Crystal Head Vodka
The Crystal Head Vodka bottle
|Country of origin||Newfoundland and Labrador, Canada|
|Introduced||Southern California, 2008|
|Alcohol by volume||40%|
|Website||Crystal Head Vodka|
The vodka is quadruple-distilled and seven times filtered, with the final 3 filtrations through Herkimer diamond crystals. The Crystal Skull bottle was designed by artist John Alexander and is manufactured by Milan-based glass-manufacturer Bruni Glass.
Crystal Head has won numerous awards, including a Gold Medal for Excellent Taste at the 2013 Moscow ProdExpo Internation Tasting Contest, and a Double Gold Medal from the San Francisco World Spirits Competition.
Aykroyd and Alexander conceived of the idea for Crystal Head Vodka in 2007. Due to the lack of additive free vodka in market, Aykroyd decided to make one himself. Alexander designed the bottle based on the pair’s shared fascination with the legend of the thirteen Crystal Skulls.
It took two years to execute the manufacture of the bottle, made by Milan-based glass manufacturer Bruni Glass. Crystal Head launched in Southern California in 2008 and launched in four other states shortly after. It was sold in the rest of the United States in 2009 before becoming available worldwide.
In 2010, the Liquor Control Board of Ontario refused to carry Crystal Head Vodka in its stores saying that people might find the bottle offensive. They later reversed their decision after a change was made to the box design.
In May 2011, 21,000 bottles of the vodka were stolen from a warehouse in Southern California. Aykroyd joked that he was "happy that some consumers will be afforded the opportunity of tasting it at significantly lower than retail price".
In 2013, Aykroyd was spending over 90 days a year on the road promoting the vodka through signings and appearances. The brand was the official vodka of the Rolling Stones 50th Anniversary Tour in 2013.
In August 2015, Crystal Head Vodka released Crystal Head Aurora, a line extension to the Crystal Head vodka brand. Aurora is manufactured by Globefill Incorporated at the Newfoundland and Labrador Liquor Corporation distillery in Newfoundland, Canada. English wheat from North Yorkshire, England is processed and distilled five times in a traditional column still. The raw spirit is then reduced with Newfoundland water to 40% alcohol by volume. Unlike Crystal Head Vodka, Aurora is filtered using activated charcoal; this unique filtration lasts 6 hours to remove any impurities. Aurora is then filtered three times through Herkimer diamonds. Aurora uses a final micro filtration prior to being bottled.
Bruni Glass also manufacture the "Aurora" bottle. The original Crystal Head Vodka bottle is placed in a sealed chamber and electrically charged. Two metals in powder form are then activated and released into a pressurized chamber. The powder is drawn to the electrically charged bottle – completely coating it. The bottles are then baked at a high temperature melting the powder and creating the iridescent metalized finish. No two Aurora bottles are alike. The bottle contains pieces of crystal,[clarification needed] which attributes to the bottle’s fine clarity.
The defect rate on the bottle production is about 40 percent on the 750 ml. Higher on the larger sizes. 3 L size is closer to 70 percent. This can be compared to less than 0.5 % defect rate on normal bottles.
Crystal Head Vodka is manufactured by Globefill Incorporated at the Newfoundland and Labrador Liquor Corporation distillery in Newfoundland, Canada. "Peaches and Cream" corn grown in the Chatham-Kent region of Ontario is processed and distilled four times to produce a neutral grain spirit at 95% alcohol by volume. The raw spirit is then reduced with Newfoundland glacial water to 40% alcohol by volume. The liquid is then filtered seven times of which three are through Herkimer diamonds. These raw stones are quartz crystals, which have been ascribed healing properties by some new age belief systems. This proprietary filtration process accounts for the smoothness of the vodka. Crystal Head does not use any additives--glycerol, citrus oil, or sugar—in the production of their vodka. The factory and product is certified kosher, as well as gluten-free.
In popular culture
There is a Crystal Head bottle on the bar in the opening sketch of Saturday Night Live hosted by Justin Timberlake on March 9, 2013. In this sketch Dan Aykroyd plays the bartender. A bottle of Crystal Head can be seen on set in the 2013 film Broken City starring Russel Crowe and Mark Wahlberg.
A character in Patricia Cornwell's "The Bone Bed" collects and uses the glass bottles for decoration.
Crystal Head Vodka has won awards including a Gold Medal for Excellent Taste at the 2013 Moscow ProdExpo International Tasting Contest, as well as a Double Gold Medal from the San Francisco World Spirits Competition.
- The Fifty Best, Best Vodka 2013 - Gold Medal
- The Vodka Masters 2013, Super Premium - Gold Medal
- Moscow ProdExpo 15th International Tasting Contest, 2013 - Gold Medal for Excellent Taste
- Australian Liquor Industry Awards, 2012 - New Product of the Year
- Australian Liquor Industry Awards, 2012 - Best Luxury Spirit 
- Top 10th Percentile among All Expert Rated Vodkas: Proof66.com 
- San Francisco World Spirits Competition, 2011 – Double Gold Medal 
- Kosher Certification, 2010 - Orthodox Union 
- San Francisco World Spirits Competition, 2009 – Silver Medal
- LA Spirits & Wine Competition: 2009 – Silver Medal – Special Jury Award for Unique Packaging
- Crystal Head Vodka
- Kleinman, Geoff (2010-09-23). "Dan Aykroyd Talks About Crystal Head Vodka". Drink Spirits. Retrieved 2014-01-05.
- Beppi Crosariol. "Ontario bans Dan Aykroyd's skull-shaped vodka". The Globe and Mail. Retrieved 2014-01-05.
- Beppi Crosariol. "How Dan Aykroyd finally got his skull vodka unbanned from the LCBO". The Globe and Mail. Retrieved 2014-01-05.
- "Dan Aykroyd - 21,000 BOTTLES of Vodka ... STOLEN". TMZ.com. 2011-12-05. Retrieved 2014-01-05.
- "Dan Aykroyd has 21,000 bottles of vodka stolen | CTV News". Ctvnews.ca. 2011-05-12. Retrieved 2014-01-05.
- "Dan Ackroyd’s Crystal Head Vodka: Celebrity builds brand awareness | Financial Post". Business.financialpost.com. 2013-03-18. Retrieved 2014-01-05.
- "Crystal Head vodka joins forces with The Rolling Stones-Stockhouse news". Stockhouse.com. 2013-05-31. Retrieved 2014-01-05.
- "Herkimer Diamond Meanings and Uses". Crystal Vaults. Retrieved 2014-01-05.
- "Crystal Head Vodka Awarded OU Kosher Certification". Ou.org. Retrieved 2014-01-05.
- "Crystal Head Vodka". Crystal Head Vodka. Retrieved 2014-01-05.
- The Fifty Best | Best Vodka 2013
- The Vodka Masters 2013 Results
- Hart, Courtney (1 April 2013). "Russia Awards Gold Medal for Dan Aykroyd’s Crystal Head Vodka". Kingston Herald. Kingston Herald Ontario. Retrieved 11 January 2014.
- "l ALIA 2012 Winners". liquorawards.com.au. Retrieved 2015-03-17.
- Proof66 Ratings Information for Crystal Head
- "San Francisco World Spirits Competition - 2011 Results By Brand" (PDF). sfspiritscomp.com. 2011-04-28. Retrieved 2015-03-17.