Founded in 2003 by enologist Jean-Sebastien Robicquet, Cîroc is a modern brand with historic roots. Robicquet’s family has been making wine and spirits in France for centuries, and though Cîroc vodka has become popular among modern American drinkers, the French brand proudly celebrates its roots.
Between its music industry affiliations and pop culture relevance, you may think you know everything about Cîroc, but there’s more to the brand than meets the eye.
Read on for 10 more things you should know about Cîroc.
Cîroc can thank Sean ‘Diddy’ Combs for its success.
Though Cîroc was founded in 2003, its popularity didn’t take off until after 2007, when Sean Combs (also known as Diddy, Puff Daddy, and P. Diddy) partnered with Cîroc’s parent company, Diageo. The rapper oversees all of Cîroc’s lifestyle branding and marketing, and has been successful in doing so, taking the brand from 50,000 to 2 million cases a year.
Cîroc’s founder was a winemaker first, distiller second.
Robicquet is not only the founder and master distiller of Cîroc, he is also a wine pro. He has a degree in enology — the study and science of wine and winemaking — as well as a master’s degree in wine industry law, economics, and management. In founding his vodka brand, he combined his winemaking and distilling skills, as Cîroc uniquely starts its life as wine before being distilled into vodka.
Cîroc’s distillation process is thorough.
While all vodka is distilled, Cîroc’s distillation process goes a step (or four) further — distilling the spirit five times, which gives Cîroc its distinctive citrus taste. The base wine is first distilled four times in column stills, then distilled a fifth time in a traditional copper pot still at Cîroc’s famous southern France distillery, Distillerie de Chevanceaux.
It’s a music industry favorite.
Cîroc’s music industry affiliations don’t stop with Diddy. The brand has also teamed up with DJ Khaled, who helped design Cîroc’s watermelon flavor in 2019. Khaled also starred in some of Cîroc’s commercials and touted his love for the vodka on his Instagram profile. Drake also counts Cîroc as one of his favorite beverages, reportedly pre-gaming his concerts with the vodka, and rapper French Montana even named Cîroc’s French Vanilla flavor after himself.
Among celebrity spirits, it consistently measures up.
Celebrity spirits can range from gross to great. While some can thank their celeb affiliations for their popularity, others like Cîroc prove their merits have been earned. When VinePair tasted and ranked the best celebrity spirits in 2019 and 2020, Cîroc Snap Frost Grape came in second place in 2019, and Cîroc Ultra Premium ranked eighth in 2020.
Cîroc believes that vodka should be flavorful.
Cîroc comes in not one, not two, but nine different flavors. With everything from unflavored to French vanilla to peach to coconut, Cîroc offers something for every palate.
While all spirits are technically gluten-free, Cîroc takes it a step further, going 100 percent grain-free. Rather than being made with grains like corn, rice, rye, and wheat, Cîroc vodka is made from two types of French grapes: Mauzac Blanc and Ugni Blanc.
Even its name is French-inspired.
Cîroc is not only distilled in France using French grapes, its name also celebrates its French roots. “Cîroc” is a combination of two French words: “cime,” which translates to “peak,” and “roche,” meaning “rock.”
It’s more than just a vodka company.
Cîroc may be most famous for its vodka, but the brand also makes brandy. Cîroc VS brandy was released in 2018 and, like Cîroc’s vodka, it is made in France, from French grapes. This move should come as no surprise to consumers, as Cîroc’s parent company also owns a large stake in Hennessy Cognac.
Cîroc celebrates its birthday in style.
While a typical liter bottle of Cîroc goes for around $45 — an expensive bottle, even when compared to other luxury vodkas like Grey Goose and Belvedere — it has an even pricier offering. Cîroc Ten, a bottling developed to celebrate the brand’s 10th birthday, is sold in a fancy, circular, 1-liter bottle and costs a whopping $190.
[Editor’s note: Cîroc Ten has been discontinued.]