Years ago, Dan Aykroyd parodied a salesman on TV. Now, he has become one himself.
In the past few years, Aykroyd started his own line of wines and helped introduce Patron tequila to Canada.
His latest venture? His own brand of vodka, Crystal Head vodka. It's based on the legend of the crystal skulls.
As you see in the photo, Crystal Head Vodka comes in a skull-shaped glass bottle. It's made in Newfoundland and filtered through diamonds. The main Web site has more details about the process.
If you watch the videos on the site, you can't help but wait for the punchline, which never comes. Turns out, there isn't a punchline. Aykroyd is dead serious.
The vodka itself is surprisingly smooth, with a hint of a creamy finish. It actually tastes better neat than chilled, believe it or not. I could actually see myself sitting down and sipping on a glass of the stuff. I've never said that about vodka before. It retails for about $50.
Last week, Aykroyd himself dropped by Cranbrook Liquors in Cockeysville to sign bottles of his vodka and whatever else the dozens of eager "Ghostbusters" fans brought for him. The line of folks waiting for autographs stretched out the store and down the sidewalk.
Around 4 p.m., a large white truck/trailer hybrid rolled up outside the liquor store. After a few minutes, out popped an expansive Aykroyd, sporting an informal black outfit. ...
Aykroyd hustled into the back of the liquor store, where he proceeded to sign some bottles in private before heading out to deal with the great unwashed. There, Baltimore Magazine's Jess Blumberg and Baltimore Dining Examiner Dara Bunjon and I shouted questions at him while he snapped photos and such. It was an incredibly awkward experience.
While I appreciated his effort to answer our questions and embark on the liquor store tour in the first place, it seemed like Aykroyd was running through a well-rehearsed routine. A sales pitch, of sorts. He spoke fast and machine-like, much like his Super Bass-O-Matic '76 character.
Here's what I'm talking about:
Question: Dan, how do you go from exploring the spiritual side of these skulls to saying, OK, let's put vodka in them?
Answer: The legend of the heads, which is about self empowerment, positive thinking, your dreams can come true, enlightenment, that directed us what to put in the bottle. We're not going to put an impure substance in here. We're not going to put in a polluted substance. If we're trading off the legend of the crystal heads, which were used by the Mayans, the Aztecs and the Navajo, they were sacred relics. We have to put the cleanest vodka possible in here. That was the only way to do it. The legend of the heads dictated that we should put an enlightened fluid. Hence, no impurities. The cleanest vodka on earth. And now people are tasting it and it works.
Question: Do you still play much music?
I play with the blood brother of Jake Blues, brother Z Blues, aka Jim Belushi. We do have frequent dates throughout the year, corporate events for casinos and private. We have a private concert business that's quite prosperous -- we're out at least 20 dates a year. We just opened our newest house of Blues in Boston Mass. It's a 4,000-seat showroom that feels like 400. It's one of the most beautiful, intimate songboxes I've ever been in in my life. We got J. Geils to come back out of retirement to play, which was a fabulous night of music. Then of course, we did our show, the Blues Brothers Formal Classic Revue. Formal because we wear the formal outfits from the original movie. Classic because we do the classic tunes of the African-American songbook.
Then, Dara asked: What question haven't you been asked that somebody should have asked you?
How to solve the Israeli-Arab question.
Dan, how do you solve the --
I think the 800,000 Arabs living in Israel do a lot for that. There are 800,000 Arabs living in Israel that love it that don't feel persecuted, that don't feel they're a part of anything that's going on in the West Bank or Gaza and they love being Israeli citizens. You have a lot of Arabs serving in the army and if you can get that spirit translated throughout the country and throughout the West Bank and Gaza and get the brethren who are living inside Israel to translate that spirit of peace, harmony and coexistence, it could go a long way.
A couple minutes later, he was whisked away to sign autographs for eager fans.
The whole experience was a bit disappointing. All-business Aykroyd left a bad taste in my mouth. Better wash that out with some vodka.