WOO IN REVIEW: Crystal Head Vodka
Available in bars and liquor stores for $12/shot or between $50 and $250/bottle
A few months ago, when the promotional video for Crystal Head Vodka was first released, there was some doubt about whether or not it was a real product and whether or not Dan Aykroyd had totally flipped his cheeseburger.
All I can say is: Aykroyd's cheeseburger was flipped long ago – he is a lifetime member of and consultant for MUFON. He also hosted the television show Psi Factor: Chronicles of the Paranormal which, though it was a scripted drama, earned him the Snuffed Candle Award from CSI.
So the vodka he helped create is, of course, also insanely woo. And I mean insanely.
Crystal Head Vodka is based on the thirteen crystal skulls that have been found around the world, and which some people believe contain mystical powers. They heal, they talk to each other. They may have been created by beings from Atlantis. Or by aliens.
People say the skulls have no tool marks to indicate that human beings made them. Some have said that even if humans did make them, it would take between three hundred and five hundred years to do so. And unnamed physicists apparently also said that the skulls should have shattered in the course of creation.
I can feel you rolling your eyes out there, and if you watch the promotional video for the vodka, you will roll them hard enough to rip the space-time continuum. It isn't just the series of incredibly stupid sentences pressing up against each other like teenagers on Lovers' Lane. It's the fact that the video deeply resembles an ad for timeshares, or an invitation to join the Hair Club for Men.
And it was the sensation of fakery that made the promotional video for Crystal Head Vodka seem like brilliant satire. For instance, Aykroyd pointed out that “half the world believes in such [paranormal] phenomena” as ghosts, aliens, and the existence of the soul. And for those of us who saw the video and may have thought Aykroyd was a very smart man, it was difficult to believe that he had never heard of the argumentum ad populum fallacy. Not only that, but his numbers were wrong – a much greater portion of the population believes those things. It seemed that Aykroyd might actually be aware of the fallacy, and be making a little joke about it.
He said the kinds of things that make skeptics retch a little, and said them with a straight face. For instance, that we live in “a world serving positive projections wherein you use your own personal and mental spiritual abilities to believe and subsequently make true the things you want to happen for yourself.”
I'm still not positive what that sentence means.
When individuals began posting online that they had found liquor stores that sell Crystal Head Vodka, and that all the individuals mentioned in the promotional video were real, it became clear that Aykroyd was not, in fact, kidding. He is not a king of satire.
The Crystal Head Vodka bottle was designed by artist John Alexander in association with Bruni Glass, and was in development for two years. Just the bottle. Seriously. The Newfoundland Liquor Corporation, with the help of Dan Aykroyd made the vodka to go inside it. Dan Aykroyd does have some prior experience with alcohol (and I don't mean that he's a drunkard, though I deeply hope he was wasted for the entirety of that video), as he has his own line of wines, which may or may not also have paranormal powers, I'm not sure.
The vodka is, according to Aykroyd, “joy in the form of a very pure alcoholic beverage.” It is quadruple distilled, and then filtered through Herkimer diamonds. Yes. Quartz crystal. I do not know how that helps the purity, or in fact how you can “filter” vodka through a crystal at all. And Dan Aykroyd promises the the result is astounding, and that you will love the slight "creamy sweetness" of Crystal Head Vodka.
I was very excited when JREF Communication and Outreach Manager Jeff Wagg noticed the bottle of Crystal Head Vodka at Liquidity, a bar in the Luxor hotel and casino. What an opportunity to experience joy in a bottle, and feel the spiritual awakening of... vodka.
So, he and I had a shot each of Crystal Head Vodka. Later, I shared another with JREF Forumite Doubt.
I wouldn't call the experience a spiritual awakening so much as a gag reflex awakening. But let's get reactions all around.
“It tastes like acetone,” Wagg said. He paused for a moment as if about to add something more, but did not mention creamy sweetness at all.
“Yeah,” he said, “It tastes like acetone.”
Jeff doesn't really have a favorite brand of vodka. He is more of a gin drinker. To him, all vodkas taste basically the same to the point that, when in a bar, he will order the well vodka if he's going to drink it at all. But in Crystal Head, an exception was created.
“[Crystal Head Vodka] tasted far more like alcohol than normal vodka,” he said, “It reminded me of Everclear.”
At this point, my lips had begun to burn. Not that pleasant alcohol type of burn. More like I had just eaten a plate of wasabi. Even now, just writing this, my stomach is slightly cramping with the reminder of the taste of Crystal Head Vodka.
“I think it's like nail polish remover,” I said.
The only positive side, and it's an iffy positive side, was that I felt a little light-headed after only half a drink.
When Doubt and I shared a drink of Crystal Head Vodka a few days later, I was struck again by the incredible likeness in taste to nail polish remover (don't ask me how I know how nail polish tastes) – so much so that I actually poured some onto a napkin and attempted to remove my nail polish. Shockingly, it didn't work.
While I was doing that, Doubt took a sip and paled slightly.
“Paint thinner,” he said.
I think the funniest part is probably that, independently of one another, all of us said essentially the same thing. Jeff said "acetone." I said "nail polish remover," an ingredient of which is acetone. Doubt said "paint thinner," an ingredient of which is acetone.
Doubt says that the best kind of vodka he has ever tried was Stoli. I prefer Grey Goose.
No one in their right mind would prefer Crystal Head Vodka, which I suppose makes perfect sense since Dan Aykroyd seems to like it.
CRYSTAL HEAD VODKA: 0 out of 5 stars, and if you must try it, please be of legal drinking age.
The Vodka Companion: A Connoisseur's Guide by Desmond Begg