Good whisky can carry a hefty price tag. But sometimes it’s more than just the liquid in the bottle that can bring the price point up. Packaging can play an important role in the overall perceived value of a whisky, and can help it stand out on the shelf. While we do not advise making purchase decisions on aesthetics alone, we have created a list of whisky libations that take their packaging to the next level.
Highland Park 40
A more elegant and classy version of younger offerings from Highland Park. The presentation starts with a simple, dark wooden box, affixed with the “H” emblem. Inside is a uniquely shaped bottle with minimal fanfare. The “H” symbol is repeated, front and center and a small label with some silver foiling touches at the bottom. The rich color of the spirit really shines through.
The Dalmore King Alexander III
A similar packaging to the 12, 15 and 18 year, each Dalmore bottle features the symbolic stag, part of the distillery’s story and heritage. This “royal” offering has roots in the 13th century, when the stag became the emblem of the Clan Mackenzie whom once owned the distillery. The black box is decorated with intricate floral patterns and silver type. As with the Highland Park bottle, a clean and simple approach lets the beautiful colors of the Scotch to be seen.
In 2010 Bowmore unveiled the 40 year old single malt, and to a very limited number at only 53 bottles. Each bottle is unique in that it is hand blown, using glass found in Islay. The bottle gives the illusion of being surrounded by ice, and sits on a slate base. Glass blower Brodie Nairn states: “Our approach to creating glassware is very similar to the approach Bowmore takes with their whiskies; hand-crafted and born from the environment.” At a price point of over $10,000 a bottle, this whisky isn’t for everyone, but a real work of art nonetheless
This Islay single malt has a signature green bottle with Celtic-inspired type, reminiscent of the green island where it is produced. The Corryvreckan offering is particularly interesting, the swirling label inspired by a famous whirlpool not far from the Islay coast. A gold pattern borders the label and creates a beautiful contrast of colors in this bottle. The dark matte finish of the box and label is symbolic of the smoky taste of this spirit.
Chocolatier Patrick Roger designed the packaging for this Ballantine’s 12 year blended scotch. The bottle itself sits hidden inside a block of chocolate. You will have to chip your way through the bittersweet casing to get to this whisky. An experience that goes beyond just drinking the spirit, and you can’t go wrong by adding chocolate into the mix.
As its name suggests, this expression is full with peat smoke. Smokehead’s “Extra Black” single malt comes in a black frosted bottle. The round box and bottle feature some very nice, silver, letterpress typography. Their “Extra Rare” offering is bottled in clear glass. Looking through the whisky reveals the reverse type on the backside of the bottle, a large block of words, descriptive of the bottles contents. A loud, stand out bottle through and through.
The Glenlivet 70
It’s not too often you even come across a 70 year old whisky, nor do you come across a bottle as unique as Glenlivet’s 1940. A Scotch enthusiast might shed a tear at the thought of getting their hands on even a drop of this stuff, and fittingly enough, the shape of the bottle is a teardrop. The engraved decanter has a beautiful amber glow, topped with a silver stopper that seamlessly continues the teardrop shape.
Another smoky and peaty expression, with a bit of spice. The mythological tale of Orpheus follows his courageous voyage into the underworld. Octomore symbolizes this with a fiery red cylinder case, with a blind embossed logo that will certainly grab your attention on the shelf. The matte finish black bottle is fairly minimal, with glossy vertical type and the red “O”. A very sleek, elegant packaging.
Mackinlays / Shackleton’s
A reincarnation of Mackinlay’s Rare Old Highland Malt Whisky, this bottle carries with it an intriguing back story. An Ernest Shackleton expedition just over 100 years ago carried this spirit, then was forced to leave it behind in the Antarctic ice. Until 2006, a few cases of this long lost recipe lay frozen under an old cabin. The discovery of these bottles has allowed a distiller to analyze the blend and recreate it. The packaging is a faithful reproduction of the original, as it looked in the early 1900’s. A nice collectible to add to the shelf, with 100 years of history already built in.
From malting barley, to designing the packaging, a tremendous amount of time and effort is required in the production of an aged whisky. In the end we are rewarded with high quality spirits and some great packaging.
What are some spirits you like to enjoy after a long day that have creative and unique packaging?