Crystal Head Vodka

October 24th, 2010  |  Published in reviews, vodka

October 24, 2010

Howdy Joni,
Longtime listener, first time caller. We’re balls deep in autumn here, one week before Halloween. I’m not entirely sure where you’re living these days, but I like to think it’s in some kind of giant cave/crypt, in catacombs miles beneath the pointless tumult of Laurel Canyon, seated at a piano made from the hollow bones of exotic waterfowl and enshrouded by curtains of mist and the jaundiced yellow smoke of an eternally burning cigarette. That may be the season talking, but it’s probably not far from the truth. That would also make a good title for a black metal album: “Enshrouded By Curtains Of Mist”. Do you like black metal? Probably not, but I imagine you would if you gave it chance. You’re animated by the same spirit, after all: melancholy, poetic, eternally defiant. Lion-hearted and dangerous. And it’s in your blood too—the Norwegian part, that is, not the weird, slow-moving, maple syrup Canadian stuff. Just kidding. Or not.

Speaking of music, you’ve made some of the best ever. Tremendous stuff, really—though I have only begun to appreciate it in the past five years. I blame my parents for that. I wasn’t allowed to watch television for a long time, or play Nintendo, and my parents seemed to think that making me listen to the touchstones of their failed generation would be a better alternative. Turns out, they were right. So it was you and Bob (whom you recently referred to as ‘a fake and a plagiarist’. Well duh, Joni. No one ever accused you Canucks of being the first ones to the party. I kid, of course). Every Sunday morning, I scooped up frozen dogshit in the back yard, and you told me what it was like to have sex with Sam Shepard—although, honestly, I wouldn’t wrestle with that question until many years later, during the confusion of a particularly messy adolescence. And your voice; boy, was it fucking annoying when I was a kid. Sorry, but again, I didn’t appreciate contraltos until much later in life.

Enough then with the backhanded compliments and subsequent apologies. Let’s get to the marrow then: you’re a drunk. A genius too, no doubt, but a drunk. Don’t worry, it happens. The debased world of the mediocre and insubstantial works against people like you, sets you up for this. Fact is, you need an addiction to maintain, if you’ve got anything left to save. That’s the way it works—not only for geniuses like you, but for dumbshit rednecks like me who were lucky enough to have parents to supply me with a library card and an above average record collection. We’re in the same proverbial boat: you and me and a multitude of others. Here’s the kicker, though—among that multitude, improbably, is Dan Akyroyd.

Do you know him? He’s Canadian too, and though quite famous, I’m not sure if you’ve seen his movies. He was a Ghostbuster, and occasionally threatens to be one again, though thankfully Bill Murray ain’t having that shit. He has a house on Lake Windsor in Ontario, still squeezes his fat, bacon-snarfing ass into a suit for Blues Brother reunions, and is a card-carrying Spiritualist. In other words, he’s another weirdo Canadian, and like us, a raging alcoholic. Dude makes wine, is frequently seen taking shots of JD at his stupid House Of Blues, and now, he makes vodka. I know, Joni—you hate vodka (Actually, I don’t know, but I’m pretty sure drinking vodka for you ranks consistently lower than taking long baths in gallons of room-temperature Beaujolais), but this one’s different. Are your ready for it? Okay, here it is…Dan Akyroyd’s vodka comes in a skull! No, it’s not Graham Nash’s skull, but it’s almost as good; Crystal Head Vodka comes in a glass skull!

Now, I know you share my all-consuming hatred of cheap marketing gimmicks (and most of humanity in general), but surprisingly, the product is good. Really good, in fact. As you are probably aware, there is a large and vehement opposition to vodka amongst the intelligentsia of the cocktail community; as you are also undoubtedly aware, while this collective feeling is warranted, any time you have a group larger than half a dozen people, one person with a well-formed opinion will say something and everyone else will just echo it, because that’s what any self-respecting group of shaved apes with car keys would do. However, for angry drunks like you, me, and Dan Akyroyd, vodka has its utility—namely, to get us drunker, and thus, angrier. For that purpose, and probably many others, Crystal Head is as good a flavorless fuel as any misanthrope could ask for. You know that weird aftertaste that Popov or like brands leave in your mouth after you puke it up? When I power vomited Crystal Head into the yawning white abyss of my American Standard, there was a pleasant sweetness that lingered on and on; an almost delicate, floral taste. The promotional materials would have you believe that it’s because Crystal Head is filtered through diamonds and the mummified sphincter muscles of endangered Bolivian Squirrel Monkeys, but whatever: shit’s good, and it won’t destroy your esophagus after you’ve knocked back a pitcher of Bloody Marys.

There’s also a seasonally appropriate story about the origin of the unique packaging, but we could give a company fuck, right? Let Dan have his loonie-toonie Spiritualist seance horseshit; we all have our idiosyncrasies. Dan is kooky and Canadian, you have a made-up skin disease that is probably a manifestation of delusional parasitosis (read: you’re Canadian, and really crazy), and I like reruns of Will & Grace with my coffee every morning. The point is: we all just really want to get fucked up, don’t we? And Crystal Head Vodka is a better bullet train to Drunky Town than most. Yeah, it’s a little pricey when we could probably get the same effects by drinking our urine first thing in the morning, but that’s embarrassing, and we’re past all that now, aren’t we?

Anyhow, I’ll let you get back to being brilliant and insane now. I’ve got to get on with my day too; the world isn’t going to hate itself, you know. Feel free to respond, or not—either way, it’s cool. Thanks for the music, and tell Dan I said hello. If you need me, I’ll be at the bar.

Love always,

Crystal Head Vodka: 89/100

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