How Good is Guillotine, Champagne Grape French Vodka?
Guillotine is rather new French Vodka, launched in early 2018, that claims to be “a cut above the rest” thanks to being distilled from Champagne grapes.
Like the super-famous and popular Grey Goose, Guillotine Vodka is made in France, but unlike Grey Goose the base ingredient in not grain but rather Chardonnay, Pinot Noir and Pinot Meunier, the typical Champagne blend grape varieties, and sourced from France’s Champagne wine region itself.
The “Vodka Revolutionnaire” is available in two versions. The Originale is a classic white vodka while the Heritage Edition is a brown vodka aged in Armagnac and Cognac French oak casks.
Guillotine was introduced to the US market in May this year, and it’s found there the support of American actor and singer Jamie Foxx who seems to “love it”.
So, has using grapes from one of the world’s finest wine terroir made a difference for crafting a super-fine Vodka?
I’m no Vodka expert. A wine expert rather! But I can appreciate a fine spirit when I taste one.
And I have to admit being happily surprised by the precision of flavors, and by the smoothness of both Guilltine vodkas.
They are delicately-scented, subtle in their aromatic and flavor expressions, and utterly pleasing to sip. The very definition of a fine spirit!
While the Originale remains a white Vodka, a fairly neutral alcohol, with pungent gin-like notes to it when it warms up though, the Heritage Edition clearly is something special.
Most spirits that are aged in oak have stronger flavors to start with before they take on the oaky influence. The result of ageing Guillotine Vodka in Cognac and Armagnac, Limousin oak barrels, is a delicate and precise oaky expression, filled with caramel and hazelnut goodness, complemented by gorgeous citrus peel confit generosity.
Below are my full tasting notes for each of Guillotine’s vodkas, and the tasting video where I analyzed and reacted ‘live’ to my first impressions with the products.
Watch Guillotine Vodka Reviews in Video
Guillotine ‘Originale’ Grape Vodka – Review Notes
A clear Vodka with both a pungent and delicate aromatic profile.
The aromas are soft and mild to the nose, but they are also surprisingly fragrant, especially as the Vodka warms up a little. Explosive notes of lime and lemon, come with herbal scents of juniper and white pepper, orange peel and star anise.
There’s something of a Gin’s aromatic profile, but much subtler and more delicate…
The tasting sensation is utterly soft and smooth, with no edges or aggressiveness whatsoever, just a cloud of warming alcohol on a round and oily texture, with a burst of fruity and minty flavors.
An extremely delicate and smooth Vodka, filled with interesting, layered and zingy scents of herbs, citrus and delicate spices, delivering a sensation of purity and utter smoothness for a seamless tasting experience.
A wonderful clear Vodka.
Guillotine ‘Heritage Edition’ Oak-Aged Grape Vodka – Review Notes
With a shiny amber color, not too dark but certainly clearly with a heap of brown hues, this oak-aged Vodka matured in Cognac and Armagnac barrel is pungent and intriguing to smell at.
What surprises most at first smell, is the abundance of citrus peels scents. Orange, cumquat, lemon and lime peels make for a sensational first impression. Soft herbal scents of juniper and fennel, augmented by super-delicate scents of caramel and French vanilla, make for a very lifted yet deep and complex, charming sniffing experience.
The palate though, is the absolute revelation (or is it a revolution?) here!
Just like the Originale, this is a very soft and utterly smooth Vodka, dry and focused, yet perhaps sweeter in its expression that its clear sibling, the influence of the ageing in oak certainly.
From the mid-palate on though, come in silky oak phenolics, adding a deepening textural element.
Flavors are explosive, dominated by warming sweet citrus confit notes, layered with a heap of sweet spices. It is somewhat like tasting a warm and comforting Christmas pudding that would have been generously covered in booze.
Vanilla, raisin, dried pineapple, cinnamon and clove, nutmeg and pepper, come with dried apricot, prune and star anise. Your mind is taken to a frantic universe of flavors, yet a very comforting and pleasing one.
Pure and precise fruity flavors are surrounded by the generosity of a myriad of spices and sun-dried fruits and the depth of complex oaky scents.
The purity of a Vodka with a Gin-like edge, married to an oaky, Cognac-like complexity.
The whole makes for a rare, incredibly satisfying, and unique tasting sensation. Something I had never experienced before.
Softer and fruitier that a brandy, even a fine one. Generously-scented like a Gin, yet restrained and precise like a Vodka.
Perhaps indeed, the Guillotine Vodka is a Revolution. At least, it IS certainly a revelation….