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Sep 19, 2009 12:15 PM

Grey goose and Kirkland Signature brand vodka the same?!

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

      9 Replies
      1. re: invinotheresverde

        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

          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

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

            According to the website (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: CHEFINTHECLOSET

              "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"

              That assumes, of course, that there actually are "delicate aromatics, congeners, and flavor elements of the crop from which it was produced" ;)

            2. re: davis_sq_pro

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

            3. re: CHEFINTHECLOSET

              >>"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

                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

                  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

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

              3. 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)

                7 Replies
                1. re: proof66

                  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

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


                    2. re: proof66

                      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.

                      1. re: proof66

                        You didnt even mention grape vodka. again another completely different flavour and smell profile

                        1. re: proof66

                          Isn't vodka made from corn just white dog whiskey?

                        2. 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

                            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

                              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

                                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

                                  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: 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

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

                            2. re: StriperGuy


                              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

                                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

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

                                  1. re: proof66

                                    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

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

                                2. re: proof66

                                  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

                                    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

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

                                    2. re: davis_sq_pro

                                      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

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

                                        1. re: msgoodie

                                          Do a blind taste test with Smirnoff. No blackouts

                                          1. re: msgoodie

                                            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

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

                                  2. 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

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

                                      1. re: Dave in the basement

                                        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

                                          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.