When I first saw Effen on a shelf many years ago, I was impressed by the statement the bottle made. It was as strong a statement as Vox’s art deco bottle but with a modern, minimalist utilitarian flair that made it feel like you were meant to hold it. You don’t wrap glass with squishy foam right where it ought to be held unless you meant for it to feel comfortable in the hand.
And since then, I can’t count the number of times I’ve held a bottle of frozen vodka so long that it started to hurt. I appreciate that the bottle was designed to make it feel a little more like you were supposed to use it.
But, as George Michael once said, sometimes the clothes do not make the man.
Effen has a sweet flavor in the mouth but it has a very prominent burn on the swallow. It’s very harsh and rather unpleasant. The vodka itself has the mouth feel of a good vodka, but the burn doesn’t do it any favors.
If this were an Eastern European vodka instead of a Dutch vodka, I’d write it off as an intentional choice. With Effen, it’s hard to tell. The presented stature of the vodka makes me want to compare it to Grey Goose or other “ultra premium” vodkas that are a bit more tame for broader market appeal. Either way, this isn’t a vodka I will be drinking straight.
Effen works better in an ice pick. Something about the lemon combining with the sweet aspects makes for a very serviceable complement to sweet tea and lemon. I don’t love the vodka, but it mixes better than it tastes straight.
In the end, I will treat Effen like I have over the past decade-or-so since I first saw it. I know it exists and admire the design of the bottle, but I won’t keep it on hand for drinking.