I'm extremely partial to St. George, because it seems like they can do anything. Rum, single malt whiskey, bourbon, three different kinds of gin, absinthe... the list goes on. It's almost embarrassing how much they produce and how much of it is great.
The story goes that St. George founded the Hangar One vodka brand (now very well known) back in 2001. Then when it got mega big in 2010, they sold it to Proximo spirits, a conglomerate big enough to own both Bushmills and Jose Cuervo, among a host of other brands. One article claims the sale allowed St. George to focus on other weirdo side projects—reading between the lines, it seems to me that even distillers are bored of Vodka.
In any case, the sale came with a catch: St. George couldn't make a vodka for X number of years. As soon as that window lapsed, you guessed it: the boys from Alameda were up and running with a quirky vodka worthy of standing alongside anything else in their portfolio.
Now, consider yourself warned: these guys are spirits geeks, so they have a penchant for the unconventional. Case in point: they make their vodka from a distillate base of California-grown Bartlett pears (among other grains). Unlike a vodka like Ciroc, which is made from grapes but still remains generally neutral, the St. George actually allows you to taste the pears in all of their lovely, juicy glory. I'd argue the difference is good, but it does move it away from a taste you'd expect. And let's be honest: vodka drinkers normally aren't known for a wide comfort zone when it comes to hooch.
I like this because it's a fruity vodka—but it's naturally fruity. There's just a touch of crisp sweetness from the pears, but it combines very well with the salinity and texture I expect from really nice, upmarket vodkas. The aroma is delicately perfumed and there's not a lot of burn at the back of the throat when this goes down.
Now let's give equal kudos to what St. George didn't do: They didn't pump in ninety gallons of Jolly Rancher Green Apple extract into their distillation vat in order for no-talent bartenders to sell overly-sugary martinis to the fake-ID crowd. Too many people running in that race already. Instead, they made something that works on its own or as a mixer. It's particularly delightful in vodka cocktails that call for any kind of fruit juice, where it enhances flavors rather than just adding booze.
Last point of analysis: St. George is normally known for being able to charge more for their products (frankly, because they're often worth it), but this is very affordable at about $25 per 750mL bottle. All said and done, it's hard for me to find better quality at a better price point.