MM columnist and Drinks Enthusiast, David Marsland, chooses Grey Goose over house vodka for that 'special' something...
Everyone has more than likely heard of Grey Goose. The premium vodka that is something ‘a little bit special’ when scanning the back bar of your favourite cocktail lounge.
But how many of you have ever dived in and tried it? The myth of the premium side of vodka seems to be that the price can be too high for something you perhaps may not even enjoy.
But dont consumers do the same when browsing a wine list? Instead of choosing the house wine, they go for something that’s a few pounds dearer, and usually a little better quality.
Why can’t you do that with vodka? Well luckily, I’ve been showcasing Grey Goose vodka at recent vodka training sessions, so hopefully the following will persuade you to perhaps ‘take the plunge’, and give it a try.
So how did Grey Goose come about?
Grey Goose was the brainchild of a gentleman named Sidney Frank. An American businessman and entrepreneur born in Montiville, Connecticut just after the finish of World War 1, he worked as an aircraft mechanic during World War 2 and rose to the role of President through his wifes fathers distiller and spirits importer company Schenley Industries soon after.
After leaving in 1970, Sidney decided to create his own company, Sidney Frank Importing Company, where he marketed Jacques Cardin brandy for the US. This was his biggest success so far, but purchasing the importing rights to Jägermeister in the 1980′s cemented himself as he promoted heavily, advertising it as the best drink in the world, and turning a specialty brand into a mainstream success.
Sidney wanted to aim even higher in the 90′s, and with a fascination of vodka, and his determination to convince consumers that there was something better than the boom of Absolut, he sourced the best ingredients from the most unlikely source – France.
Although most see Russia and Poland as the motherland for the production of vodka, Sidney Frank saw France as the ideal base for his venture. With centuries of spirit making expertise (Cognac and Champagne to name but a few), as well as some of the finest wheat and water in the world, France was seen as the most logical choice, and it also held the birthing right to a gentleman named François Thibault.
Thibault had previously produced a range of Cognacs for Frank’s importing company, and had been head of the team that was responsible for creating Jacques Cardin. Thibault assumed responsibility for every stage of the production of Grey Goose, with his fascination and willingness to achieve the goals that Sidney Frank was after.
So what makes Grey Goose different from other rivals, especially from the Polish offering of Belvedere, which at the time was considered its main rival?
It’s base grain is wheat, grown in the fields of Picardie of Northern France. After harvesting, the wheat is taken to Saint-Quetin, a town not too far away from the wheat fields that supply the Grey Goose distillery. Before the usual process of fermentation, the wheat is milled into flour.
Grey Goose are one of only a handful of distillers who don’t buy in their distilled neutral alcohol from third-party. Instead, Grey Goose use the traditional methods that control any damage to the flour and achieves maximum freshness. The wheat is then moistened and rested for a period of 24 hours before being ground down and sieved through four different rollers. This creates a very fine flour called grist.
The grist is transported into a vast lauter tun where water is added to the mixture which starts to break down the starch to make sugars. Distilled five times in continuous columns soon after to create a spirit at 96.3% abv, it is then transported to Gensac where Grey Goose have their own purpose-built blending and bottling plant. Just outside the bottling plant, a well can be found which houses ‘pure’ water.
To become the perfect water, it is demineralised by reverse osmosis which involves it being pumped through tubes at very high pressure through a membrane. The membrane stops any of the larger molecules (residue, sedimentation etc) from passing through, therefore leaving only pure water.
The final stage involves the newly created Grey Goose being bottled. Each bottle is rinsed in Grey Goose vodka, and then filled with the spirit.
Grey Goose was launched in 1997 (the UK in 2001) to compete with the expansion of Belvedere in the US, and by 2004, Sidney Frank accepted a rumoured $2.4bn for Grey Goose by Bacardi. Such is the world-wide success of his premium vodka, his legacy after his death in 2006 will be long talked about where he ventured back to the roots of traditionalism, and had the determination and willingness to succeed to create “the world’s best tasting vodka”.
Grey Goose – 40%, £30rrp
A clean nose with a slight mix sweetness as well as subtle nut and pepper gently arising. A smooth palate with cracked pepper, liquorice and butter with a lingering aniseed flavour. Creates a rounded finish.
Grey Goose have two other varieties available – L’Orange (orange), La Poire (pear) and Le Citron (lemon). Will hopefully be adding these to the site very soon so make sure you keep checking back!
So Grey Goose, a fantastic premium vodka which is recommended to be served neat or over ice. Or if you order a Martini, try asking for the Grey Goose version below, and let me know what you think.
Grey Goose Martini
2 Parts Grey Goose
½ Parts Dry Vermouth
1 Dash of Orange Bitters
Fill a shaker with ice and add Dry Vermouth. Stir to coat ice and strain out. Add Grey Goose Vodka and bitters, if desired, and stir well. Strain into a chilled martini glass. Present with an olive or lemon twist.
Check out more photos of Grey Goose here.
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