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Grey goose and Kirkland Signature brand vodka the same?!

sirahola Sep 19, 2009 12:15 PM

I heard from a person who works at a winery that Grey Goose and Costco's Kirkland brand vodka are made at the same plant. Does anyone know more about this. If this is true, does it mean that they are the same formula? I plan on doing a blind tasting some day- maybe after I finish the Fris

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  1. CHEFINTHECLOSET Sep 19, 2009 01:23 PM

    Both vodkas are made in the Cognac region of France. Both Kirkland and Grey Goose are made in Cognac with distillation techniques sourced from the neighboring Cognac houses. The vodkas are five times distilled in a state of the art distilleries. Both are made from 100% fine French wheat. Both use pure artesian spring water originating in the Massif Mountains of France. This water flows into cognac after being filtered naturally through champagne limestone leaving it rich in minerals and flavor.

    In my comparison Kirkland is slightly sweeter than Grey Goose.

    Neither Grey Goose or Kirkland are the best vodkas for the price. Sobieski Polish vodka is the cheapest and the best,. It ranks right up there with Grey Goose and other expensive brands. In fall 2007, Sobieski Vodka was ranked the #1 premium vodka in a blind-tasting of 108 vodkas, the largest review of vodkas in U.S. history from the Beverage Testing Institute and earned a Gold Medal and Best Buy Award. It was also ranked #1 in a blind tasting conducted among 25 major vodka brands by one of France's top wine and spirits publication, La Revue du Vin de France. Its suggested retail price is $10.99 for a 750 ml bottle and $19.99 for a 1.75 liter bottle. Made top five At $11 a bottle you get a great deal and a great drink!!

    1 Reply
      sirahola Sep 19, 2009 01:43 PM

      Thanks so much!

    2. invinotheresverde Sep 19, 2009 10:05 PM

      It would make sense that they're a similar product, since Grey Goose's only positive attribute is it's marketing team.

      8 Replies
      1. re: invinotheresverde
        CHEFINTHECLOSET Sep 20, 2009 04:26 PM

        While some consumers believe Kirkland is bottled by Grey Goose I don't believe Kirkland is Grey Goose. Knowing the French I doubt if they would even remotely consider 'tainting' their association with what is considered a cheaper vodka. Having said this, all vodkas have to meet minimum standards, it's true, but some go beyond those standards. What's interesting is that the extent to which they do often isn't related to price.

        Distilling vodka removes impurities and makes it smoother and easier to drink. According to Grey Goose, their product iis triple distilled; Tito's is distilled six times. Some bottom-shelf vodkas, like Platinum (distilled seven times), which sells for under $10 a bottle, are remarkably smooth and compare well to the ultra-premiums that sell for three or four times the price.

        I still stick with Sobieski vodka. I consumed a fair amount at a Polish wedding last summer. The Poles don't mix their vodka. They drink it straight up. So I did shots all evening. It's really good, smooth with no burning after taste and the best part was no hangover the next day. Did you know vodka means 'little water".

        1. re: CHEFINTHECLOSET
          davis_sq_pro Sep 20, 2009 06:46 PM

          It is a myth that number of distillations has anything to do with purity. The number is not the issue; rather, it's the quality of the distillation. Most vodkas, by the way, are created using a simple formula: A tanker truck pulls up to the back of the factory and delivers a load of NGS (neutral grain spirits) distilled by some other company. This is diluted with water, put into a fancy bottle, and a marketing spin applied. Vodka is a great spirit for a marketer, since by definition the best vodkas aren't supposed to look, smell, or taste like anything.

          1. re: davis_sq_pro
            CHEFINTHECLOSET Sep 20, 2009 08:22 PM

            Apparently the number of distillations does not impact vodka's purity. Distillation of Vodka

            According to the website Tastings.com (my website resource for spirits and wines) its "the choice of pot or column" which " still has a fundamental effect on the final character of Vodka." "All Vodka comes out of the still as a clear, colorless spirit, but Vodka from a pot still (the same sort used for Cognac and Scotch whisky) will contain some of the delicate aromatics, congeners, and flavor elements of the crop from which it was produced. Pot stills are relatively "inefficient," and the resulting spirit from the first distillation is usually redistilled (rectified) to increase the proof of the spirit. Vodka from a more "efficient" column still is usually a neutral, characterless spirit."

            I find it quite reassuring to find Sobieski's vodka listed on that website as one of the top five vodkas.

            1. re: davis_sq_pro
              MOREKASHA Jul 27, 2013 05:39 PM

              True. Buy a good Russky or Polish vodka, same for $ and spend it where it counts, bourbon or rum.

            2. re: CHEFINTHECLOSET
              alanbarnes Oct 3, 2009 11:43 PM

              >>"Knowing the French"<<

              Is that in the biblical sense?

              And does your knowledge include the entire population of France?

              My hat's off to you.

              1. re: CHEFINTHECLOSET
                Icantread Oct 6, 2009 03:03 PM

                News Flash. Grey Goose is an American company in France, placed in France because the owner thought Americans would perceive a French brand to be of higher quality.

                1. re: Icantread
                  StriperGuy Oct 6, 2009 04:04 PM

                  Grey Goose was created by one of the great marketing geniuses of all time. He also popularized Jagermeister prior to inventing Grey Goose out of thin air based solely on a marketing proposition.

              2. re: invinotheresverde
                sisterfunkhaus Jan 6, 2013 06:03 PM

                Agreed. I am not a fan of GG. So much better stuff out there.

              3. proof66 Sep 21, 2009 05:58 PM

                I concur w/ "Chef in the Closet" in that the vodkas are very similar. Wheat vodkas, in my opinion, tend to have a softer, smoother flavor profile that appeals to a lot of people.

                Sobieski, on the other hand, is a rye vodka, which if you taste side-by-side w/ against a wheat base you'll see a far different nose and taste. (I love rye vodkas w/ orange juice or orange liqueur.) There's a nice rye vodka coming out of the Grand Traverse Distillery in Michigan (True North Vodka).

                Meanwhile, potato vodkas have a different flavor profile yet again. There are even vodkas made from sugar cane (Bardenay out of Idaho, example), maple tree sap (Vermont Gold), and corn (Buffalo Trace Distillery makes a great vodka called Rain).

                My suggestion is to try different vodkas from these different bases. Filtration and distilation are important (of course) but to my mind these different kinds of vodkas are as different as Irish whiskey is from scotch or bourbon and can make big differences in your cocktail of choice.

                --Neal (Proof66)

                5 Replies
                1. re: proof66
                  JohnE O Sep 23, 2009 08:46 AM

                  Have to disagree on the Rain vodka. Too heavy of a popcorn aroma and flavor. I used to love Grey Goose but I've switched over to Tito's as it's a much smoother drink with a slightly sweet aftertaste.

                  1. re: JohnE O
                    CHEFINTHECLOSET Sep 23, 2009 01:50 PM

                    Is Tito's made out of corn?

                    1. re: CHEFINTHECLOSET
                      JohnE O Sep 23, 2009 01:56 PM

                      It's 100% corn.

                    2. re: JohnE O
                      proof66 Sep 29, 2009 09:30 PM

                      Alas! Well, it scores nicely and I like it. Popcorn! really?


                    3. re: proof66
                      caprafan Nov 20, 2009 08:18 PM

                      We've tried the Grand Traverse True North--it's smooth and delicious! I understand they also now make a wheat vodka, but I'm going to stick with the rye.

                    4. StriperGuy Sep 23, 2009 05:42 PM

                      Definition of vodka: "a colorless, flavorless neutral grain spirit."

                      Tasted blind they are pretty hard to tell apart.

                      After they have been distilled 2-3 times there is VERY little difference. Though if you run anything through a still and keep everything (instead of discarding the heads, etc.) after each run, then you basically end up exactly where you started. In the final analysis distilling more then say 2-3 times is more about marketing then science. Either that or you have a really dumb master distiller.

                      I work with fermentation scientists and natural product purification chemists and take my word for it ethanol and water (read vodka) per davis sq pro above is basically vodka.

                      Anyone who pays more than $10-$20 for vodka, I would perhaps like to interest you in a small bridge for sale connecting the Island of Manhattan with Brooklyn.

                      18 Replies
                      1. re: StriperGuy
                        CHEFINTHECLOSET Sep 23, 2009 07:53 PM

                        A common property of vodkas produced in the United States and Europe is the extensive use of filtration prior to any additional processing, such as the addition of flavourants. Filtering is the process which will impact taste. Filtering is sometimes done in the still during distillation, as well as afterward, where the distilled vodka is filtered through charcoal and other media. This is because under U.S. and European law vodka must not have any distinctive aroma, character, colour or flavour. However, this is not the case in the traditional vodka producing nations, so many distillers from these countries prefer to use very accurate distillation but minimal filtering, thus preserving the unique flavours and characteristics of their products.

                        1. re: CHEFINTHECLOSET
                          StriperGuy Sep 24, 2009 05:59 AM

                          In principle I agree except that this thread was largely about super premium-style vodkas for sale in the U.S. Not interesting Eastern European tipples.

                          In addition, no matter how good a distiller you are, doing it more then 2-3 times has little basis in science and we drift into the realm of marketing.

                          1. re: StriperGuy
                            JMF Sep 26, 2009 05:27 AM

                            Actually the number of times it is distilled is only valid in a pot still. And very few vodkas are made in pot stills, actually I am not sure you can make what would be legally defined as a vodka in a real pot still unless it is made with NGS.

                            Most real vodka (made from scratch, not NGS) is made in a hybrid or column still. The number of plates in the still head/column (anywhere from 4 to 40) mean how many times it is THEORETICALLY distilled. It isn't actually run through the still 3, 4, 5, or 6 times.

                            1. re: JMF
                              StriperGuy Sep 26, 2009 07:08 AM

                              Yes, that is true if you are talking abut a column still, but the fru fru vodka's I had in mind (tito's for example: http://titosvodka.com/titos.html) use a pot still and I believe is distilled 6 times and filtered with activated charcoal.

                              6 times is just plain silly.

                              1. re: StriperGuy
                                JMF Nov 30, 2010 05:14 AM

                                Actually they use a hybrid still, which has a column. A pot still has no plates or column.

                        2. re: StriperGuy
                          proof66 Sep 29, 2009 09:35 PM


                          There's actually a famous mythbuster's episode where they brought in Anthony Dias Blue (author and founder of the San Francisco World Spirit's Competition). They filtered a bottom shelf vodka ten times and pulled a sample after each selection. Then threw in a top-shelf and everyone tried to tell them apart. The mythbusters were all over the map. But Blue nailed every one 1-10.

                          I'm not saying that vodka differences aren't subtle and that once you throw in a great lot of fruit juice, sugar, and coloring that the differences can't be lost. But there is a substantial amount of difference in a vodka's taste depending upon the base you use and also the water you use.

                          Vodka are not about the filtration. It depends a great deal on the source of the water. Some mineral content in the water is actually important and desirable. The pros often talk about vodkas being too clean or boring or overly filtered. This is why a lot of upper end vodkas are particular about their water sources.

                          Is there major hype and hoopla and overmarketing going on in vodka? Yeah, sure.

                          But I disagree greatly that there's no such thing as a premium vodka and willingly spend more than $20 for a good one. I promise you, I can pick out my favorites out of a lineup.

                          --Neal (Proof66)

                          1. re: proof66
                            StriperGuy Sep 30, 2009 01:27 AM

                            Think Blue could nail em in an appletini? I doubt it. Most vodkas, I would guess 99% are not drunk neat, at least in the USA. And besides, the average person, (the mythbusters crew) can't tell the diff, even neat.

                            My main point being that most of the (thank goodness now fading vodka craze) is more about the bottle and the marketing then what is inside.

                            1. re: StriperGuy
                              proof66 Oct 9, 2009 04:05 PM

                              Hard to disagree with the success of the marketing when that Crystal Skull head vodka can sell like crazy.

                              1. re: proof66
                                jgg13 Oct 14, 2009 02:15 PM

                                That skull is pretty cool though. A friend of mine bought me the skull head vodka, and I saved that skull for future use.

                                1. re: jgg13
                                  pthaloearth Nov 30, 2010 09:06 AM

                                  that's exactly the point, the bottle is marketing at it's finest.

                            2. re: proof66
                              davis_sq_pro Sep 30, 2009 06:52 AM

                              Here's an interesting article on a blind tasting which favored a less expensive brand, Smirnoff:


                              I've shared this with several vodka-drinking friends over the past few years and it hasn't made a bit of difference, but it's still fun to see their reaction--it's always "no way, that stuff is swill!"

                              These are the same people who tell me that they won't drink gin because it tastes like a Christmas tree and won't touch vermouth because it must taste terrible if you're only supposed to put a drop in a martini. So they actually ARE drinking it straight, but heavily iced ("vodka martini, wave the bottle of vermouth over the top of the glass").

                              I assume the Mythbusters taste test was done with room temperature vodka? Once shaken with ice in a "martini" the vodka will be extremely cold, diluted with whatever ice was used, and will have a bit of brine from the olive, so I expect that any subtleties that were there will be lost... Personally I think vodka martinis taste like chilled lighter fluid, but that's a conversation for another thread :-)

                              1. re: davis_sq_pro
                                StriperGuy Sep 30, 2009 09:26 AM

                                Bravo. I'm with you. I've seen that NY Times article and almost pulled it out.

                                And when I have a martini, it is always Gin.

                                1. re: StriperGuy
                                  CHEFINTHECLOSET Oct 3, 2009 11:15 PM

                                  It's always a matter of taste but I like my vodka straight out of a shot glass;D

                                2. re: davis_sq_pro
                                  proof66 Oct 9, 2009 04:06 PM

                                  Smirnoff actually scores very well with the pros! A very decent vodka in my opinion. It's not exciting (in a sense that it's different)... but it's quite good, especially for mixes.

                                  You won't find me complaining about Smirnoff.

                                  Skyy, on the other hand...

                                  1. re: proof66
                                    msgoodie Oct 16, 2009 11:12 AM

                                    Smirnoff causes blackouts. When I reduce my quality, I choose Skyy Vodka

                                    1. re: msgoodie
                                      ac106 Oct 18, 2009 08:03 AM

                                      Do a blind taste test with Smirnoff. No blackouts

                                      1. re: msgoodie
                                        StriperGuy Oct 18, 2009 11:28 AM

                                        Are you serious. Any alcohol causes blackouts if you drink enough of it. Blackouts are actually fairly diagnostic for having a serious over consumption problem.

                                        1. re: StriperGuy
                                          invinotheresverde Nov 30, 2010 05:26 AM

                                          The misconceptions people have about alcohol are comical at times, eh?

                              2. StriperGuy Oct 7, 2009 01:35 PM

                                Couldn't resist, here is a good piece on Sidney Frank, the creator of Grey Goose:


                                The key quote: "The man behind Grey Goose vodka understood that Americans want to pay more—You just have to give them a good story."

                                3 Replies
                                1. re: StriperGuy
                                  Dave in the basement Oct 13, 2009 11:10 AM

                                  That was a great read, StriperGuy. Thanks for posting that!

                                  1. re: Dave in the basement
                                    StriperGuy Oct 13, 2009 03:57 PM

                                    Sidney Frank was quite a character. I have read several articles about him. Wish I had met him. Sadly I forgot to mention, that shortly after selling Grey Goose to Bacardi for $2.2 Billion, in January of 2006 he died.

                                    1. re: StriperGuy
                                      minman Oct 15, 2009 08:19 AM

                                      Sidney was truly a pioneer in the spirits industry. Many spirit companies of today follow his vision of Grey Goose, most notably Patron. Promote your liquor to the celebrity crowd and let them sell your product. Patron is definitely not the best tasting tequila around, but it has success that is unmeasured. 2 million cases per year? Wow! A few years back if you sold 250,000 cases of tequila you had a winner. They can thank Sidney for their success. Jager shot? Or a Patron shot? Ask a bartender if there is any other shot they pour more of on any given night??

                                      Ciroc vodka, is pretty high on my list. Don't hear its name in tasting tests but it is a definite contender.

                                2. f
                                  focusmedic Aug 24, 2012 02:54 PM

                                  Costco has a new vodka made in the use 6 times distilled. Anyone know who makes it?
                                  joe g

                                  2 Replies
                                  1. re: focusmedic
                                    scubadoo97 Dec 30, 2012 04:20 AM

                                    No I don't but recently picked up a bottle as well as the Kirkland French vodka for a NYE party. My wife and I did blind tastings and both of us picked the French over the American. The only difference being a slight burn with the American vodka. Then added OJ to each sample and I liked the American my wife the French. I am not a vodka drinker and buy it to keep on hand for bloody marys and other cocktails. I was curious enough to try the French @ $20 compared to the American @ $14. I'll buy the American or other inexpensive variety in the future. One of my biggest turn offs of the Kirkland French is the stupid tall heavy bottle. It's so tall it doesn't fit under a cabinet unless tip in

                                    1. re: focusmedic
                                      guitarpilot Feb 7, 2014 02:39 PM


                                    2. CLUMMAN Jul 27, 2013 11:33 AM

                                      No, it's absolutely not the same, Grey Goose vodka produced in Cognac region, France and the only competition they have is Monte Carlo vodka which is also produced in Cognac. All other French vodkas is made in the different areas in order to save in production cost .Of course the quality is never the same like Monte Carlo or Grey Goose from Cognac, Please don’t be fooled by a marketing tricks…

                                      5 Replies
                                      1. re: CLUMMAN
                                        scubadoo97 Jul 27, 2013 01:34 PM

                                        Gray Goose is a marketing trick

                                        1. re: scubadoo97
                                          JMF Jul 28, 2013 08:52 AM

                                          I wouldn't say marketing trick. Sydney Frank was a marketing genius. Selling a less than stellar vodka at super premium prices.

                                          1. re: JMF
                                            StriperGuy Jul 28, 2013 09:14 AM

                                            Sydney Frank WAS a marketing genius!

                                            1. re: JMF
                                              scubadoo97 Jul 28, 2013 09:38 AM

                                              That he was. To get people to pay top dollar for a neutral spirit with a fancy French address and label was genius.

                                              Jager is another story with the Jägerettes

                                          2. re: CLUMMAN
                                            hawkeyeui93 Jul 28, 2013 02:56 PM

                                            What is Costco's marketing tricks? A fancy bottle perhaps? I have yet to see it "marketed" outside of sitting in boxes for sale inside my local Costco .....

                                          3. Atomic76 Jul 29, 2013 10:15 PM

                                            I was told something similar regarding Castillo Rum. It's a bottom shelf rum, but is supposedly made by Bacardi. There is definitely a difference in taste between the two, Castillo has an artificial sweet taste to it and a bit of a metallic taste to it that Bacardi doesn't have.

                                            I would definitely recommend Sobieski, as Chefinthecloset suggested. It is a really good vodka overally, but especially for it's price.

                                            1. g
                                              guitarpilot Feb 7, 2014 02:26 PM

                                              This is where corporate liquors come from. Safeway, Costco, this company customizes the liquor and make a custom bottle for Costco, etc. etc.

                                              2 Replies
                                              1. re: guitarpilot
                                                JMF Feb 8, 2014 05:10 AM

                                                You make it sound like this is the only company that does this. But there are hundreds that do the same.

                                                1. re: JMF
                                                  guitarpilot Feb 13, 2014 02:11 AM

                                                  You are right. However, Costco brand vodka has the address of this company on it.

                                              2. jrvedivici Feb 8, 2014 08:16 PM

                                                I'm sorry have we decided if this is true?

                                                8 Replies
                                                1. re: jrvedivici
                                                  JMF Feb 9, 2014 09:01 AM

                                                  It's just an urban myth. No truth at all. They just happen to be made at distilleries in the same area, so have some of the same ingredients in common, mostly the water. Possibly the grain.

                                                  By the way, the Kirkland beats out GG in blind taste tests, as do most vodka's.

                                                  1. re: JMF
                                                    jrvedivici Mar 5, 2014 06:46 AM

                                                    It's funny when I was a kid, in the 70's there were some restrictions on Russian products, vodka being one of them. I remember when my father would get a delivery of Stoli to his restaurant word would spread around town and people would come in just for some Stoli Vodka. I guess the memory of that created some kind impression on me growing up because once I started drinking it was only Stoli for me. I won't sit here and say it's better than any other vodka, but it certainly is the one I prefer above all others.

                                                    Next would be Kettle then Goose. Of discount vodka's or if I'm mixing a cocktail, rather than drinking it straight, at home I'll use Svedka, it seems very smooth to me for the price. When mixed with a little flavored club soda you can't tell any difference. I've never been able to develop a taste for Tito's.

                                                    Has there been some kind of technological advancement with Vodka distilling in the past 10 years? It seems to me that many lower priced vodka's are much smoother than their equivalent ancestors. Again when I was a kid there was Stoli, Absolut, Smirnoff as "premiums" then Mohawk or similar as well/house brands, which was more or less fire water.

                                                    1. re: jrvedivici
                                                      scubadoo97 Mar 18, 2014 06:27 PM

                                                      <I've never been able to develop a taste for Tito's>

                                                      What taste?

                                                      1. re: scubadoo97
                                                        jrvedivici Mar 21, 2014 06:58 AM

                                                        Most commonly when drinking vodka straight the taste is the level of burn or kick the vodka has as you drink or swallow it. Tito's has a bit more of a bite than I prefer with my Vodka. Although Stoli is my personal favorite, I would say that Goose and Kettle might be a bit smoother than Stoli but for whatever reason my palate still enjoy's Stoli above all others.

                                                        If you don't think Vodka's have a taste, try doing a slow shot of something like Mohawk (if they still make that) then a similar shot of Tito's, Stoli, Goose or Kettle. You will notice a significant difference.

                                                        1. re: jrvedivici
                                                          TroyTempest Mar 21, 2014 10:16 AM

                                                          I would probably agree with you on your test. But, I'd say that going from a mid price like Svedka or even Monopolowa to Grey Goose, if there is a difference, it is too negligible to warrant the price difference

                                                          1. re: TroyTempest
                                                            jrvedivici Mar 21, 2014 10:34 AM

                                                            Well that's why I asked a few posts above if there has been some kind of innovation in vodka in recent years, because honestly I'm AMAZED at vodka's like Svedka for their price.

                                                          2. re: jrvedivici
                                                            scubadoo97 Mar 21, 2014 11:30 AM

                                                            I find Tito's taste like water. Did a side by side blind tasting of Tito's and Belvedere and could tell them apart

                                                            1. re: scubadoo97
                                                              ncyankee101 Mar 21, 2014 12:26 PM

                                                              I've never tried Tito's but I did a similar test with Smirnoff and Sobieski. I found that Smirnoff tasted like water and Sobieski had a mild but not unpleasant taste, probably residual from the rye.

                                                              I think either one is fine for what is supposed to be, and don't see any reason to pay more than the $10-13 I can get them for (or $20 for a handle of Sobieski.)

                                                  2. z
                                                    zimexlady Mar 4, 2014 02:30 PM

                                                    This blog is a gold mine of information. Many thanks to all contributors. New ideas, brands, marketing, distillation standards, ALL good to know. CONGRATULATIONS to one and ALL. It just keeps keeping on!

                                                    1. z
                                                      zimexlady Mar 9, 2014 08:30 AM

                                                      SEE www.rebelbartender.com/2011/07/14/rev...
                                                      Total denial by "another expert".

                                                      1. l
                                                        lmcfla Mar 18, 2014 05:40 PM

                                                        I was in Costco liquor store tonight, talked to the girl working there who has worked for them for 6+ years. I did not ask, she offered up the info....I was asking about their bourbon and she told me who made what and GG does make their higher end vodka. I told her I had heard that before and she said yes it is true. She said Costco pays for the rights to sell it.

                                                        3 Replies
                                                        1. re: lmcfla
                                                          scubadoo97 Mar 18, 2014 06:29 PM

                                                          Could be just selling you

                                                          1. re: scubadoo97
                                                            lmcfla Mar 18, 2014 09:51 PM

                                                            Selling me what? I was looking at bourbon!! All stores that market products under their name are made by major distributors....Costco does not make their own vodka...this is a way for people like GG to corner the market by selling to the masses for a little less profit but still make a bundle. Happens all the time, people think that if they get the name and pay the higher price they are getting better quality this is just not true.

                                                          2. re: lmcfla
                                                            JMF Mar 18, 2014 09:23 PM

                                                            That is not true. Just a myth.

                                                            I know for a fact that GG does not make Kirkland Vodka. The two vodkas are made in the same region of France, but not the same distillery.

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