With a name like Godfather Vodka, one would assume the product was made in Sicily. Not so: Godfather actually hails from Armenia, a land better known for its brandy. Godfather’s products all include “XXS” in the full name — and that doesn’t mean “extra extra small.” Rather, XXS stands for “extra extra soft,” as it is the distiller’s avowed mission to “eliminate the strong odor and burning sensation of alcohol” in its products. To that end, Godfather is the first vodka I’ve received that includes a slip of paper with chemical test results proving low incidence of copper, methanol, and aldehydes, as verified by the Qulity Control Department of SPS Cigaronne LLC, an Armenian cigarette manufacturer.
Godfather is luxe stuff. The two expressions of the vodka come in fancy boxes, the bottles are covered in fancy engravings, their necks wrung by metal charms bearing Armenian symbols. The vodka itself proceeds as follows (if you can follow):
The making of Godfather consists of mixing high quality ALFA alcohol with pure spring water from the Armenian mountains, and distilling it with our latest cutting edge technology, which purifies the vodka making it exceptionally pure and smooth.
Alcohol “Alfa” is today’s best standard of ethyl alcohol used in production of spirits. It exceeds standard alcohol “Luxe” by many physical and chemical features.
Only wheat or rye are used in production of high quality alcohol “Alfa” what distinguishes it from alcohol “Luxe” for production of which other, less valuable, sorts of cereals may be used. The highest requirements with regard to chemical composition and level of toxic substances are imposed on alcohol “Alfa.” Thus, acceptable level of methanol is seven times less than in alcohol “Luxe.”
Got all that? Let’s give both versions of Godfather a sample. Both are 80 proof.
Godfather Vodka Ultra Premium XXS – As promised, the vodka is very gentle, with a lightly astringent nose and a slight hint of vanilla. The palate sees touches of fruit, a stronger gunpowder note, then lingering notes of dark chocolate on the finish. Again, it’s all very mild and quiet, but that provides a versatility to the spirit, which acquits itself as a sort of combination of Old World and New World character. A- / $38
Godfather Vodka Platinum XXS – This is the vodka with the purity certificate, though it’s unclear how the vodka inside is different from Ultra Premium. That said, they are different animals, with distinctly different aromas and flavors. The nose is sharper than Ultra Premium, with hints of charcoal, petrol, and matchheads, more rustic in its aromatic profile. On the palate we find a slight greenness, with notes of lemongrass and a hint of bitter amaro, licorice, and indistinct spices. The finish is savory, with notes of mushroom and a touch of mothballs. While different in style, it’s still plenty engaging and worthwhile — though you’ll want to mind the price tag. A- / $85