Jean Marc XO

5 StarStarStarStarStar

Jean Marc XO is a 40% ABV vodka from France. It is filtered with Charcoal. The vodka is produced by Dacourt STE and imported by Dacourt Martin Imports, LLC. The quality is considered to be amazing. The average price is around $56.28 per 750mL. Rated 5 out of 5 based on 5 reviews.

The bottle states the following:

Hand Crafted. Made in French alambic stills. Nine times distilled and charcoal filtered. No 5333C. Distilled from four select varieties of the very finest French wheat. [On the back of the neck of the bottle:] EGE 17520 B/ARCHIAC. Bottled on 21/11/05. LOT XO 003 14:38.

Jean Marc XO Vodka Review

5 StarStarStarStarStar

Jean Marc XO was suggested by a reader several months ago. While I was on a trip to Chicago, I happened to find a bottle and decided to give it a go. Interestingly, this vodka is hand-crafted and has the marks to show for it on the back of the neck of the vodka. Historically, vodkas with numbered batches have been iffy, but the clerk at the liquor store seemed impressed enough that I was purchasing it.

The Shot

Jean Marc XO is great. The flavor in the mouth is unlike other vodkas I’ve had. The taste itself isn’t pleasurable like, say, a flavored vodka would be, but it’s incredibly palatable. Upon swallowing, there is no real burn to speak of, and any aftertaste quickly fades away.

This vodka is two firsts for me. First, I accidentally poured a mouthful, and I was able to swallow in “bites” as though it were a large drink of diet soda (instead of vodka) without getting a queasy feeling. Second, I actually forgot I drank it because the vodka left my mouth feeling as fresh as it was before I drank it. What I mean to say is that this is the easiest to drink vodka I’ve ever had.

The Mixed Drink

I mixed Jean Marc XO with orange juice and Red Bull. There was a flavor I couldn’t quite pinpoint. After discussing it with Erin, we decided the vodka provided an extra coconut or vanilla flavor. This is a great mixing vodka that actually adds to the flavor of the mixed drink. This is rare to find.

Opinions

Erin put Jean Marx XO through its paces. She thought it was a really great mixer, and pointed out to me the mixed drink almost tasted like it was mixed with Malibu Rum instead of vodka. She handled the shot really well, too. She said it taste like when she accidentally gets perfume in her mouth, but she said it wasn’t bad straight since it didn’t burn.

Jean Marc XO is a wonderful vodka. Unfortunately, the price, at least the price I paid, was a little too high for my tastes. It does, however, knock the socks clean off other French vodkas and is easily one of the top two vodkas I’ve had the pleasure of drinking.

Rated 5 out of 5.

Robert Brodrecht

  • Jean Marc XO Vodka Review By taffyg2003

    No Rating

    My wife purchased a bottle of Jean Marc XO for my birthday recently, so I finally had a chance to try a vodka that could rival my favorite, Crystal Head. I couldn’t wait to make a martini with it even though I had just opened a 1.75 L bottle of Sobieski in the fridge.

    The the first sip of the martini was very smooth with an unusual mildly sweet and tangy flavor. The swallow was virtually devoid of any burn, as well. The aftertaste was distinctive in flavor and unusually enjoyable, too. The next sip confirmed my impression, as did the third and fourth, and so on. This was one outstanding vodka! The only negative to the experience was that the near lack of a swallowing burn kept the cocktail from providing the crisp yet smooth palate, like Zyr or Americana provide. Additionally, the flavor of the vermouth seemed to overpower the drink a bit more than I like, even though I make a dry 6:1 ratio cocktail.

    To confirm my initial impression of this vodka, I had another martini with it tonight, and I actually liked it even more. The flavor seemed to be a bit more pronounced and sweeter, the vermouth stayed more in background, and the drink seemed at least as smooth as the first one. I even tried a little straight in a shot glass along side a small shot of Sobieski, and the Jean Marc XO was a bit smoother, while the Sobieski had a mild and enjoyable crisping burn. The Jean Marc XO had a better overall flavor and a more enjoyable aftertaste, too. In comparison, Sobieski was very good, while Jean Marc XO was great.

    It is hard for me to accurately compare this great vodka to Crystal Head since I would really need a side-by-side taste test to discern their differences. Based on memory, I would have to say that they are similarly smooth and very low burn vodkas. The Jean Marc XO’s flavor is a bit more layered with both a sweet and a tangy aspect, while Crystal Head has a more straight forward powdered sugar-like sweetness. Their aftertastes are both mild, sweet, and enjoyable, too. This is a tough call that I would prefer to make if, and when, I have these two greats side-by-side at a bar or home (if someone buys me a Crystal Head bottle for a gift) to savor and compare.

    Till next time. Cheers!

    taffyg2003

    Reply

  • Jean Marc XO Vodka Review By Ben

    No Rating

    I’ve seen this in the store before. I’ve overheard the liquor store employees praising it as the best, and the Beverage tasting Institute seems to like it… since they gave it a score of 97. I’m interested in it, but it’s roughly 3 bucks a shot when I break it down. The coconut flavor you described reminds me of the Opulent vodka I tried a few months back.

    Ben

    Reply

    • Jean Marc XO Vodka Review By Robert

      $3 per shot is what you’ll pay at a bar for a shot of an upper shelf vodka. I wouldn’t get this vodka on a regular basis, but it’s worth trying if you want to burn the cash. I’ll probably get it again one day.

      Reply

  • Jean Marc XO Vodka Review By Rafael

    No Rating

    It’s the best vodka I ever had ! I buy two bottles at a time that will last me for a long time I don’t drink often . I drink it with a splash of lemonade or on the rocks it’s that smooth .

    Rafael

    Reply

  • Jean Marc XO Vodka Review By CFunk

    No Rating

    I love this vodka, and feel that it has an aftertaste of fresh pastry. Very unique!

    CFunk

    Reply

  • Jean Marc XO Vodka Review By taffyg2003

    No Rating

    I still have about half a bottle left of Jean Marc XO that I have been saving to have a side-by-side taste test neat and in a martini with Crystal Head. Unfortunately, I haven’t gotten my hands on another bottle of Crystal Head to enable this much anticipated comparison. I may not get the opportunity for a while, so I might cheat and have some before that time. Maybe I will instead have a comparison with the impressive 1.75 liter bottle of Luksusowa that I’ve been nursing for the past couple of months for the time being. I will report back with any update on Jean Marc XO as soon as there is one. ;-)

    taffyg2003

    Reply

  • Jean Marc XO Vodka Review By teduardo

    No Rating

    Really wanna try this stuff, it sounds excellent… just can’t justify spending that much on a bottle of vodka (plus shipping). If I happen to see it locally, I bet I’d end up giving in and buying it.

    teduardo

    Reply

  • Jean Marc XO Vodka Review By BoozePro

    No Rating

    I was at a store awhile back that had it in the discontinue barrel. Picked it up for mid $30s. It was pretty darn good if you have more money than you know what to do with!

    BoozePro

    Reply

  • Jean Marc XO Vodka Review By taffyg2003

    No Rating

    I recently did make another Jean Marc XO martini, and it confirmed my overall impression that I had posted about almost one year ago. It is incredibly smooth and sweet. The only negative aspect to the cocktail is that the distinctive and assertive flavor of the vodka is almost overpowering, and it creates a cocktail that might be better suited the desert scene. Compared to Jean Marc XO, Luksusowa seemed surprisingly harsh and burned a little on the swallow. On its own, Luksusowa seems perfectly smooth, but side-by-side Jean Marc XO highlights that it is just on another level. The only other vodka to demonstrate such stunning smoothness is Crystal Head. I just might have to break the bank, and finally have my much anticipated side-by-side Jean Marc XO vs. Crystal Head taste test.

    taffyg2003

    Reply

    • Jean Marc XO Vodka Review By Robert

      I look forward to reading your side-by-side. I wish I could get XO around here!

      Reply

      • Jean Marc XO Vodka Review By taffyg2003

        @Robert, both seem to be relatively widely available in the local liquor shops. In my area of NJ, Crystal Head tends to run about $43 per fifth while Jean Marc XO typically costs approximately $46, so I am waiting for a good excuse to add a bottle of Crystal Head to join the open fifth of Jean Marc XO that I’ve reserved in my refrigerator.

        Reply

        • Jean Marc XO Vodka Review By Robert

          $43 for Crystal Head? Lucky! It’s $54 in Alabama at the ABC stores.

          Reply

          • Jean Marc XO Vodka Review By taffyg2003

            @Robert, my wife just gave me a bottle of Crystal Head for our anniversary! I am waiting for just the right opportunity to savor a Jean Marc XO vs Crystal Head martini taste test. The suspense is getting to me…

          • Jean Marc XO Vodka Review By taffyg2003

            Well, I finally had the great Jean Marc XO vs. Crystal Head vodka martini challenge. In the end, it was clear that each vodka had its distinct qualities and attributes, and they made martinis that were quite different from one another. I figure that it is easiest to compare them by breaking down each aspect of the cocktails they made.

            1) Aroma: Both smelled extremely mild and pleasant. C.H. presented a very neutral subtle ethanol-like nose, while J.M. added a hint of the creamy vanilla-like flavor to come. Both are smooth and inviting.

            Advantage: None.

            2) The sip: C.H. was very smooth and neutral, with a very mild initial bittersweet flavor. As the sip flows toward the back of the tongue, there is no change in the flavor but there is a slight increase in harshness (though still very mild compared to most most other vodkas). The sip of J.M. was also very smooth, but presents an unusual slightly burnt rubber and vanilla extract-like flavor. As the sip flows toward the back of the tongue, the cocktail loses the slightly odd burnt rubber* aspect in favor of a sweetening of the vanilla portion of the flavor. Unlike C.H., J.M. maintains its supreme smoothness throughout.

            Advantage: J.M. for smoothness/C.H. for flavor *(J.M. gets a demerit for the odd an slightly off-putting burnt rubber note)

            3) The swallow: For C.H., if the sip was small and directed toward the the back of the tongue before the swallow, the cocktail was extremely smooth and had no real bite upon swallowing. If the sip was large or swished around the mouth before swallowing, a mild harshness and slight bite showed during the swallow. I happen to be among those who enjoy vodkas with a mild Russian vodka style bite, however. In contrast, J.M. was essentially nearly perfectly smooth and bite-free regardless of the sipping technique. J.M. was not smoother than C.H., but was better able to maintain its smoothness under different circumstances.

            Advantage: J.M. for smoothness/C.H. for composed and desirable Russian style bite

            4) The aftertaste: J.M. maintains the sweet vanilla flavor that develops during the sip even after the swallow. It is very pleasant and mild. C.H. has a slightly sweet aftertaste, but can add a mild bitterness if the sip is big.

            Advantage: J.M.

            The Verdict: If I give one point to each advantage, J.M. wins by one point. However, I am also penalizing J.M. one point for its off-putting transient burnt rubber flavor. Overall, I think that Jean Marc XO is the slightly more refined vodka. However, I still think that Crystal Head makes the more enjoyable martini because I prefer its very mild Russian vodka style flavor and bite. Maybe after a few more comparisons over time, I may alter my review and decision. It will be fun to keep taste testing these two vodka titans.

            Cheers!

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