We have had a vivid discussion about Armenian brandy in one of the Linked In discussion boards.
George, a fellow which has an open minded approach posted this reply below:
So really? Vodka doesn't lack character?
I have to admit, in the diverse vodka tastings I have attended, the different vodkas really had different tastes. Problem here is, that the differences are extremely subtle. Drink a "proper" spirit before or in between the different vodkas and you would have problems to acknowledge any subtleties.
But the biggest problem is, that vodka is internationally not consumed the original way. That means with a piece of bread, the chilled vodka straight up [in a oversized shot glass] and optional a chaser.
I really believe, that this Russian vodka drinking ritual [see youtube video below] is the way how to drink vodka - and only then the different distinctive characters make sense.
But really vodka is consumed almost 100% as mixed drink - mixed with Red Bull [argh], orange juice, cranberry juice - and sometimes as Vodka Martini cocktail. As a Martini, the differences are also muted, due to the fact, that neutral alcohol is like a sponge and assimilates other aromas - even if they are added in a very small quantity.
The only big distinction between the vodka brands are entirely a marketing exercise: target group, pricing structure, style of advertisement, marketing budget and so on - you got the point!
The whole success of vodka is basically based on perception - and yeah definitely deception.
Am I here too opinionated?
I will post an old post of my previous iteration of my blog, where I was much more "fundamental" about vodka... stay tuned!