Bargain hunting? Searching for a hidden gem? This column will profile spirits known as “The Bottom Shelf”. Should you take the chance, or run like hell? Keep on reading and find out!
The spirit: Kirkland French Import Vodka
The price: $19.99 (1.75 L)
The strength: 40% ABV (80 proof)
Why I bought it: I work with someone who lives by the Edison, NJ Costco (which sells liquor unlike most of their locations). After she talked about how much her husband likes some of the Kirkland brand spirits and seeing many rave reviews online about the French vodka, I asked her to pick me up a bottle. Still, I wondered, “How good can Kirkland vodka really be?” However, I was intrigued as this is produced in the same distillery as Grey Goose.
The nose: Crisp, clean, and pure.
What to use it for: Anything! My first sip of this stuff was on the rocks and was mind-blowing. This was some of the smoothest vodka I have ever had in my life. Smoother than Stoli (my go-to), Tito’s (my second favorite), and yes, even Grey Goose itself at a third of the price for that size bottle. It is actually hard to believe that by all classifications this would be considered “bottom shelf” and even “discount brand” vodka. It also made, perhaps, the best vodka martini I’ve ever had in my life, which went down way too easy. I want to say more, but there are no words to adequately describe how shockingly good this is.
Final grade: A+
Comments: Over the last few years, the secret has been out since this consistently ranks in the Top Five (and in some cases, the top) of most vodka lists which usually involve blind tastings. However, bearing a Kirkland name still throws a lot of people off. In all honesty, if you are a big vodka drinker, a Costco membership would be worth the price with the savings you would get if you bought nothing but several bottles throughout the year. To compare, the same sized bottle of Grey Goose would fetch around $55 in my area. I challenge someone to step forward and say this is not top-shelf product hiding in an unassuming bottle with a very unassuming name. It will be hard to drink different vodkas ever again.