively to earn a place in the final, where it lost out to Stolichnaya.

Its victories over the so-called super-premium brands took judges by surprise when the results were announced.

“There is so much preconception with vodka brands,” Griem admitted as we reflected on the results.

“Offer people a Grey Goose or a Glen’s and pretty much everybody would go for a Grey Goose, but according to our results we are of the opinion that Glen’s actually tastes better. It is not a result we would have expected at the beginning of the competition.”

Glen’s was described by judges as “buttery and velvety-smooth,” Grey Goose as “toffee popcorn and salty chips" and Belvedere as “Spicy, hot with a delicate floral aroma”.

For the record, Stolichnaya, the eventual winner, was described as “creamy butterscotch, syrupy”.

Click here to watch an interview with Alex Griem at the start of the competition

Alan Lodge, 08.02.2011

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