The Promise:With its founder dubbing it the Bentley of bottled waters, Bling H2O promises to quench consumers' thirst for both "award-winning" spring water and the luxe life. Part of a wave of high-end bottled water launches in recent years, Bling's elixir starts at $20 for a small bottle and can run as much as $2,600 if you opt for a 750-milliliter vessel hand-encrusted with more than 10,000 Swarovski crystals. (Display case and white gloves included.)
The Reality: The bottle might scream L.A., but the water comes from a more humble source: the Great Smoky Mountains of Tennessee. The company that bottles the water for Bling says its water is sold under about 90 brand names in the U.S. including one that prices its bottles at $2.49 each, available at Cracker Barrel Old Country Store locations. (Drinkers who prefer a glass bottle, which better preserves taste, can buy the Tennessee water under yet another name, for $35 a case.) Bling's founder, Kevin Boyd, doesn't dispute that his company's water comes from the Tennessee bottler but says the "couture" packaging justifies its price, especially with its hand-applied crystals and customizable designs. "I'm not just selling a water," he says, "but a lifestyle."