Saturday, October 24, 2009
Crystal Head Vodka - Trick or Treat?
Just in time for Halloween, Woodman's liquor store has a display of Crystal Head Vodka right next to the cash register. While the stack of novelty bottles caught my eye first, the monitor playing the Dan Aykroyd infomercial is what surprised me most. That explains the $50 price tag. I noticed that the vodka is made in Canada and is "quadruple distilled" and filtered through "Herkimer diamonds" (actually a quartz crystal).
I'm not sure which is tackier, referencing the Indiana Jones movie that we'd all like to forget to lend some sort of authority to the idea that the meso-American crystal skulls may be of extraterrestrial origin, or celebrating ancient Mayan traditions with distilled spirits.
The website touts the "purity" of the vodka as if this is a virtue. Filtered, clear alcohol is the cheapest to produce. It is the inclusions, or impurities, that give spirits their character. Of course, you need to use quality products and equipment to have tasty impurities. Rotgut can be rescued with filters and added flavoring. The Crystal Head infomercial does not say it is a small-batch, pot-distilled product, so I assume it is a mass-produced, column-distilled product (like Smirnoff) that is using a fancy bottle and celebrity spokesperson to dress it up as a premium product.
There are other vodkas that are filtered through diamonds, but it is unclear whether this is especially desirable, other than as a marketing gimmick.
This review compares the quality of Crystal Head Vodka to Grey Goose. Most of the commenters, however, say that once they empty the one bottle they purchased, they will fill it with better booze.