Ciroc Vodka (Italianesque grappa!)

Score: 85/100

Ciroc “vodka” is an interesting creation, because while it is called “vodka” it is made from the French grapes Mauzac Blanc and Ugni Blanc and hails from the Gaillac region of France. It is distilled an astounding five times, and seems more like a grappa with a luscious but modest nose that does not give adequate warning of the elegant explosion of flavours to strike the palate. This is so much more than a vodka; it is more like a beautiful grappa with hints of mint, licorice and earthy flavours. Why has Diageo called this drink “vodka” when it is clearly styled like a fine Italian grappa that is distilled five times? Who knows, but I think sales have motivated this decision because “vodka” is a more common and therefore sellable drink than “grappa”.
Fresh mint and aniseed sway gently in the fresh breeze, as the smell of lush green vinyards and overturned earth meet with fresh lemon and lime. This brings back memories of weaving in and out of the surrounds at the local Italian club as a child, the gentle smell of herbs in the kitchen would meet clumsily spilt sambuca at the “Scopa” card table and dry wine at the bar as the fresh breeze swaying in the massive green fields carried the scent of earth and vegetation as we escaped to the bocce courts. I’m sorry, but I cannot see how this drink is a “vodka”.
Outrageously smooth, the Ciroc releases on the palate a symphony of fresh earthy flavours beginning with mint and soft fennel as licorice gently develops to add body and depth to the bouquet of spicy ginger and earthy herbs. Citrus like lemon and lime also add a kick. This is sensational, and I can only imagine how it might develop in an oak barrel!
With a very long finish, the Ciroc provides a burst of flavours that dance on the tongue late into the night.
This Ciroc is incredibly fresh, with flavours of the earth coming though on the palate and the finish. From soil and herbs to the distinct taste of rock minerals and underground vegetation, this Ciroc seems to bring together the flavours that have fed the grapes that in turn have produced the juice to be distilled five times. That is something quite special!
Thanks for bringing back lots of memories of Nonno at the Italian club! This Chiroc is, in my view, undoubtedly Italianesque grappa in every way. Although traditional grappa is made from what is leftover in winemaking (including seeds, stems etc), it is easy to see how spirit made from the first press can be a (possibly, depending on opinions) more superior version of this! It is made the same way as grappa and from the same base ingredient as grappa (grapes), but distilled five times and from the first press… looks like a duck, sounds like a duck, quacks like a duck, waddles like a duck… so it must be a (premium quality!) duck!

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