Belvedere vs Grey Goose vs Tito's Vodka Comparison

Published ~ October 9th, 2020 | Updated ~ January 6th, 2021
Author ~ Riley Taylor

It's a vodka showdown: Belvedere vs. Grey Goose vs. Tito's. In this episode of The Tasting Room, we sit down and put three of the most popular vodka brands to the test.

We offer your average alcohol consumer's perspective and an experienced bartender's thoughts to decide which of the three like best. Will Grey Goose win Alchemix's favor? Or will one of the others emerge victorious ?

Sometimes, going to liquor stores can be overwhelming. Especially if you want to try something new. Our favorite liquor store is the size of a small warehouse, so it can be hard to choose what bottle to grab.

This is especially true when you're trying to decide if paying extra for a popular brand is worth it.

Before filming this episode, I struggled with choosing vodka the most. By definition, vodka is supposed to be neutral and mostly flavorless, right?

So why am I choosing from brands that cost $7 to hundreds of dollars? We decided to try offering some help by choosing 3 of the most popular brands available in the US: Tito's Handmade, Belvedere, and Grey Goose.

Once Carl decided which vodkas to sample, I put together tasting notes from books, reviews, and the liquor brand's own marketing materials. I didn't expect to find as much variation as I did.

In my experience, flavor differences came from what is mixed with the vodka instead of the spirit itself. But, I didn't take into account exactly how much variation in base elements there can be.

What is vodka made from?

Vodka can be made from a myriad of ingredients, including grains, fruits, and molasses. Most common vodkas are made from fermented rye, corn, wheat, potatoes, or rice.

But some are made from sorghum, apples, grapes, or anything edible with sugar or starch to ferment.

With all this variation, it's easy to see how, when you're paying attention, vodkas can taste very different. Each brand we tried has its own aroma, flavor on the palate, and finish.

Vodka Tasting Information

So, now, I'll get down to it. First, here's a breakdown of each vodka's tasting notes, price, country of origin, and dominant grain. Please note, the prices we've included are the consensus according to Google.

The costs of these spirits vary between the liquor stores we visit, so they're going to vary from state-to-state, country-to-country.

Belvedere Vodka

  • Tasting Notes
    • Aroma: Soft and inviting with notes of vanilla, cream, tangerine, and rye bread
    • Palate: Full and round, with medium body; smooth, rich and velvety in texture
    • Finish: Notes of almond and clotted cream
  • Price: $29.99
  • Country of Origin: Poland
  • Dominant Grain: Rye

Tito's Vodka

  • Tasting Notes
    • Aroma: Clean, white peppery, and spirity, with a faint but discernible hint of sweetcorn
    • Palate: Sweet and creamy with a bite of cracked black pepper; clean with an evident grain character
    • Finish: Hot black pepper and brazil nuts
  • Price: $24.9
  • Country of Origin: USA
  • Dominant Grain: Corn

Grey Goose

  • Tasting Notes
    • Aroma: Clean and grainy, with hints of almond and black pepper
    • Palate: Sweet and creamy with a bite of cracked black pepper; clean with an evident grain character
    • Finish: Hot black pepper and brazil nuts
  • Price: $29.99
  • Country of Origin: France
  • Dominant Grain: Wheat

Tasting Method

We each bottle of vodka in the freezer for about an hour. Then, Carl set up the samples so I would be blind-tested. We had glasses of distilled water available to cleanse our palates between samples. Did our impressions match the tasting notes I found?

Blind Taste Test

Sample One

Riley Carl
Aroma Soft and light Sweet and creamy
Palate & Finish Almond and cream flavors Sweet, almond, and creamy vanilla flavors

Summary

Carl and I both thought this was the smoothest of the three. There was less ethanol burn all around. Overall, I think we would characterize this vodka as mild and enjoyable.

Sample Two

Riley Carl
Aroma Grainy and sharp Grainy with hints of rye
Palate & Finish Peppery Peppercorn

Summary

We both smelled grain and tasted peppercorn. We disagreed on which grain, and our palates registered different finishing flavors. I attribute my taste of black licorice purely to suggestion.

I read that Grey Goose was supposed to have hints of star anise, and I thought I tasted it here, but it wasn't very prominent.

Sample Three

Riley Carl
Aroma Ethanol, undetermined grain Sweet; smells like vanilla cake batter
Palate & Finish Pepper, ethanol Pepper and vanilla; creamy

Summary

I did not like this vodka. It burned all the way from lips to the stomach, and that burn lingered. I had a hard time pulling out any flavors other than pepper because of the overwhelming ethanol smell and taste.

Carl thought it had the most vanilla and creamy flavor, but the peppery flavor definitely added a long burn.

Riley's Theories

After tasting all of the vodkas, I attempted to determine which was the Tito's, which was the Belvedere, and which was the Grey Goose. After quickly reviewing my tasting notes and second-guessing my decisions a few times, I made my decisions, and my guesses were:

  • Sample One: Belvedere
  • Sample Two: Grey Goose
  • Sample Three: Tito's

The only decision I thought I was sure of was the Belvedere. I had never had Belvedere Vodka, but it was the only one that really hit all of the tasting notes I had found. And the flavors from that samples matched what Carl had said about it previously.

The other two samples could have gone either way from my perspective. But, since I did think I tasted star anise in the second, I suspected that one was Grey Goose. And the third, I guessed Tito's. This decision came down to attributing more ethanol burn to cheaper alcohol, whether the assumption is valid or not.

##The Vodka BLind Taste Test Results It's important to note that I am not confident in my palate. So when Carl told me I only got one right, I wasn't surprised.

While I had a feeling I had guessed Belvedere correctly, I assumed my burn-to-price assessment was correct and stood behind that decision. Carl quickly informed me that I was wrong.

  • Sample was Belvedere
  • Sample Two was Tito's
  • Sample Three is Grey Goose

What Vodka Would You Want in Your Martini?

Out of the three, Belvedere Vodka would be our choice for a classic Martini. Because of its smooth creaminess, it would be most enjoyable to drink in a spirit-forward cocktail. Belvedere does not burn and is overall a lovely spirit.

Neither of us would be mad about a Tito's Vodka Martini, though. Tito's is pleasant and smooth enough to drink straight. It would also save a couple of bucks if that's what you're looking for.

Final Thoughts on These Vodkas

Like with all cocktails and spirits, preference is subjective. It all comes down to what you want to drink and how much money you want to spend. But at the end of the day, Tito's is our winner.

All we have to say about Grey Goose is this: kudos to their marketing team. Grey Goose is probably the most recognizable spirit of the three we tried and our least favorite.

We hypothesize that it may work in some cocktails, perhaps the Cosmo. But for now, we think Tito's and Belvedere are superior.

For a high-end vodka, Belvedere is a great choice, especially for a martini or a dessert-style cocktail. I would definitely choose Belvedere over Grey Goose for this price range.

But, we both agree that Tito's Handmade Vodka is the best value for the money. It is smooth, easy to drink, and mixes well in pretty much anything.

For our tasting reactions and more commentary, or to watch me make funny faces, check out our Tasting Room video. And, if you have a minute, check out Tito's Handmade Vodka website. It's hilarious.

Thanks for visiting the blog for episode one of The Tasting Room. Go check out our cocktail recipes and other episodes of The Tasting Room here on alchemix.bar and on YouTube!