Victorino Matus, in The Weekly Standard, takes a gander at the history of vodka, particularly with regard to branding.
According to the Distilled Spirits Council of the United States, there are currently about a thousand different brands of vodka in existence. Keep in mind that the Alcohol and Tobacco Tax and Trade Bureau defines vodka as “neutral spirits [alcohol produced from any material at or above 190 degrees proof] so distilled, or so treated after distillation with charcoal or other materials, as to be without distinctive character, aroma, taste, or color.” Which means that a brand must often go to absurd lengths to distinguish itself from the rest of the pack. Consider Crystal Head Vodka, co-created by actor Dan Aykroyd, dispensed from a crystal skull and based on a mystical legend. Nostalgic for the Roaring Twenties? Pour yourself a glass of Tommy Guns Vodka, straight out of a bottle in the shape of a Thompson submachine gun. (Just ignore the fact that few Americans actually drank vodka in the 1920s.) Devotion Vodka contains a protein called casein, which contributes to a better “mouthfeel.” More important, it’s received the endorsement of Jersey Shore’s Mike “The Situation” Sorrentino. And of course, there’s the quintuple-distilled Trump Vodka: As its website proclaims, “Finally, a vodka worthy of the Trump name.”
Not really a vodka fan, per se, but this is a great read from start to finish.