Ketel One


one of the oldest?

This is a review of Ketel One vodka from the Netherlands. I sampled it in Germany in 2011. It’s clear, 40% alcohol, and I thought it had a great aftertaste.

I got this bottle of Ketel One vodka as a gift, so I was a bit more excited than usual. We sat down, prepared the bread and the pickles, uncapped the bottle, and poured two shots.

how to drink

Here’s the way I like to drink my vodka: I prepare some food and some water to have on the side. Then I pour a shot, neat and at room temperature. Vodka wants to be smelled first, and so does the food. After I’ve taken the shot, I breathe out through the nose, long and deep. Then I smell the food again. A good vodka will gently irritate your mouth, making your perception of smell and taste more intense.

That’s part of what makes drinking it so much fun.

three centuries of getting drunk

The website seems to walk a tight line between looking premium and being relatable:

Ketel One vodka website

There’s a whole history around the founding Nolet family that reaches back some three hundred years:

Ketel One vodka website

The site stresses the involvement of the Nolets in the production process. They are supposed to test and approve every batch before bottling:

Ketel One vodka website

One thing I learned was the Nolets created the modern Ketel One vodka in 1983. Their vodka went on to become very successful, and Diageo ended up acquiring it for almost a billion dollars (as they did with Smirnoff and Cîroc).

the hotness

Okay, here’s my review of Ketel One vodka: it was fine at first, even smooth. But the burning started when it went down the throat. I think I would have liked it to be a bit more mild. There was a nice aftertaste though, something vaguely reminding me of caramel.

The bottle design was good, not awesome, but good. And with a price tag of 18€ for 700ml, it was still pretty affordable.

what Ketel One vodka is really good for

I think the reason why Ketel One vodka is so popular for mixed drinks is because it’s a bit too rough to drink straight, but it has a nice aftertaste. It’s precisely this aftertaste that works so well in combination with a soft drink.

If you have Ketel One vodka with apple juice, for example, you will taste the apple juice first (with just a hint of hotness in it), and then the aftertaste of the vodka will kick in, giving you a whole new sensation.

So there you got it: Ketel One vodka might just be the perfect vodka for a mixed drink.


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