The most popular spirit in the world!

Vodka’s origin is unknown, but most likely this spirit was first distilled in northeastern Europe in the 1300’s. For years it was no more than a crude spirit, and drink of choice for many Russian and Polish peasants who used it to protect themselves against the chill of northern European winters and to brighten their otherwise grim days.

An incredible journey from this humble beginning to vodka's celebrity status as the world's number one selling spirit, and the spirit of choice for most of today's trendy cocktails. Vodka accounts for 25% of the distilled spirits sold in the U.S., and according to the Distilled Spirits Council, while overall vodka sales have risen by a modest 15% over the last four years, sales of super-premium brands have increased by 32% during the same period, to 41.4 million cases in 2003. This results in the super-premium vodka category being the fastest growing segment of the largest distilled spirits category.

It's also a highly profitable segment. Super-premiums account for only 23% of vodka sales by volume, yet constitute 44% of revenue, or $1.3 billion per year, a figure that has grown by almost 50% between 2000 and 2003.

Vodka's rise to fame has been a recent phenomenon. Virtually unknown outside Russia, Poland and Scandinavia throughout its long history, vodka first became popular in the West when a Russian refugee named Vladimir Smirnoff, whose family ran the Moscow distillery that was the official purveyor of vodka to the czar, sold his recipe to Rudolph Kunnett, an American who then resold it to Heublein Co. in 1939. Smirnoff vodka's foreign taste proved initially unpopular until Heublein, now part of Diageo (the worlds largest spirits supplier), began to market it as the perfect neutral spirit for cocktails.

In the 1960s, vodka gained further fame as the drink of choice for James Bond (“Vodka martini, shaken, not stirred!tm”), and now, as today's post baby boomers have re-discovered the joys of this neutral spirit, Carrie Bradshaw (Jennifer Anniston’s character from “SEX and the CITY”) wannabes can be seen sipping vodka-based drinks in chic martini bars from Moscow to Manhattan. Today there are dozens of vodka brands on the market, many of them distilled from a variety of countries such as Holland, Japan, France, Estonia, Ireland and Russia, with new brands appearing regularly.

Vodka's recent rise to celebrity status, especially in the top end of the market known as super-premiums or ultra-premiums, has attracted a large number of new brands.

Marketing and brand identity are vital for all alcoholic beverages, as well as for most products in the marketplace. Some of the new super premiums have opted for frosted glass with painted or etched labels. Top brands in the super premium category, such as GREY GOOSE and BELVEDERE are perfect examples as well as new comer SEX II IV VII III VI V VODKA, whose use of an edgy name to attract, and an extremely smooth spirit has made this brand distilled just outside of Amsterdam, Holland (the Sex capitol of the world) a real contender!

Through exhaustive research and tasting we have found that super-premium vodka is better than the regular. Super-premiums were noticeably smoother and fuller in the mouth than the regular brands which tended to be strong to the nose and harsh on the palate. Super-premiums are smooth straight or on the rocks, while regular brands are best suited mixed in a cocktail, due to harshness.

What is the "Worlds Smoothest Vodka”? In conclusion of our sampling of more than thirty super-premiums it became clear who our favorite was. Straight or “on the rocks” we looked for subtle nose with a smooth finish. Click on AWARDS above for our TOP 3!