We plump here for whisky, generally, but I keep a bottle of vodka for Bloody Marys and this and that. I always buy a different one and am always struck how each, tasted neat, is different. Years ago on www.straightbourbon.com, I recall discussions where some insisted only the water, or any flavourings added, made the difference, versus that is the fermentables source used, which can range from wheat to rye to corn and more, or a combination.
I believe small differences in still type, final ABV and feedstock used can affect palate, not just the water for dilution. So can the type of filtering or polishing it gets before bottling.
Recently I was struck by how good the pictured bottle was. The liquor flows on the palate softly and has a very good taste. I believe it is not flavoured especially with sugar as some vodkas are. There may be some charcoal treatment as I think I can taste it. Many vodkas undergo this stage and some national legislations require it in fact.
Few would buy vodka to taste a microsip neat, as I do, and to be sure mixing in cocktails will efface all subtle differences, at least in the medium- and high-price categories.
But for those who will taste a bit on its own, I believe they will see some vodka is superior. New Amsterdam definitely qualifies.
The price is the regular vodka price here, I’ve had others that are double the price and not as good.
The more I learn about the history of beverage alcohol, the less likely I am to be peremptory in judgment. Things become part of the commercial scene for a reason, generally. That Genessee beer I had the other day (the regular lager) is the obverse of the craft beer taste yet I can see how it developed over a century and that many people like it (evidently). It may not be – won’t – something I will buy again very soon, but that doesn’t mean I will put it down, and in fact (maybe the historical angle influenced me) I kind of liked it.
Same thing with vodka versus whisky. It’s like Doug Philips used to say on the discussion board at www.straightbourbon.com, consider each experience as palate training vs. being dogmatic about good, bad, and in between.