Review: Ocean Vodka (2008)

Review: Ocean Vodka (2008)

Hawaiian vodka? Sure, why not? While you may be expecting a pineapple- or coconut-flavored spirit in Ocean, bottled on Maui (the first vodka ever bottled there), it’s actually a surprisingly supple, unflavored vodka, lightly sweet and incredibly smooth. In fact, it’s one of the smoothest vodkas I’ve sampled in recent memory, fine straight or as a mixer.

Ocean is distilled from organic corn and rye, presumably not grown in Hawaii. The water, in a new twist, really does come from the Pacific Ocean (3,000 feet down, so they say), purified and desalinated and mixed into to the spirit to arrive at the requisite 80 proof. The result is something that nods at its Hawaii an roots without being cloying.

Altogether this is a shockingly light and very pleasant spirit that, despite the kind-of cheesy bottle and outrageous price tag (the only real problem with the thing), is hard not to recommend.

Stick this in your Chi Chi!

80 proof.

UPDATE: Ocean was reformulated in 2012. Review here.


Ocean Vodka (2008)




Christopher Null is the founder and editor in chief of Drinkhacker. A veteran writer and journalist, he also operates Null Media, a bespoke content creation company.


  1. brilliant vodka on April 1, 2008 at 8:57 am

    That sure is a fancy bottle. Is it worth the almost $40 ? I guess being organic they can charge that little bit more.

    — Paul.

    btw. did you hear that Absolut was sold (link) to Pernod ?

  2. cnull on April 1, 2008 at 9:02 am

    Paul – I am sure shipping from Hawaii and getting water from the bottom of the ocean has something to do with it. Tito’s is $20, max… this isn’t worth twice the price, but it is quite good. PS Yes. ;)

  3. jazspin on April 8, 2008 at 2:45 pm

    That looks kind of interesting, if only because it’s from an unusual place (Hawaii is certainly not the first place I would think of as a source of vodka).

  4. dave on October 19, 2008 at 4:07 am

    oops, this isn’t distilled in Hawaii! oh well, they just buy bulk alcohol from Idaho, mix it with water and bottle it. and it certainly isn’t worth it. Really cheesy to say ‘made in maui’ on the bottle, and really deceptive.

  5. Christopher Null on October 19, 2008 at 7:19 am

    Dave – I don’t believe this is “bulk alcohol” to begin with… but in any case the water does at least come from Hawaii, and since 80 proof vodka is more than 50% water, that is a significant part of the taste of the product… just something to think about. The price is certainly off-putting.

  6. Tara on September 29, 2009 at 11:02 am

    Actually, OCEAN Vodka is made 100% in Maui. Over the past year they changed their spirit to 100% organic sugar cane from Maui. So not only is it using deep sea water off of the coast, but sugar cane from the island as well. It’s green all-around as 60% of its bottle is recycled glass, and a portion of all the proceeds go to ocean preservation organizations. The taste is amazing. If you cannot tell, I am a fan.

  7. Just Me on March 3, 2010 at 2:27 am

    This is a great vodka and I found it online for $22.99 a bottle. :-)

  8. MK on May 29, 2010 at 5:32 pm

    I like this stuff – hard to explain, but it really good ‘raw’ and on the rocks. The flavor sort of builds and at the same time is very muted and subtle. Might be because I tried it with the most beautiful woman in Hawaii – Yolanda, my lovely honey from many years past when we didn’t know each other at all except for glances now and then…King Neptune recommends it.

  9. Mark Miller on January 17, 2011 at 8:12 pm

    The article is mostly correct, but Ocean Vodka is distilled from U.S.D.A Certified Sugar Cane.

  10. Mark Miller on January 17, 2011 at 8:16 pm

    The price that was quoted was the highest I’ve ever seen. It usually sells from $22 on line, up to $31 and change in Ohio. As you can tell, I to am a fan.

  11. RumB on October 16, 2011 at 5:30 pm

    They’ve switched to sugar cane from grain now, who knows why? Still claiming organic, so the sugar cane is definitely not Hawaiian, since there is no organic sugar cane in Hawaii. I’m going to guess Brazil as the sugar source. So, it’s still bulk alcohol shipped from Idaho, then mixed with water and bottled on Maui. woop di doo. Not a fan.

  12. Jim Elliott on July 30, 2012 at 4:11 pm

    I tasted it for the first time this weekend when Pete Hudson generously brought several bottles from Maui to our class reunion. When I drink, I like vodka. This was an experience for me. It is sweet and smooth as silk. Very easy to drink too much! I recommend it straight, or on ice. Thanks Pete! All the best, Jim Elliott Reno, NV.

  13. Christopher Null on July 30, 2012 at 4:29 pm

    Jim – this is the “old” Ocean. Be sure to check out the new review of the revised formula here:


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