December 11, 2006

O2 Sparkling Vodka Review

O2 Sparkling Vodka
Triple-Filtered Grain Vodka Imported from Britain
80 Proof (40% ABV)

o2-vodka-toast.jpgWe've been excited to review O2 Vodka since we got our grubby little hands on the bottle, and now is our time. We've motored through the entire bottle, formed some opinions, had some good times. Our only regret is that we weren't able to try any of the Tapastinis we mentioned in our initial O2 coverage...we'll try to remedy that when we review the second bottle we got, O2-945 which is the high test version of the stuff. Hell, maybe we'll try all of the tapastini recipes together in one monster drink...sushi-caviar-jelly bean-tini anyone? Anyway, until that magical day, read on for our thoughts on our first bottle of O2.

The Look:
The O2 bottle is frosted glass with a big old "O2" on it, and it looks classy and interesting right from the start. When you pour it, the vodka also differentiates itself from other vodkas you try because there are bubbles in it.

The Nose:
Most vodkas pride themselves on being odorless and tasteless, which is cool up to a point. We mean, you want your drink to taste like something, right? As Rick over at Martini Lounge noted in his review, O2 has a distinct flavor and that is evident even when you nose it. Maybe it was the oxygen bubbles going to our heads, but we smelled a distinct tang to this vodka that made us sit up and take notice even before we sipped.

The closest descriptor we could come up with was "sour" but that's not really it and the smell was far from unpleasant - and we liked the promise of bite it offered.

The Taste:
When we tried O2 straight and unchilled, the promised bite was definitely there, and we changed our descriptor from "sour" to "tart" was very different from other vodkas we've tried, even without taking the bubbles into account. Once we put it over ice it mellowed out a bit, and when we started mixing cocktails we really enjoyed the way the bubbles in it added a layer of character to each drink.

We also want to note that even though the bubbles might not affect the "taste" in a true sense of the word, they do make for a very distinctive drinking experience. We keep having to refrain from calling this carbonated vodka, because it's not really...they've run oxygen through it. This means the bubbles are much smaller than carbonation bubbles, and are more reminiscent of the tiny ones you see in a glass of champagne.

The Verdict:
We were curious about whether this experiment would work, and we're happy to say we really enjoyed O2. It's definitely worth picking up a bottle when this stuff is released in the states next month (January '07), and we'll try to get our hands on what the price range will be. This stuff would be great fun at parties and other social gatherings, as you explain to your guests that the bubbles are in the vodka instead of the mixer - we had some fun with that already and it's great to see the surprised look on people's faces when you show them the bottle.

One thing to keep in mind when you receive your bottle, however, is that it's possible for O2 to go flat. Maybe we didn't tighten the cap enough, but after a couple days being open we found our bottle lost its bubbles, which didn't hurt the flavor of the drinks but took away some of the mystique. You'll either want to be more careful than we were with storage, or make sure you're serving O2 at a party when you're more than likely going to burn through the whole bottle in a sitting.

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Posted by Jake Jamieson at December 11, 2006 7:24 AM
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