Review: Ketel One Vodka (2008)

Review: Ketel One Vodka (2008)

Mad props to Ketel One. This brand is pretty much singlehandedly responsible for introducing ultrapremium vodka into the market, and it’s still going strong today. Made in The Netherlands from wheat, the 80-proof spirit is very traditional on the whole, and not in a bad way.

The taste is clean, lightly citrusy and tinged with lemon, with a touch of sweetness and a menthol aftertaste. (It’s appropriate that Ketel One released a citrus-flavored vodka some years ago; it really doesn’t need a lot of extra flavor to make it clearly lemony.)

It works very well in mixers and is doable straight, but an undercurrent of charcoal makes it a little rough for extended drinking. Not a bad vodka, and at a decent price for something that’s, on the whole, quite refined.

80 proof.


Ketel One 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. Anonymous on October 12, 2008 at 9:38 pm

    I just bought my first handle of Ketel One today and even though today is a Sunday I decided to do a round of shots with my friends, hoping to enjoy a good tasting vodka. After the first shot, we were all disappointed. Ketel One has a light smell of rubbing alcohol, and it leaves your throat with a fire-burning feeling. For the price of $35 per handle, you are better off spending $20 for a handle of Svedka, which taste better and is cheaper.

  2. Eric on December 28, 2008 at 4:03 pm

    Anonymous is crazy. Ketel One destroys Grey Goose or horrible Svedka

  3. Teb on March 6, 2009 at 8:32 am

    Svedka is one of the worst vodkas that I have ever had the misfortune of tasting. It almost tastes chemically produced, rather then distilled. It’s completely atrocious.

  4. Doug on March 10, 2009 at 12:26 pm

    I’m gonna have to agree that Svedka is pretty horrible.

  5. Manny B on June 7, 2009 at 10:55 pm

    Hey–it’s vodka. What do you expect? Vodka is for girls, old Russian men and homos. If you’re looking for flavor, pick up a nice bottle of whiskey.

  6. Yuki on July 6, 2009 at 5:00 pm

    Whoa — whoever would dare to rate Ketel One as anywhere near Svedka needs to wake up and learn what good liquor is. Svedka is about as chemical-y and “hot” as any vodka I’ve ever tried; Ketel One on the other hand is extremely smooth and easy to handle. Pairs nicely with a twist of lime or lemon on the rocks, or works wonderfully in mixed drinks (but if you’re going to hide the flavor of a vodka with juice/etc you may as well find a lower-priced brand).

    I’m not a huge fan of their newest ad campaign (Gentleman, this is vodka), but it evokes the right sense of good taste that Ketel delivers. As for Manny B’s comment about whiskey — sure, drink a nice whiskey when the time is right, but if you want a vodka, you want a vodka. Whiskeys are best suited for a slow, gentle evening, and sometimes you gotta throw the party into a slightly higher gear.

  7. SethRotto on September 1, 2009 at 7:38 pm

    So, I’ve read about 100 reviews from consumers in the last hour, and it looks like I’m gonna have to drop the money and try it for myself, it just seems like you love it or hate it. Any one got a really good argument one way or the other?

  8. RamonJa on September 6, 2009 at 2:07 am

    I’ve found whiskey to be for one who would rather get drunk than experience an exquisite sampling of flavour and body. But that’s just a fleeting observation, directed by one who’s sampled over 70 vodkas and close to 40 whiskeys. If comments placed here are more to try and prove your heterosexuality and less to offer your taste experience, please refrain from making them.
    Ketel One, i must restate, has a very palpable charcoal undertone which made me pull back considerably. As a mixer, it is possibly one of the top 5 premium vodkas out there.

  9. Sebastian on November 9, 2009 at 11:50 am

    Actually, Svedka is a very good vodka: rated it at 91 points out of a theoretical 100. It is not hot, far from it. It has a slight sweet taste and a smooth finish. A little more flavor would be fine – see Sobieski, at about the same price – rated 95 points. As to whisky (Scotch) or whiskey (Irish, Bourbon, Tennessee) it is flavorful, each is different, and generally hotter than a good vodka, which is part of the appeal. Drunkenness is entirely a personal choice and available with any alcoholic beverage.

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