From illustrated labels with captivating stories to colourful and vibrant packaging – these are the award-winning spirits bottle designs that are turning heads.
The Spirits Business held its annual Design & Packaging Masters last month, where an experienced panel of judges recognised the best bottlings in the business.
Looking across multiple categories, from Scotch whisky to gin, aquavit to absinthe, a wide range of bottles were awarded the top accolade of Master medals for their quality.
The individual scores of each entrant have not been revealed, however these are 10 of the highest rated medalists in the competition, in no particular order.
Click through the following pages to view the top 10 award-winning bottle designs of 2018.
The Sexton Single Malt Irish Whiskey
A Master medal was bestowed upon The Sexton Single Malt in the Irish Whiskey round.
Judges were impressed by its “innovative look” featuring a dark copper and black colour scheme and “strong typography”.
The expression has been aged for four years in oloroso Sherry butts.
Price: £27.95 (US$35.60)
Rathlee Rum, which was designed by Stranger & Stranger, grabbed a Master medal in the Rum flight. The expression won praise for its “whimsical illustration” that communicated the “captivating story” of a rum distilled in Latin America and aged in Cornwall, England.
Rathlee Rum is column distilled in Latin America before arriving on the shores of Cornwall in charred white oak barrels, the spirit is then blended with Cornish water.
Price: £48.95 (US$62.35)
Morveren Absinthe was given a Master medal in the Absinthe round. The expression was praised for “bringing its story and concept to life” with a “beautiful, dream-like design”.
One judge said: “This has everything going for it. I love how the bottle slides down the tube.”
Bottled at 66% abv, the packaging of the bottle tells the story of the mermaid Morveren of Zennor, a popular Cornish folk tale.
Salcombe Gin ‘Mischief’
Price: £65 (US$82.80)
Master winner Salcombe Gin ‘Mischief’ was deemed by one judge as “outstanding”.
This gin is the second expression in the Salcombe Gin Voyager Series, a collection of limited-edition gins, developed in collaboration with a world-renowned chef or winemaker.
Named ‘Mischief’ after one of the famous Salcombe Fruit Schooners, the expression has been created in collaboration with chef Mark Hix.
It is presented in a white ceramic bottle featuring an embossed outline of the iconic gin pennant and a bespoke debossed copper stopper.
Glenfiddich Winter Storm
Price: £199 (US$253.50)
William Grant & Sons’ Glenfiddich Winter Storm was deemed “highly creative and premium” with a “lovely texture”, grabbing a Master medal in the Scotch Whisky flight.
Presented in a white ceramic bottle and embossed presentation box, Winter Storm is part of Glenfiddich’s Experimental Series and has been finished in Canadian icewine casks.
Price: £34.95 (US$44.50)
A Master medal was bestowed upon “quirky” Neptune Rum, whose design reflected the “craft” production of the liquid inside the bottle.
Neptune Rum is aged for three years in American Bourbon casks at the distillery, based on the southern slopes of Barbados.
Dewar’s 25 Years Old The Signature
Price: £175 (US$223)
Bacardi-owned Dewar’s 25 Year Old The Signature was regarded as a “masterclass in packaging” by one judge. The Master-winning expression is made up of malt and grain Scotch whiskies aged for 25 years or more, sampled and blended by master blender Stephanie MacLeod.
The resulting whisky was then decanted into oak casks to mature further, before being transferred into freshly emptied Royal Brackla casks for finishing.
Sonoma Brothers Vodka
Sonoma Brothers Vodka, which judges said “screamed craft” was awarded a Master medal in the Vodka flight.
“This look gives the brand a very strong message,” observed one judge. “It has an elegant round finish, which isn’t common in these sorts of bottles”.
291 Barrel Proof Colorado Rye Whiskey
A Master medal went to 291 Barrel Proof Colorado Rye Whiskey in the American Whiskey round.
Of the Master medallist, a judge noted: “It’s imperfect but in a nice way. It clearly communicates craft, and works perfectly in the American whiskey category – you can imagine it being slid along a western bar.”
Gammel Opland Aquavit
Price: £36.18 (US$46)
Gammel Opland Aquavit, which was described as “pure class” and showcasing “wonderful use of colour”, won a Master medal in the Speciality round.
The expression spends two years ageing in oak barrels before it is bottled. The recipe is based upon one used by Oplandske Spritfabrik, which was founded in 1872.
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