I love coffee in all its forms. Be it espresso, coffee, just smelling the beans, and I have a fair amount of experience infusing the flavor of coffee into other drinks as well, such as vodka. That brings me to an inspection of the Vincent Van Gogh Double Espresso Double Caffeine Vodka. We’re going to need an intervention soon for exceptionally long product names. This is getting out of hand.
As with all Van Gogh branded products the bottles are nice. That is to say they have Van Gogh paintings on them. Which like most people i think are interesting, but it strikes me as more of a missed opportunity. The canvas isn’t the square or the rectangle you put the painting into but rather the whole bottle. Surprise me with a full screened bottle or stylized lettering, done something else. This brand as a whole strikes me as a bland, reactionary construct. They take other ideas and put a Van Gogh on it and sell it because his painting posthumously have been associated with wealth, wealth is associated with good things so by proxy their bottled spirits should be good. For the most part they are high quality spirits. I would also be remiss if I didn’t mention I think it is in pretty poor taste to brand an alcoholic beverage after a man who was addicted to the bottle, by most accounts. That wasn’t the worst of the man’s problems but still is seems in bad taste.
All the moral judgment aside, Is it good Espresso Vodka? We shall see.
Upon opening the bottle I was greeted with a lovely coffee scent, which is good considering it was supposed to taste like it. However there was an edge to the smell, an ever so slight bite to the end of the sniff. The coffee taste was crisp, and a bit hard to put my finger on it. It wasn’t a rich full bodied scent like fresh ground coffee, nor a sweet syrupy scent like a latte or candy coffee. The closest i can come to is coffee with a bit of lemon. Before you turn up your nose its not nearly as bad as you think coffee with a touch of lemon is a refreshing cold beverage during the summer, and for some reason this vodka smelled almost like that. It could very well have been a result of the vodka scent being stronger than i anticipated.
The vodka was a bit thicker than normal vodka and had a mild sweetness to it. I can only think after trying two such commercially produced vodka’s that the taste testers complained of a bitter taste to plain coffee vodka, which i have seen with certain batches of my own Coffee Vodka. However this drink was sweet enough to enjoy as a shot, with the typical vodka burn in the throat after the fact. Or you could choose to serve it on the rocks, and it makes for a very good sipping vodka.
At this point I’ve become know as the Coffee Vodka guy among friends, with two commercial brand reviews and guides on creating your own I guess some of it is warranted. This brand in comparison to the 3 Olives brand was less sweet and had more of a vodka aftertaste. The 3 olives tasted better in milk and creamy beverages while the Van Gogh had a strong Vodka taste to the drink. It was a very nice coffee beverage but not quite as full bodied as the Triple Espresso from 3 Olives, I guess that extra shot of espresso makes all the difference.
I understand that the choice to label this and other vodka’s as being espresso based is an appeal to the stronger flavor of the drink, I just think that in this case the espresso flavor needed to come through just a bit more and the vodka a bit less.