It had been several years since a customer of mine suggested I try Kettle One Vodka. This was during the initial boom of the popularity of Vodka that resulted in this explosion of choices we now have in the marketplace. I recall I liked it then. However, I was relatively new to the Vodka scene, and many were good in my mind back then. So this was my first passage back to the Kettle in nearly a decade.
I was surprised by the initial impact of Kettle One. I was expecting the bite to leap out upon first glance. To the contrary, it was as if there was not much of a taste at all. While you could certainly taste that you had a powerful vodka on the palate, it did not present that overriding chemical tastes that ends up biting the tongue in so many Vodka brands. As you the drinking experience continues, Kettle One transcends into almost a fruit taste as it finishes. This is quite unusual for any Vodka brand. As Kettle One finishes, the aroma and the after taste introduce the more familiar chemical taste, one that is quite unpleasant. This finish just does not seem to fit with the initial smoothness of the start of the drinking experience. The second martini (for reviews, I always prepare them straight up, no fruit or twists, and shake them well and use a frozen goblet) the taste seem to jump out a bit more from the start. Kettle One then started reminding me more of some of its brethren in the high end Vodka market.
Kettle One is a 100% wheat based product, distilled in copper tanks over charcoal. This is a bit different type of approach for Vodka distilleries. Kettle One is produced in Schiedan, Netherlands by Nobit Distilleries. It is considered in the high end Vodka marketplace, but priced a bit lower than the Grey Goose and Belvedere of the marketplace. It will run you between $45-55 for a 1.75 liter bottle, unless you live close to Mexico as I do, where I recently gave less than $20 for a 1.75 liter bottle in a border town while trying to avoid the bullets and kidnappings of the drug trade there.
Overall, Kettle One is a fine Vodka to begin your journey if you are not a normal Vodka drinker. Its smoothness is less harsh on the normal palate. I also consider this a good Vodka to mix into other Vodka related drinks. Since it has less of an impacting taste by itself, it is a great marriage partner to mixes to make chocolate martini’s, cosmo’s, and the like
On a scale of ten, I give Kettle One a 7. Try it and let me know your thoughts