The Tasting: The Fifty Best held a “blind” tasting with 17 pre-qualified judges for 52 flavored vodkas in five separate categories: Citrus, Fruits, Tea/Espresso, Cake/Candy, and Misc/Spice. The judges were informed of the categories and flavors, but not the brands. Strict tasting rules were applied. The order of service was established beforehand by lottery. Each of the flavored vodkas were poured into fresh glasses from new sealed bottles, and served at slightly above room temperature. Only ice water and neutral, unsalted chips and crackers were available to cleanse the palate.
The judges wrote down their impressions of each product on score sheets. The scoring was done on a 5-point system, with 5 as the best. Double-Gold, Gold and Silver medals were awarded based on a set range of final point scores received from the judges. There were no Bronze medals awarded for this tasting.
The tasting notes that follow are summaries of the judges’ opinions, with all replicated commentary eliminated. The countries of origin are identified for each brand.