Review: Kirkland Signature Vodka (or, Is It Or Is It Not Grey Goose?)
There’s just no possible way to write a decently comprehensive piece about Kirkland Signature’s bowling-pin-sized vodka offering without addressing the rumor that swirls around it – is it repackaged Grey Goose? Every Costco representative I’ve talked to about the stuff has at least mentioned the rumor, as have many of the people who have seen one of the bottles near my liquor shelf (usually it’s too tall to go with the rest and demands special display). Google was no help, as there were no substantiated claims either way, just a lot of arguing back and forth. The most likely theory the Bartender found was that KS had bought an old Grey Goose distillery and was using water from the same river in France to produce it, but again, it was presented without any evidence.
While taste tests are always going to be somewhat subjective, it seems likely that comparing two products for objective similarities and differences should be far easier to do with accuracy than simply trying a single spirit and giving it a rating. Additionally, the Bartender cites her above-average depth of experience with vodka-tasting, as well as her lukewarm reaction to Goose from the fancy frosted bottle, as qualifications to make the call.
So, are they the same thing? Drumroll, please…
No. No, they are not. And in the Bartender’s opinion, the Kirkland Signature is superior.
The rumor’s foundation is certainly easy enough to see. Nearly identical on the nose and tongue (slightly vanilla-y, slightly sweet, very smooth) it’s not until the finish where the two really differentiate themselves. As previously noted, Goose just sort of fades off into a very mild burn with no real standout flavors. Kirkland, on the other hand, is far more distinctive: a slightly more noticeable burn and notes of charcoal and olive that might lend themselves well to a martini.
Impressive as the Kirkland vodka is, however, the best thing about it might be its price – assuming you already have the Costco membership, you can get a 1.75 L handle of it for $27, less than a single 750 mL fifth of Goose costs. This makes it only a little more expensive than many mid-shelf vodkas, and it completely lacks the bitter finish of those offerings, which makes it simultaneously a fantastic straight vodka and an excellent mixer. Wrap that up with the fact that the bottle practically doubles as a cricket bat or home-defense weapon, and how can you say no? A++ with cherries on top