Grape Vodka Round 1.5 – Three-O VS Van Gogh VS Skyy

TL:DR (Three Olives = medium harsh, Van Gogh = Sweet, smoother, Skyy = harshest)


So I’m bringing back the Grape Vodka tastings from way back then, but this time around there’s a new contender in the mix. We have the previously reviewed Sky and Three-O now joined by Van Gogh. Let’s find out the characteristics of each one.


1) Three Olives – 35% ABV – 750ml, (Lawrenceburg, IN, USA), ~$26 CAD

  • Made with imported Vodka from England but bottled and produced in USA.
  • 3-O also has a product called “Purple” which is supposed to taste like frozen crushed grapes. I’ll put it head-to-head with the winner in the future.
  • The bottle in the photo is an older bottling and the updated label is much cooler imo.

2) Van Gogh – 35% ABV – 750ml, (Schiedam, Holland), ~$35 CAD

  • no longer listed on the vangoghvodka.com website (checked 10/2018)

3) Skyy Infusions Grape – 35% ABV – 750ml, (San Fran, CA, USA) ~$24 CAD

  • 4x column distilled, 3x filtered, American grain
  • no longer listed on the Skyy.com website (checked 10/2018)

Criteria:

Nose: 3O is mostly clean and gentle with a mostly candy-like artificial but welcoming grape nose, with some mild alcohol detection creeping in late the finish. VG, eww, mostly tingly alcohol detection with just a hint of grape – not very enticing. SKYY has the same candy-like qualities of 3O but has 2x the pungency and is overall much cleaner. SKYY wins for the nose.

Taste & Texture: 3O is thicker in the mouth, exhibiting gentle fruity grape sweetness, some alcohol tongue numbing action from the mids until finish, softly warming the throat. 3O leaves a impression of composure and cleanliness. VG is slightly thinner than 3O, sweeter up front, making it brighter and more palatable as a sipper. Subtle darker and somewhat authentic grape notes show themselves in mainly late mids and exhale. There’s also a touch of tanginess, a bit of tongue minty-like numbness, and touch of throat burn. VG leaves an impression of subtle complexity. SKYY, yikes, the alcohol burns aggressive right from the start, accompanied by the huge candyesque artificial tasting grape flavor. The only redeeming quality is that it displays grape from start to finish, it is flavoured as advertised whereas 3O and VG are more subtle with their grape flavouring. Skyy leaves and impression of a cheap vodka base with artificial flavouring – not good. I choose VG as the winner because of its low alcohol detection and sweet yet subtle grape flavour.


Final Notes:

  • Both Van Gogh and Skyy no longer list their grape vodkas on their respective websites. Thus, Three olives will do
  • Three Olives = harsher alcohol
  • Van Gogh = sweet, subtle grape, discontinued
  • Skyy = harsh alcohol, big candy grape flavour might work well in a cocktail or shots, discontinued

WINNER = Van Gogh Grape, (but it is likely discontinued so go get a bottle of Three Olives Grape)

Van Gogh Blue (Holland)

Van Gogh Blue, 750ml 40% ABV, Holland

Introducing Van Gogh’s premium triple distilled, triple European wheat vodka. It includes a combination of wheat from the middle of France, southern Germany, and Dutch wheat from Zeeland. First sold in 2008.

  • Notes From Tim Vos, Master Distiller

    “The exceptional triple wheat Van Gogh Blue offers subtle flavors of grains from three countries, each bringing their own unique characteristics to the spirit. In Holland, the wheat is cultivated near the Dutch coast and is therefore a bit salty and dry from the maritime influence. The harvest in France comes from the center of the country and possesses a sweeter profile. While in Germany, the wheat is grown in an area where the water comes from the melted ice of a nearby mountain, providing the grain with a mineral taste. The aftertaste delivers a delicate and consistent essence of wheat grains and some minerality for a dry and polished finish.”

Other notes:

  • pretty image-in-bottle effect
  • screw-cap sealed (as opposed to Grey Goose synthetic cork)
  • Where I got it: Sherbrooke
  • How much: <$40 (after 10%), ~$2 per shot
  • Drinkability: Easy-Medium

Tasting Notes (Oct 27/2011)

If not for the master distiller’s notes above, I really wouldn’t know what to look for. So, in comparing it to the French wheat Grey Goose, the sweetness is definitely present. There is a salty edge at the start that rounds out the flavour and slides down the sides the of tongue. The mineral notes add complexity on the top of the tongue and finishes slightly salty. The ethyl burn is rather mild and travels upstream through the nasal cavity and quickly vanishes.

-Compared to Grey Goose: not as sweet, more complex, slightly more burn, less warmth down the throat.

Rating as an (interesting) liquor: B

Rating as a vodka: A

The bottleimage-in-bottle effectnotes from the master distiller