Do you know what Zebra Love is? If you guessed that it’s a National Geographic documentary on the mating habits of zebras in the wild, you would be wrong – just like I was. Here’s the real scoop: it is a trademarked collection of works in Optic Modernism created by New York based artist Blake Emory. And just what in the hell does any of his have to do with Emory Vodka? Well, here’s a clue: the last name of the artist is the same as the brand name of the vodka.
There seems to be a trend, these days, among distillers to engage famous people as brand representatives, but I have rarely heard of an artist actually creating a spirit as a brand extension of their art. Well, that’s what happened here. The marketing team at Blue Vase, in partnership with Blake Emory have translated the exotic, erotic Zebra Love concept onto frosted glass bottles and released a limited edition premium vodka back in March 2015, aptly named “Emory Vodka.” It is imported and bottled by the newly formed Zebra Love, LLC parent company. Emory’s Zebra Love design is embossed onto the bottle, complete with his trademark red stiletto. Emory Vodka marks the first brand extension in the Zebra Love series and features Emory’s “Shauna1” design for the inaugural product adaptation. A portion of proceeds from the sales of Emory Vodka will be donated to the ASPCA to help prevent cruelty to animals.
So is it worth all the fuss and bother? They label their vodka “ultra premium.” I suppose to differentiate it from those lowly “super premium” brands flooding the market. Its price, however, is right up there with the “super premiums” at $29.99 per 750ML bottle. It is made from corn, thus making it gluten free, and is distilled 6 times and blended with spring water and filtered through limestone to insure a smooth taste profile. So let’s give it a try and see if I come down with a case of zebra love.
Straight up, the nose is quite clean and crisp with absolutely no trace of ethanol vapors and virtually no other aromas as well, with maybe the slightest trace of corn and the tiniest little smell of citrus. Otherwise, it pretty much conforms to the classic definition of vodka as being an odorless spirit. On the palate, I get a taste of pepper accompanied by that bit of citrus, but other than that, it continues to be very clean tasting. The finish is very smooth, with a slight nod to the pepper, but otherwise, it leaves a warm and pleasant feeling that lasts a medium amount of time. This vodka is very tasty in that it has very little taste, which in the vodka world is really just about the highest praise. I would have to agree with their positioning this vodka among the super or ultra or hyper premium vodka brands.
On the rocks, this Emory vodka becomes even kinder and gentler. The nose becomes even more transparent; the palate loses the pepper and becomes a true neutral spirit, and the finish is simply warm and yummy. This vodka does not require a chaser. As a matter of fact, this vodka needs nothing but a bit of ice to make it quite nice.
As a side note, hey, you marketing gurus and designers and artists, how about replacing that little black circle with the red “E” on the front of the bottle with a red stiletto. It would tie the front and back of the bottle together and sexy up the front – just a random thought.
This ultra premium vodka is priced at $29.99 per 750 ML bottle and is 40% ABV or, if you’re a traditionalist, 80 proof.
By George Brozowski