Crystal Head Vodka

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Crystal Head Vodka
Crystal Head vodka logo.png
Champ Shot (2).png
A bottle of original Crystal Head Vodka
TypeVodka
ManufacturerGlobefill Inc.
Country of originCanada
IntroducedSouthern California, 2008
Alcohol by volume40%
Proof (US)80
ColorColorless
Variants
  • Original
  • Aurora
  • Onyx
Websitecrystalheadvodka.com

Crystal Head Vodka is a brand of vodkas manufactured by Globefill Inc. in Newfoundland and Labrador, Canada. It was conceived and founded by actor Dan Aykroyd and artist John Alexander in September 2008.

The blends are 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.[1]

The Crystal Skull bottle was designed by John Alexander[2] and is manufactured by Milan-based glass-manufacturer Bruni Glass.[3][4]

History[edit]

Actor Dan Aykroyd and artist John Alexander conceived Crystal Head Vodka in 2008. 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.[5]

Crystal Head Vodka was in development at the same time as the film Indiana Jones and the Kingdom of the Crystal Skull (2008). Sensing a conflict, Aykroyd arranged to meet with director 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.[6]

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.[7] They reversed their decision after a change was made to the box design.[8]

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".[9][10]

As of 2013, Aykroyd was spending over 90 days a year on the road promoting the vodka through signings and appearances.[11] The brand was the official vodka of the Rolling Stones' 50th Anniversary Tour in 2013.[12]

Varieties[edit]

As of November 2020, three varieties of the vodka are for sale. The original formula, which comes in a colorless bottle, is made from Canadian “Peaches and Cream” sweet corn.

The second formula, known as Aurora, is made from English wheat and has a flavor described as drier and spicier than the original. The Aurora bottle has an opalescent finish that is meant to evoke the aurora borealis.

The most recent addition to the line, introduced in October 2020, is a blue agave based vodka branded as "Crystal Head Onyx" and comes in a black bottle.[13]  The blue agave is grown in Mexico's Jalisco region, and is one of the first agave-based vodkas available commercially.[14] All three varieties are made with Newfoundland water.[15]

Bottle design[edit]

Aurora bottle

The original bottle is manufactured by Milan-based glass-manufacturer Bruni Glass[16] and designed by Aykroyd's friend, the artist John Alexander.[17]

Bruni Glass also manufactures the Aurora bottle. In this process, 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 metalled finish. No two Aurora bottles are alike.

The defect rate on the bottle production is about 40% on the 750 ml[18] and higher on the larger sizes. The 3 litre size is closer to 70%. This can be compared to the less than 0.5% defect rate on normal bottles.[citation needed]

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.[19] Dan Aykroyd 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.[20]

In 2018 the limited edition John Alexander artist series was created, in commemoration of the tenth year of business. Only 25,000 bottles were produced. They are hand decorated with John Alexander’s expressive painting “Dancing on the waterlilies of life”.[21]

In 2020, Crystal Head Vodka released its limited-edition rainbow-hued Pride bottle in celebration of diversity, equality and to show support for the LGBTQ+ community.[22]

Production[edit]

The three quartz filters used in Crystal Head Vodka's filtering process

Crystal Head Vodka is manufactured by Globefill Incorporated at the Newfoundland and Labrador Liquor Corporation distillery called Rock Spirits in Newfoundland, Canada. Ontario sweet corn grown in the Chatham-Kent region of Ontario is processed and distilled four times and not aged, 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.[23] 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.[24] The factory and product is certified kosher,[25] as well as gluten-free.[26]

Awards[edit]

Brand Results

  • 2021 Sip Awards, Platinum for taste in the subcategory “other vodka” , Crystal Head Onyx
  • 2021 Sip Awards, Double Gold for Bottle Design, Crystal Head Onyx
  • 2021 Sip Awards, Innovation Award for Bottle Design, Crystal Head Onyx
  • 2021 World Vodka Awards, Best Canadian Varietal, Crystal Head Onyx
  • 2020 95-Point Rating, Crystal Head Onyx - Blue Lifestyle
  • 2020 Gold Medal, SIP Awards
  • 2019 Most Distinctive Brand of the Year[27] - Australian Drink Awards
  • International Spirits Competition, 2019 - Gold Medal (Aurora)[28]
  • 2018 Most Distinctive Brand of the Year - Australian Drink Awards
  • San Francisco World Spirits Competition 2017 - Gold Medal[29][30]
  • San Francisco World Spirits Competition 2016 - Gold Medal (Aurora)[31]
  • 2016 Buyers Forum Frontier Magazine Winner[32]
  • 2013 GOLD MEDAL THE VODKA MASTERS SUPER PREMIUM DIVISION[33]
  • 2013 Gold Medal "Excellent Taste" ProdExpo, Moscow Russia[34]
  • 2012 NEW PRODUCT OF THE YEAR LUXURY SPIRIT $75+ AUSTRALIAN LIQUOR INDUSTRY AWARDS[35]
  • San Francisco World Spirits Competition, 2011 – Double Gold Medal[36]
  • San Francisco World Spirits Competition, 2009 – Silver Medal[37]
  • 94 Points “THE PUREST OF THEM ALL.” TIM WHITE — THE AUSTRALIAN FINANCIAL REVIEW
  • 91 Points “SILKY AND SMOOTH WITH VANILLA; A CLEAN DRY SPIRIT WITH A KICK OF HEAT ON THE FINISH.”ANTHONY DIAS BLUE — THE TASTING PANEL.
  • 92 Points, Ultimate Spirits Challenge, 2020. - Crystal Head Aurora

References[edit]

  1. ^ Crystal Head Vodka official website
  2. ^ "Drinksdaily.com". Archived from the original on 2011-08-15. Retrieved 2010-12-31.
  3. ^ Bruniglass.com
  4. ^ "Drinksdaily.com". Archived from the original on 2011-08-15. Retrieved 2010-12-31.
  5. ^ Kleinman, Geoff (2010-09-23). "Dan Aykroyd Talks About Crystal Head Vodka". Drink Spirits. Retrieved 2014-01-05.
  6. ^ "Dank Akroyd: The Big Interview - Ghost Busters 3, James Brown, & Carrie Fisher". youtube.com.
  7. ^ Beppi Crosariol. "Ontario bans Dan Aykroyd's skull-shaped vodka". The Globe and Mail. Retrieved 2014-01-05.
  8. ^ Beppi Crosariol. "How Dan Aykroyd finally got his skull vodka unbanned from the LCBO". The Globe and Mail. Retrieved 2014-01-05.
  9. ^ "Dan Aykroyd - 21,000 BOTTLES of Vodka ... STOLEN". TMZ.com. 2011-12-05. Retrieved 2014-01-05.
  10. ^ "Dan Aykroyd has 21,000 bottles of vodka stolen | CTV News". Ctvnews.ca. 2011-05-12. Retrieved 2014-01-05.
  11. ^ "Dan Ackroyd's Crystal Head Vodka: Celebrity builds brand awareness | Financial Post". Business.financialpost.com. 2013-03-18. Retrieved 2014-01-05.
  12. ^ "Crystal Head vodka joins forces with The Rolling Stones-Stockhouse news". Stockhouse.com. 2013-05-31. Retrieved 2014-01-05.
  13. ^ "Crystal Head unveils agave-based vodka Onyx". Retrieved 2020-11-13.
  14. ^ "INTRODUCING CRYSTAL HEAD ONYX, AN AGAVE-BASED VODKA". Food & Beverage Magazine. 2020-10-01. Retrieved 2020-11-13.
  15. ^ Crosariol, Beppi (2016-09-20). "Crystal Head Aurora Vodka, Canada". The Globe and Mail. Retrieved 2020-06-14.
  16. ^ Bruniglass.com
  17. ^ Creative, The Uprising. "Joe Rogan (Podcast Site)". Joe Rogan (Podcast Site). Retrieved 2019-09-13.
  18. ^ "The Price of Vodka". www.simple.com.au/blog. Retrieved 2018-08-11.
  19. ^ Estes, Adam Clark (2014-02-18). "Forensic Artist Reveals the Face of That Skull-Shaped Vodka Bottle". Gizmodo. Retrieved 2019-02-28.
  20. ^ "Dan Aykroyd loves new 'face' of Crystal Head Vodka". CBC News. 2014-02-26. Retrieved 2019-02-28.
  21. ^ Bellwood, Owen (2018-04-10). "Crystal Head Vodka launches TR-exclusive bottling". The Spirits Business. Retrieved 2020-06-14.
  22. ^ http://www.spiritedbiz.com/crystal-head-vodka-launches-limited-edition-pride-bottle-madewithpride/
  23. ^ "Herkimer Diamond Meanings and Uses". Crystal Vaults. Retrieved 2014-01-05.
  24. ^ Childers, Linda (2011-05-09). "Celebrities' secret businesses". CNN Money. Retrieved 2020-06-14.
  25. ^ "Crystal Head Vodka Awarded OU Kosher Certification". Ou.org. Retrieved 2014-01-05.
  26. ^ "Crystal Head Vodka". Crystal Head Vodka. Retrieved 2014-01-05.
  27. ^ "Australian drinks Awards - Home". www.australiandrinksawards.com.au. Retrieved 2020-01-02.
  28. ^ Media, Agile. "International Spirits Challenge 2020 - 2019 Results". internationalspiritschallenge.com. Retrieved 2020-01-02.
  29. ^ "Crystal Head Vodka". www.crystalheadvodka.com. Retrieved 2017-07-25.
  30. ^ "San Francisco World Spirits Competition" (PDF). sfspiritscomp.com. Retrieved 2018-08-14.
  31. ^ "San Francisco World Spirits Competition". sfspiritscomp.com. Archived from the original on 2017-07-25. Retrieved 2017-07-25.
  32. ^ https://www.crystalheadvodka.com/en/news/frontier-magazine-buyers-forum-winner-for-september-2016
  33. ^ https://www.thespiritsbusiness.com/2013/10/the-vodka-masters-2013-results/2/
  34. ^ https://www.prnewswire.com/news-releases/crystal-head-vodka-awarded-gold-medal-at-tasting-contest-in-russia-198765481.html
  35. ^ https://www.crystalheadvodka.com/en/news/crystal-head-wins-big-at-alia
  36. ^ "San Francisco World Spirits Competition - 2011 Results By Brand" (PDF). sfspiritscomp.com. 2011-04-28. Archived from the original (PDF) on 2016-03-15. Retrieved 2015-03-17.
  37. ^ "San Francisco World Spirits Competition – 2009 Results by Class" (PDF). San Francisco World Spirits Competition. p. 2. Retrieved 18 November 2019.

External links[edit]