Ciroc has been making a play for the tropical fruit vodka market, with an enjoyable Mango Vodka and now a re-release of its Summer Watermelon vodka. Calling it a Limited Edition maybe adds a little cachet to what could otherwise be just another flavored vodka, but it does mean that when it’s gone, it’s gone… for this summer, at least.
Is it worth going after, though? It isn’t cheap, and if your price is higher than your ABV, the product had better be good. The first thing to say is that it needs chilling. Tasted at room temperature — when the room temperature was in the 80s — brought out the bad side of watermelon, where instead of tasting and smelling fresh and sweet, it gave off the unmistakable and unpleasant aroma of over-ripe rind.
Chilling the vodka, even for just a few minutes with an ice cube, revealed a different story. On the nose it became what it should be: the delicately-sweet smell of a freshly-sliced watermelon. There were hints of vanilla and even strawberry, no doubt from the sugar content of the watermelon with which the five-times-distilled vodka is infused. There are unspecified artificial flavors added too.
On the palate it was equally fresh and fruity, with more of the watermelon coming through, but still notes of strawberry, vanilla, and a hint of banana for the full-on tropical taste. That over-ripe rind only really comes back on the finish, but the sour taste is now balanced by all the sweet fruit so it was just part of the mix and not disagreeably dominant.
Ciroc Summer Watermelon Vodka wasn’t a good match for the bitterness of tonic, but it did pair well with a bubbly soda and a squeeze of lime. It should also add a touch of class and pizazz to a vodka sangria or a fruit punch.