Tomorrow the latest James Bond movie hits the big screen, and Smirnoff is taking the opportunity to remind us of Bond’s love for vodka: He’ll be drinking the stuff in Quantum of Solace, and Smirnoff is even putting out a special Smirnoff Black vodka branded with the 007 logo, to be sold only in duty-free shops for a limited time.
I didn’t get a bottle of the Black, but the company did send a 007 cocktail shaker plus a sample of its standard red-label product just to remind us all what James will be drinking shaken, not stirred, and why.
Ah, Smirnoff goes down like an old friend. It’s got that mild sweetness than many of the super-premium vodkas exhibit, plus a good punch of spicy bitterness from the grain used as the base for fermentation. It’s reasonably well balanced and, at 80 proof, doesn’t burn a bit. I’ve noted some heavy charcoal notes in the Russian classic in the past, but in this most recent tasting, I found those flavors to be wholly absent. Put simply, you could sub in Smirnoff for anyone who called a $30 vodka in their martini and very few would know the difference.
Smirnoff has become one of the liquor world’s most successful spirits, and it’s generally neck and neck with Bacardi for the title of the world’s best-selling spirit brand. For such a mass-produced product to maintain quality this high, well, it’s no wonder Bond is still sipping it even though he can afford far more expensive stuff.
A- / $12 / smirnoff.com
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