Karlsson’s Sly New Marketing Scheme: “Vintage” Vodka

1x1.trans Karlsson’s Sly New Marketing Scheme: Vintage VodkaWith wine the word “vintage” is typically associated with a season’s yield of wine from a vineyard, where weather and growing conditions affect wine from a particular harvest.

But the war over vodka sales has prompted Karlsson’s, a boutique vodka company in Sweden, to unleash a sly new marketing scheme in which they tout “vintage” vodkas.

The company claims each vintage vodka they produce is distilled from a single potato variety, grown on a particular farm during a single season.

So, for instance, Karlsson’s 2008 vintage, released this year, supposedly used a “hearty russet-skinned tuber known as Old Swedish Red,” which Peter Ekelund, who founded Karlsson’s in 2007, said was popular in Sweden a century ago.

The 2009 vintage, to be released in November, was made with the Solist potato, a small, round, yellow specimen. And both types are used in the seven-potato blend that constitutes the company’s standard vodka, Karlsson’s Gold.

“The 2008 is earthy and robust, while the 2009 has a softer, more mellow flavor.”

“The idea behind the company from the very beginning was to see if we can say something about what’s inside the bottle rather than what’s outside the bottle,” said Ekelund.

“Will a vodka taste different if you pick different types of potatoes in different places?”

Ekelund said the company has built up a “library” of distillates, each derived from different potatoes reaped from individual harvests.

“We started with 30 different potatoes,” he said. “We found 15 were useless for making vodka.”

Writing for the New York Times, Robert Simonson said the others were tested, experimented upon and cataloged.

“Just as with grapes, the company found that hot or wet weather can create distinct taste characteristics in potatoes.”

Although some insist each brand of vodka has a unique flavor, the white spirit does not improve with age, and the vast majority of vodka is rarely consumed straight, except in a vodka martini, and even then it’s mixed with a dash of vermouth.

So any variation in taste between Karlsson’s much vaunted vodka vintages would vanish when mixed with orange juice, tonic or Bloody Mary mix.

In other words, unless you are among those rare vodka connoisseurs who drink vodka straight to “capture the nuances of each vodka’s terroir,” buying so-called vintage vodka is a waste of time and money.

Karlsson’s 2009 vodka will be released in an edition of about 1,980 bottles, and it’s not cheap. The 2009 is priced at $80, which is $45 more than Karlsson’s Gold.

Top 10 Vodkas
Courtesy of Buzzle.com
1x1.trans Karlsson’s Sly New Marketing Scheme: Vintage Vodka
Grey Goose
French manufactured vodka
Premium brand
Winter wheat based, with spring water
Platinum medal at the San Francisco World’s Spirits Championship

Belvedere
Century old Polish brand
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Gold rye based, blended with well water, with 4 times distillation
8 Vodka Masters prizes in 2009

Russian Standard Vodka
Russian brand
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Winter grain based, blended with glacier water
Distilled 8 times
3 variants: Original, platinum, gold
1 luxury variant: Imperia

Reyka
First and only vodka from Iceland
Wheat based, glacier water filtered through lava rocks
Produced with the purest water on earth

Finlandia
Finland brand
Six row barley based, blended with glacier water

Absolut
Swedish brand
One of the most popular premium brands
Wheat based
More than 10 flavored variants
Famous advertising campaigns

Stolichnaya Vodka
Russian brand
Top premium vodka
Wheat and rye grains with glacial water
Double distillation
Different pure varieties
New luxury variant Elit

Chopin Vodka
Polish brand
Potato based, 4 times distillation
Double Gold in the San Francisco World Spirits Competition

42 Below Vodka
New Zealand brand
Stronger premium vodka (42% alcohol)
Wheat based, deep spring water blended
Gold medal in San Francisco World Spirits Competition

Ketel One
Vodka from Netherlands
Wheat based
New flavored variant Oranje released

1x1.trans Karlsson’s Sly New Marketing Scheme: Vintage Vodka
Inquisitive foodie with a professional investigative background and strong belief in the organic farm to table movement. Author of Bad Seeds: A FriendsEAT Guide to GMO's. Buy Now!
1x1.trans Karlsson’s Sly New Marketing Scheme: Vintage Vodka
1x1.trans Karlsson’s Sly New Marketing Scheme: Vintage Vodka

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