10/26/2009 - UPDATE: I recently purchased another bottle of CVS imitation vanilla and noticed the ingredients were not exactly the same. I haven't used it yet but just pointing this out as a heads up. D
A few years ago Cooks Illustrated magazine did a comparison of Vanilla Extract and Imitation Vanilla. Before I even started the article I assumed I knew the answer and that the expensive extract would be rated the best. They had everything from bottles that were $6.00 for 2 ounces to a imitation vanilla that was $.99 for 8 ounces.
In the taste test they rated a generic local store brand as the best. However, the next two were imitation vanilla. And strangest of all the second choice was from a drugstore, CVS Pharmacy. The third choice was McCormick's imitation vanilla, rated above their extract.
Since we have a CVS in our town I decided to purchase a bottle to try. (I'd have tried the number one pick but we don't have Shaw stores in Georgia, at least not in North Georgia.) I have used the bottle for several months as it is an 8 oz. bottle and I have only used it a teaspoon or two at a time.
I have been very pleasantly surprised at how rich and full the favor is. So in the spirit of saving money and getting a great value I have no reservation in recommending this vanilla.
With all the food prices going up, CVS may has raised the price on this product, but I doubt it will ever rival the price of the extracts.
Give it a try and please let me know what you think.