Diamonds are a bargain hunter's best friend

Diamonds, we are told, are a girl's best friend. If you can't afford diamonds for your girl, you still can be a romantic fool for a lot less but keep it in the gem family.

The Diamond Standard, a Polish grain vodka, has been introduced to the U.S. market, with numerous outlets in Massachusetts the first to stock it. Expansion into New York and New Jersey is next on the list.

What sets it apart from the gazillions of other vodkas available? It has a patented diamond filtering process it claims is the industry's first such.

"We utilize over 600 cut diamonds of up to one carat in size to purify our vodka," says the company Web site. " ... Our filtration system took over three years to perfect. Its yield is 750 carats of liquid elegance since each and every drop has been individually kissed by diamonds."

The Diamond Standard's other claim to individuality is its Swarovski Xillion Chaton crystal design embedded in the neck of the elegant, slim bottle design produced by Saver Glass from perfume bottle grade glass.

All of this goes into making the suggested retail price $100 a bottle. Pricey for vodka, but a lot cheaper than a big rock for that special lady's ring finger.

Of course, patent or not, this is not the first vodka to go through a jewel filtration process. Even The Diamond Standard is merely an update of something I reported on two years ago this summer when it was introduced to the European market. To wit:

"Although the company hasn't set a firm suggested retail price, its PR people are calling Diaka, a Polish-made spirit, the world's most expensive vodka because of its unique diamond filtration method.

"Diaka, an acronym for diamond vodka, is filtered using up to 100 diamonds of up to a carat in size to give it clarity and smoothness. It also has crystals in the bottle itself, although they're not diamonds."

In that earlier report, I referenced an even earlier report on "the introduction of Diva, a triple distilled wheat-based vodka filtered through Nordic birch charcoal then filtered again -- through such precious gems as diamonds, emerald and rubies, we are told. A glass tube in the bottle is filled with 48 crystals that can be used as a garnish. They include cubic zircona, smoky topaz, pink tourmaline, amethyst, citrine and peridot. Suggested retail price: $60 a bottle."

And, more recently, I added to my "Dowd's Tasting Notes" site a report on another gem: Baojing 168 Vodka.

This grain-based import from China differs from others of its ultra-premium ilk in that, say its distillers, it is created in a small-batch fashion and undergoes "unique filtration through 168 carats of diamonds."

I'm not sure if that is a whole bunch of little diamonds, or even diamond dust, or one gigantic fat rock. I do know the number 168 is regarded in Chinese custom as "being on the road to infinite prosperity."

That aside, how does it taste? Excellent. Clean, crisp, ever so slightly aromatic of vegetal notes. There's a hint of lemon about the middle notes, and a clean, slow finish. And, wonder of wonders, it retails for about $38 for the 750ml bottle.

So, shell out a few dollars for these bejeweled vodkas, create some cocktails and a romantic setting, and polish your reputation as a sophisticated man of taste. It'll give you time to save up for the real rocks.

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