Once upon a time, premium vodkas were premium enough. Then along came a little brand called Grey Goose that convinced everyone that they should pay more for vodka. It took several years for other brands to react to this, but eventually they did, releasing new and more expensive versions of their vodkas. From this era we received Stolichnaya Elit, Level vodka from Absolut, Skyy 90, and I just read about something called Belvedere Intense.
Several of these vodkas have an increased alcohol percentage that helps explain their price increases. Others have taller bottles.
Now Van Gogh Vodka has launched a second unflavored vodka. What's interesting here is that it's hardly more expensive than the regular one. The Classic vodka uses "natural grains" but doesn't specify further what those grains are. Let's guess corn or sugar beets. It has a $27 suggested retail price for a 750 ml 40% alcohol bottle.
The new release is called Blue and it's also known as Triple Wheat as it's made from a "blend of premium European wheat sourced from Holland, Germany and France." It sell for a suggested $29 for a 750 ml 40% alcohol bottle- only two dollars more than the Classic.
I tasted each to compare the two bottlings. The Classic smells more of neutral alcohol than the Blue, which does have a touch of wheaty grain smell. The Classic tastes rather like neutral alcohol with a very sweet finish, while the Blue has a much softer body and tastes creamier in texture, closer in flavor to Absolut in breadiness but less yeasty. The finish has a touch of grain but is dominated by a granite-style minerality. It's good stuff.
Long story short: If you like the unflavored Van Gogh vodka, you'll probably like the new Blue triple wheat bottling even more. And for two bucks more per bottle, it's well worth the upgrade.