Luxury drinks packaging of course isn’t an interesting item in terms of packaging technology. More often than not it’s a limited edition of some sort of exclusive spirit, whisky or vodka, where the most exorbitant design dominates the packaging. It’s curious to see, that not many of them are landing in the European markets. Apparently the people over there are either not wealthy enough or not that stupid to pay exorbitant prizes for products they can obtain in less exotic packaging for much less, but with the same quality.
Consequently almost all these luxury editions end up at the airport shops in Asia (China, Singapore, Taiwan) and every now and then in New York or Los Angeles. That means that more often than not we don’t see these luxury packages reviewed. On top of this most companies don’t reveal details about the packaging and only talk about the exclusivity and exceptionalism of the content.
Not much to tell, but let’s have a look at some recently launched luxury packaging.
Cognac Hennessy 250 Collectors Blend
Celebrating its 250th Anniversary Hennessy Cognac pays tribute to two and a half centuries of excellence and over seven generations of Maison Hennessy with a bottle presented as an elegant crystal decanter.
The decanter is a sleek and contemporary take on the classic Hennessy shape bottle and is created by glassware designer Stéphanie Balini, who also designed the Hennessy Paradis Imperial bottle and early in her career was honoured as a Young Designer by the luxury goods association Comité Colbert.
Hennessy 250 Collector Blend was designed as a limited edition, in line with the privileges associated with its brand name. With only 250 barrels (of 250 litres each, instead of a standard 279 litres) available, even the barrels had to be specially sourced and crafted. Hennessy only uses large-grained French oak that had been ‘seasoned’ by the sun, rain, wind and snow for three years, and have to be carefully toasted by a strong fire before they can be considered fit to be made into Hennessy barrels.
Designed by Design Bridge, London, Smirnoff White is an exclusive new vodka, specifically created for the global retail travel market. Smirnoff White vodka is purified and freeze-filtered at -6°C, which gives it an unprecedented smooth taste.
The packaging design was inspired by the brand’s glamorous past, which extends all the way back to Tsarist Russia.
The Smirnoff White comes in a clear (in the bottom) and smoothly frosted (in the top) bottle that pays tribute to the crystalline formations of the purest arctic ice. The transparent cut-glass base of the bottle is designed to highlight it. There’s a golden Smirnoff White logo placed against the white finish of the bottle closer to its neck that symbolizes a block of solid ice.
Winning the award for World’s Best Cognac Design in the World Drinks Awards 2015, the beautiful bell shaped bottle reflects the care and attention that has been gone into designing this understated yet luxury product.
This is not an ordinary bottle of Cognac. The bottle is uniquely shaped, almost gothic or medieval. Its double cross emblem has some extraordinary detail and provides a confident attitude, being the only adornment to the bottle, while the glass topper completes the luxury feeling of this ultra-premium blend from Château de Cognac.
Like the D’ussé VSOP cognac, the Poniatowski vodka bottle received the award for World’s Best Vodka Design in the World Drinks Awards 2015. Smoked glass and foil labels enforce the quality feel to this pack.
The judges decided that Poniatowski has combined great detailing and sophisticated colouring to create an elegant design that places it well in the premium category
And of course there is the award for the World’s Best Whisky Design, which went to the Haig Club Bottle. Blue, gold and beautiful, this innovative design by Love is a grand departure from traditional whisky that will hopefully draw a younger audience. With its ground-breaking shape and stand out colour it’s positioned itself well in what was becoming a tired category.
The company expects that it “shall do for whisky what Absolut has done for vodka”.
Diageo, the producer of the Haig states that the blue 700ml glass bottle was inspired by the tradition of the blenders using blue tasting glasses, so the spirit can be reviewed on aroma and taste alone. The colour of the closure was inspired by the copper stills that were historically used to distil grain whisky.
However the internet isn’t overly positive. A reviewer typifies the Haig Club whisky bottle as a resemblance of an oversized, blue-tinted perfume bottle.
Aberfeldy 21 Years Old
In 2014 thedrinksreport.com wrote that the Aberfeldy range had undergone a bottle and package redesign with the use of deep black and gold by Stranger & Stranger to ‘reflect the hand-crafted nature’ of Aberfeldy Single Malt.
The Gold lettering is meant to represent the birthplace of John Dewar and the whisky’s water source, the Pitilie Burn, where sedimentary gold has been found through the centuries.
The bottles display a Royal Warrant, which has been held by John Dewar & Sons since 1893, the only Scotch whisky distiller to continuously hold a Royal Warrant since the reign of Queen Victoria.
Chabot Extra Armagnac
Designed by French glass artisan Richard Lauret, the bottle is a serene confluence of harmonious yin and yang Zen-like lines.
Its deep amber colour, highlighted by bright copper reflections, is pure perfection of some exceptional Armagnacs, some aged up to 50 years. The bottle design won the Travel Retail Excellence Award in 2009.
Macallan 1894 Master Series
The 1824 Masters Series features two new blends in decanters by Lalique. Exclusively designed and crafted for The Macallan by the exquisite craftsmanship of Lalique, this flawless crystal decanter showcases a piece of timeless elegance. It pays homage to the single malt’s heritage through its use of triangular facets representing the Six Pillars, incorporating the iconic triangular feature as a key element of its creation. Its angular facets reflect the light to showcase the deep red mahogany hue of the whisky within.
The classically beautiful Lalique decanter encases complex single malt made using only first fill Spanish sherry oak casks from a single Jerez cooperage.
The redesigned packaging of the Imperial brand of whisky expresses refined masculine strength, both visually and haptically. Designed by Outin Futures in Seoul/Korea for Pernod Ricard Korea, the glass design of the front and back of the bottle with its diamond angle cut promotes the new identity of a modern, luxurious appeal. To support the refined masculine appearance of the product, further elements were added, such as different bottleneck rings and a metal frame around the sides of the bottle.
The crystalline bottle and its strong metallic components form an aesthetic contrast to the warm and deep tones of the whisky. The product range comprises four whiskies, with bottle designs that differ in terms of colouring, print and material combination.
So, that was a short overview of some luxury packaging. Although, as said before, luxury drinks packaging almost always is launched as a limited edition and as such has very little influence on packaging technology in fast moving consumer goods, they often have elements or ideas, which are interesting enough to consider in designs for the fast moving bulk packaging.