Ok – I’ll put out a very clear and simple disclaimer.
This Top 10 list of whisk(e)y bottle designs represents my personal favorite bottle designs based entirely from whisk(e)y bottles I’ve actually either:
- held in my own two hands (very carefully) or
- been lucky enough to have enjoyed the wonderful contents from within
So while there’s some fantastic examples out there – this blue-collar, somewhat realistic, under $400 list is not dedicated for them.
However, if you do know of some amazing bottle designs – please feel free to share by commenting below! I’d love to see them!
With all that said – let’s get to it – from starting from number 10 all the way to my opinion on the number one whisk(e)y design. Cheers!
Though I’m not an avid drammer of the Glenrothes Select Reserve, it’s pretty hard to miss their whisky bottle design. The whole package, is said to be inspired by the round sample bottles in the distillery sample room – complete with the handwritten checking slip with all the great details and tasting notes about the whisky inside! And I’ll take that over many distilleries’ flowery description any day!
Having a bottle this eye-catching is almost cheating – let alone the story that goes with it!
The people of Jura – or Diurachs are a rather superstitious crew – and it’s said that pouring this whisky with the Ankh – the symbol of life in the centre of your palm will bring you good fortune. Good thing this great bottle is designed to perfectly allow you to hold it this way.
And after you do it once this way – you’ll never be able not to again with a clean conscience.
#8 Dalmore 12yr
In 1263, King Alexander III went out on a hunt and was about to be gored by a stag – but Colin Fitzgerald of the Clan Mackenzie speared the stag saving the King – who honoured Fitzgerald by allowing him to use the stag as a coat of arms symbol.
So when the Mackenzie family bought Dalmore in 1886 – it was a sure choice. And Dalmore does a heck of a job framing it beautifully.
A punchbowl combination of 24 different bourbon, sherry and peated casks – this limited edition whisky deserved great branding and – it got it.
Winner of the World Whisky Design Award for “Best Single Malt £99 and Under” and behind the back flap there’s a complete breakdown of all the casks that went into the ‘punchbowl’. That alone – is enough is to make me a fan because while the bottle is hard to see through – the process behind this great whisky is not.
#6 Balblair ’89
The box itself, is a piece of photographic art by Finn McRae, depicting the Dornoch Firth at different points of the day under different light, and each meant to match up with one of Balblair’s vintages.
The contemporary bottle design, by Glasgow’s Curious Group, and its pebble shape is inspired by a 4,000 year old Pict symbol stone, the Clach Biorach – as is the ‘B’ on the top. And I love how the whisky is still the visual focus.
Originally introduced onto the market as the Ridgewood Reserve 1792 then sued for copyright infringement and re-released as the Ridgemont Reserve 1792 – this is the official toasting bourbon of the Kentucky Bourbon Festival for good reason.
Part of why it was sued, was because along with the name, the bottle design was said to party resemble Woodford Reserve, but I don’t see it. I like this design much better!
A blend of grain whisky from Miyagikyo and malt whisky from Yoichi, this little Japanese blend made believers out of many skeptics of Japanese whisky.
A part of why so many people bought this whisky in the first place, was this stunning little bottle. Though it’s only a 50cl – it still works out to be one of the best values out there, and it really adds to the charm of the little eye catcher. And I was lucky enough to get the box pictured as a tin! Bonus!
Ok, I’m not saying at all this is priced as an everyday whisky, at about $400 Canadian, but it’s a glorious whisky – with notes of roasted nuts, caramel, ginger, white chocolate….
It’s just stunningly delicate – and the golden amber color of the whisky, with just a whiff of darker mahogany tones to it – is so well complemented by this packaging it’s impossible not to notice the smoked glass bottle, or the Alder wooden box with brass fittings as you’re enjoying a dram. It’s just a humbly designed homage to a beautiful whisky that just totally adds to the experience.
Being a fan of the Bruichladdich Octomore series up until the point of the release of the 4.2 Comus – I was eagerly awaiting it’s arrival. And when I laid eyes on my first image of the bottle – it was a must have.
Winner of ‘Metal Pack of the Year’ at the 2012 UK Packaging Awards – the Comus is based on a 1634 play by John Milton – in which a man with magical potions lures an innocent girl with powerful ‘magic potions’.
All that said, the design matches the story through the whisky, where the most powerfully peated whisky on the planet meets the elegant sweet wines of Chateau D’Yquem. And in effect – a powerfully elegant bottle.
Not that I’ve ever been to the Scottish Highlands – but for some reason – this bottle epitomizes my idea of a whisky that comes from the Highlands.
It’s just got that look of a whisky that’s made with clean, bright and spicy highland barley -(maybe it’s the etching of the barley on the front?) and it’s given enough space to exist without confusion and clutter.
Sorry to get too existential – but this bottle to me is just merely what it should be – a window that showcases a beautiful Highland whisky. And the indented sides invites me to pour myself another. Good idea!