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Tuesday, July 11, 2006

Review: Ocean Vodka

Last week two mini-bar sized bottles of Ocean Vodka showed up at my door, just the right amount for one gorgeous, very-dry martini. By "dry" I mean I put the Vermouth bottle next to the glass and allowed the flavor to be added via osmosis. Didn't leave it there for very long though, I'd hate for the vermouth to get all uppity and take over the flavor.

The bottle:
Very cool bottle with an unearthly hue that you'd expect from the ocean. Gorgeous design on the front.

How it's made:
The alcohol is distilled from corn and rye and is 100% organic from Idaho. The water that's mixed in is taken from 3000 feet deep in the ocean and is de-salinated. The depth means that the water is free of impurities and pollution and completely natural.

The taste:
Simply awful. Weren't expecting that, were you? It seriously tastes like my mouth does after spending an afternoon surfing off the Southern California coast. Though they say it's desalinated, it has that grimy salt taste you'd expect after a day at the beach. It tastes like they used rubbing alcohol to mix the drink. It's sad too because I really wanted to like this stuff, I tried throughout the whole martini (what I could finish of it) to come back to it and like it. I even asked my wife to try it and make sure I wasn't just off on my tastebuds. The gagging sound she made told the whole story.

The verdict:
Run away. If you ever see this stuff in your local liquor store write your Congressman demanding a ban on the stuff and that the liquor store be burned to the ground immediately. Oh well, not all the samples can be great ones.

Ocean Vodka - []



Darcy O'Neil said...

So you test things out on your wife too. My wife starts running away when I say the words "can you try this."

Martinifancier said...

I'm not sure what or how much of something this guy had before his sampling, but it clearly altered his taste buds. I had the opportunity, and I might add, pleasure, to do an early sampling of Ocean Vodka as well. I tried it both on-the-rocks as well as neat straight out of the freezer and found it to be very crisp with a nice clean refreshing finish. I'd certainly put it next to Grey Goose, Belvedere, or Chopin. Perhaps he should rinse his glass after washing it in order to produce better results.

Rick Dobbs said...

I was the guy. I write the blog and wrote the review.

Unfortunately, as soon as you said you'd put it up against major market brands, you immediately disqualified yourself as a valid taste tester. Though Grey Goose, Belvedere, and Chopin are decent vodkas, I wouldn't list them as the gold standard for vodkas.

I've tasted several hundred vodkas and know how to do a proper tasting. This stuff tasted no better than the $3.99 jug you can get at your local grocery store.

Anonymous said...

Coming from another vodka lover and someone from the Islands, I must say that I recently tried Ocean Vodka and completely disagree with Rick's review. To say it was "salty" is quite an exaggeration. With 25 years of F&B industry experience, I thoroughly enjoyed this vodka and found it to be one of the smoothest I have had. I look forward to seeing this local product explode in popularity. I am not sure where it is available outside of Hawaii, but I would encourage anyone coming to our beautiful Islands to experience it for themselves.

Anonymous said...

I always say wash the glass first. Ocean Vodka is truly a unique vodka. I tried it without vermouth, just shaken chilled with ice. Then, also tried it with a couple of spanish olives stuffed wtih blue cheese. It truly is an exaggeration to say Ocean Vodka is salty. Duh, there's a little salt in there. It's made from the Ocean. Attending the Grand Opening on Friday July 15th at the Maui Ocaean Center was a marketing coup. The scuba diver's in the shark tank was a harbinger of the success that is to fall into the laps of Ocean Vodka. There are all kinds of sharks out there just waiting to tear apart the new guys. Like its bottle, Ocean Vodka will be around long after its harshest critics have sunk to the bottom of the ocean.

Rick Dobbs said...

I'm glad there are people out there that like it. I really wanted to like it, but it just didn't happen. I would like to say that I would give it another try just based on these comments, but I can't. Just the thought of tasting it again gives me chills.

Hey, we only get 1000 people a day here, it's not the entire world. My review isn't going to make or break this company, but it's my review nonetheless. There are just too many incredible new vodkas out there to waste time on this one.

Anonymous said...

Before committing any acts of arson or political protest, as suggested in Rick's review, check out another more rational review about OCEAN Vodka by

In summary, a rating of "3 out of 4 bunnies" hardly represents a product worthy of the description in this blog.

Keep your eyes open, this is a HOT One!.....

Rick Dobbs said...

Just because I said your vodka sucked does not mean the review was not rational. It's called opinion. If you can't handle negative comments then you're not going to be able to stay in the business very long.

As I mentioned before, I'm glad other people like it. I just didn't. Big deal. Move on.

Anonymous said...

Hi Rick, I live in Hawaii and Ocean is doing very well; I hear mixed opinions about it all the time. I've just tried Kai Vodka which also has Hawaii is made from rice and is exceptionally good.

Rick Dobbs said...

Good to hear they're doing well. I think it's good when something comes out and it polarizes people. That means it's having an effect. As long as there's not too many against.

Sarah said...

Your review is inaccurate at best. Ocean vodka is not made from Idaho corn and rye. I can't take your review seriously if you can't even get the basic facts right.

Rick Dobbs said...

At the time the review was made, seven years ago, the information was accurate. They have since switched to making it from sugar cane.