Rapper, producer, and all around music mogul Sean “P.Diddy” Combs is back at it again. He recently announced that his award-winning vodka brand Ciroc will be launching a new flavor this summer and it’s called Ciroc Summer Watermelon!
In case you missed it, Diddy took to social media and tweeted an emoji of a watermelon, with a GIF that shows him dancing in silk pajamas. He also mentioned that it will be available for a limited time only so you can expect this to sell out fast. Last years release, the Ciroc Summer Colada was a huge hit and was released and hyped in similar fashion.
Ciroc Summer Watermelon has been popping up on social media all week so it is available now in certain markets but a national release date is not yet known. Price is expected to be around 29.99 (750ml) in line with its other flavors. Be on the lookout for more information on where to find it in the next couple of weeks.
Would you buy a $250 bottle of vodka? P. Diddy and Ciroc Vodka think someone will. He announced last month via social media that Ciroc, the brand he’s represented since the mid 2000’s will be releasing a new expression of Ciroc called Ciroc X or Ciroc Ten. It’s not gonna be an easy purchase. It’s gonna cost a cool 250 bucks and in case you’re keeping track that means a 750ML bottle will cost more than about 7 bottles of Grey Goose, 8 bottles of Belvedere and 8 bottles of the original Ciroc vodka.
Don’t get me wrong, they aren’t the first brand to release an ultra exclusive high-end expression of their spirit, but when it comes from a vodka brand I tend to laugh a little bit. High end rum and whiskeys I get, but I have yet to taste the difference between a bottle of vodka thats under $50 and one that is over it. There are exceptions. Grey Goose makes a new luxury XO vodka that’s created like a cognac, and so it carries some flavors of a cognac and is actually a great introduction into drinking cognac for the vodka lover. I’ve had Stoli Elite, Absolute Elyx, the high-end Russian Standard brand and a shit ton bunch of other brands. If you actually drink vodka straight on the rocks or vodka and tonic cool for you. If you’re a vodka martini fan and keep it simple, way to go. These are the people who MIGHT notice the subtle differences in brands. The majority of the rest of you are throwing it into sugary drinks with mixers that cover up the flaws.
Even with that said, Ciroc Ten will most likely fall into the category of “Baller status” brands sold mostly at high-end night clubs and lounges when a celebrity, athlete, or person trying to keep up with the Jones’s wants to impress people. Put it right next to a bottle of Ace of Space, Hennessy White, Cristal, and a slew of others that are “good” but not worth their price tag. Kudos to Diddy though, he is the king of marketing and selling his brands and I assume this one will be a success in the market he’s selling to per his words:
“BreakingNews MY NEWEST CREATION!!!!! #CIROC10 !!!!!!! #ItsEXSPENSIVE #ItsNotForEverbody #WATCH ……I Like EXPENSIVE SHIT!!!!!!!”
For the Culture: Black Owned Liquor Brands You Can Buy Right Now
African American business owners are continuing to further expand into industries where we previously have been MIA or severely underrepresented. From contractors and restaurant owners, to tech startups and real estate, Black-owned businesses are growing at a rapid pace. One question we often see asked in the African American community is “are there any black owned liquor brands ” I can buy from. So today we’ve put together a starters list and plan to continue to add to this list with future articles.
Before we get to the list, we did want to separate fact from fiction because many consumers believe some brands are black or minority owned when they are in fact just being promoted or endorsed by a spokesperson who either has no ownership in the brand OR is a minority owner with ownership gained through their agreement to use their celebrity status to promote. Think Sean “Diddy” Combs and Ciroc, Curtis “50 Cent” Jackson and Effen Vodka, Ludacris and Conjure Cognac. So after putting on our research cap, here are several black owned liquor brands started by and/or owned by African american entrepreneurs. This one’s for the culture, so if you didn’t know what’s what, here’s your chance to find out!
Price: $43.99 and up (Depending on location, and which expression of whiskey)
2019 was big for Uncle Nearest, 2020 is trending in the same direction. You may have heard of this one because it got a lot of attention recently. Uncle Nearest is named after the Nathaniel “Nearest” Green, the first African American master distiller in the United States who was not only a slave but who taught Jack Daniel’s how to make whiskey. After learning of his story, Fawn Weaver, an African-American best selling author resurrected his name and launched the brand. Today, Uncle Nearest is available in 48 states and 148 countries, and is the fastest-growing independent American spirit. They offer 3 expressions, 1884, 1856, and a single barrel, 1820. A portion of sales are being redirected to a college fund for the descendants of Green’s family.
Inspired by whiskey culture and motivated by a deep concept of family and friendship, Jason Ridgel founded Guidance Whiskey in October of 2018. For Ridgel and his team, the word ‘Guidance’ just made sense. It represents all those that came before and those that helped along the way. Aged for 2 years, this premium adult beverage was introduced, distilled in Iowa in a small batch and housed in Nashville, TN. As an American whiskey careful blend of corn and rye with a touch of malted barley, it accomplishes a smooth intense finish. You can’t miss the burnt caramel from smoked barrels that lead to the Moschino cherry and/or vanilla essence based on your palette. Guidance is a young whiskey that is rare and perfect for the novice & the aficionados.
In 2013, attorney and Minneapolis native Chris Montana founded Du Nord Craft Spirits with his wife, Shanelle,. He is the CEO and head distiller. and he now serves as not only the founder, but also the CEO and head distiller. The goal was to start a family business that would bring together Shanelle Montana’s rural upbringing on a Cold Spring, MN farm and Chris’ experience growing up in Minneapolis. The result is Du Nord Craft Spirits, a scrappy distillery born of rural practicality and city vibe. Since 2013 they’ve grown from their humble beginnings to offer several expressions ( Vodka, Gin, Whiskey, Apple and Coffee Liqueurs). Du Nord is committed to diversifying the craft alcohol community and actively recruits the underrepresented communities of women and racial minorities to join the Du Nord family. You can currently find their products across hundreds of locations in Minnesota.
Shadow Ridge Spirits Company is owned by Sean Hallman, an African American and a veteran of the United States Navy. Shadow Ridge Spirits Company specializes in premium small-batch, hand-crafted spirits. and include bourbon, rye, peated single malt, American single malt, barrel aged and silver rums. They are currently developing their first gin as well. Though they are located in California, in addition to finding them locally they do offer an online shop as well.
Bleu Vodka is a 100% all natural, gluten free infused vodka based line of liqueurs that’s been in business since 2016. It’s founder, Mrs. Jetter is CEO & Co-Founder of VBJ Beverages, the makers of Brand BLEU. They currently offer a blueberry and citrus expression. You can currently find them in retailers throughout Illinois and Iowa.
Like the name suggests, Brough Brothers Whiskey is the brainchild of three siblings, Victor, Chris, and Bryce Yarbrough out of Kentucky. Coming from humble beginnings on the West end of Louisville, and inspired by their travels, they returned home to create a product/brand that would make a positive and lasting impact on both their local and global communities. The bottle itself features the three brothers faces as well as the lovely skyline of the city they call home.
VG Vodka is the creation of Victor George Harvey, a spirits industry veteran, and an accomplished entrepreneur. Although they are a vodka brand currently, they have plans to expand into the other spirits categories such as whiskey, gin, tequila, and specialty liqueurs. Recently VG was blessed to be selected to create a signature cocktail for the Florida State Minority Supplier Development Council. The brand made some big waves earlier this year when it was announced that American Rapper FLO RIDA joined the company as an equity partner to help build a 13,000 square foot distillery in Fort Lauderdale. You can currently find VG vodka in Florida and Georgia retail and bars.
Black Momma Vodka was developed and created by Vanessa Braxton, the first African American woman owner and operator of a Nationally Distributed Vodka in the United States. She’s originally from Brooklyn and has a background in construction and engineering. Black Momma Vodka is a Superior Vodka . It’s Flagship Vodka is 80 proof. It’s Distilled 5 times and Filtered 5 times from corn for its signature smooth taste. It’s distilled through Crushed Diamond Lava Rocks and fused with Cascade Mountain Spring Water from Oregon
Timeless Vodka is an award winning brand newer on the scene from an energetic entrepreneurial couple out of Houston. It’s produced using fresh mineral-rich water and is distilled 4 times. They use a unique carbon filtration process to smooth out their brand and remove an impurities. Of course it’s gluten free and works in just about any type of cocktail and for any occasion. For Information on where to buy, visit their website at www.Timelessvodka.com
So there you have it, we tried to find something for everyone. As an African American blogging couple ourselves we wanted to continue to show support towards Black owned liquor brands that we love as well as one’s we have not tried and want to. In addition to these 9 brands, you can check out these 13 Black Owned Drinks Businesses as well that covers beer, wine, and a even tea! If you have the opportunity, give these brands a try and see what you think! We’ll be looking to add more to this list in the future, if you know or love a brand, feel free to send us an email at Info@intoxicology.net OR drop a link in the comments below.
So what IS the difference between a good vodka and a bad one? Is it the taste? Is it the after taste? Is it the feeling you’re left with the next morning, i.e. a hangover? One of my favorite things to talk about with consumers is why exactly they drink “their” brand of vodka. Power houses like Grey Goose and Belvedere have done a great job of selling their brand, but is it the taste or is it marketing? One brand, Purity Vodka, decided back in the spring they wanted to challenge peoples way of thinking when it comes to picking a vodka.
“Grey Goose® has been claiming for a long time to be the ‘world’s best tasting vodka’,” says Thomas Kuuttanen, founder and master blender of Purity Vodka. “I am very proud of my vodka and believe its taste speaks for itself. And, we have won quite a few awards to prove that, so, I thought we’d kick-off a friendly competition to let Grey Goose® vodka drinkers decide.”
So with that being said, they created the “Ultimate Taste Challenge”. This past month, at Tales of the Cocktail, Purity hosted a set of blind taste tests to a group of media and presenters initially, followed by the general Tales attendees. Each time, we were presented with two identical small glasses and asked to pick our favorite. The ones containing Purity were specially marked with infrared ink and would be revealed once you made your selection.
So what were the result? Initially, during the first test Purity took home the belt, with 72% of the tasters choosing Purity over Grey Goose. In their second tasting, they added in samples of heavyweight contenders: Ciroc and Ketel One, in addition to the already used Grey Goose. Even with 2 new big popular brands against them, Purity still took home the title with 61% of tastes choosing their brand. Amazing what a little un-biased drinking can do for you right?
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