Crystal Head Vodka
The Crystal Head Vodka bottle
|Country of origin||Newfoundland and Labrador, Canada|
|Introduced||Southern California, 2008|
|Alcohol by volume||40%|
The vodka is quadruple-distilled and seven times filtered, with the final 3 filtrations through Herkimer diamond crystals, which are actually a type of double-terminated quartz rather than diamond. The Crystal Skull bottle was designed by John Alexander and is manufactured by Milan-based glass-manufacturer Bruni Glass.
Aykroyd and Alexander first conceived of the idea for Crystal Head Vodka in 2007. Due to the lack of additive-free vodka on the 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.
Crystal Head Vodka was in development at the same time as the film Indiana Jones and the Kingdom of the Crystal Skull. Sensing a conflict, Aykroyd arranged to meet with Steven Spielberg to discuss resolving the issue. To Aykroyd's surprise, Spielberg suggested that he would have liked Crystal Head Vodka to be served at the premiere.
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 defect rate on the bottle production is about 40% on the 750 ml. Higher on the larger sizes. 3 litre size is closer to 70%. This can be compared to less than 0.5% defect rate on normal bottles.
In 2014, forensic artist Nigel Cockerton used clay to make a muscle, skin and hair construction on one of the skull bottles to see what it would look like if the bottle had been an actual person. The end result resembled a laughing man. Dan Akroyd was pleased with the face, although he had previously thought of the bottle as being feminine due to its size, and had nicknamed the bottle Joy due to the joy it brought him. He said he was relieved that the face didn't turn out to look like him.
Crystal Head Vodka is manufactured by Globefill Incorporated at the Newfoundland and Labrador Liquor Corporation distillery called Rock Spirits 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 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 untested, unfounded healing properties such as "amplifying spirit energy" by some new age belief systems. This proprietary filtration process claims to account for the smoothness of the vodka, however this has yet to be verified by any type of study. 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.
- San Francisco World Spirits Competition 2017 - Gold Medal 
- San Francisco World Spirits Competition 2016 - Gold Medal (Aurora) 
- San Francisco World Spirits Competition, 2011 – Double Gold Medal 
- San Francisco World Spirits Competition, 2009 – Silver Medal
- Crystal Head Vodka
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- "Dan Aykroyd loves new 'face' of Crystal Head Vodka". CBC News. 2014-02-26. Retrieved 2019-02-28.
- "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.
- "Crystal Head Vodka". www.crystalheadvodka.com. Retrieved 2017-07-25.
- "San Francisco World Spirits Competition" (PDF). sfspiritscomp.com. Retrieved 2018-08-14.
- "San Francisco World Spirits Competition". sfspiritscomp.com. Retrieved 2017-07-25.
- "San Francisco World Spirits Competition - 2011 Results By Brand" (PDF). sfspiritscomp.com. 2011-04-28. Retrieved 2015-03-17.
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