Blanton’s Single Barrel Bourbon has long been a sought-after bourbon in the U.S. and around the globe. Every year, Blanton’s partners with one of their retailers, La Maison du Whisky, to create a special limited-edition offering. This is unveiled at the annual Whisky Live events held in Singapore and Paris, France.
COHO was once again asked to design a bespoke 2020 Blanton’s Single Barrel Bourbon exclusive offering for La Maison du Whisky.
The previous editions that we designed, 2018 and 2019, established the concept of telling the brand’s unique story and dedication to craft in a way that pays homage to both Kentucky Bourbon and the Parisian Market for which it’s sold. This annual collaboration between Brand and Retailer has increased the collectability of this already coveted bourbon with the product selling out within days of release and eventually trading on secondary markets at prices four times the original.
Having utilized visual storytelling to garner excitement and create exclusivity in previous years, the 2020 Edition continued down this path. The 2020 Edition design emphasizes the key elements necessary for creating the world’s first single barrel bourbon: the barrel and the only rackhouse it’s aged in, Warehouse H. Taking inspiration from the Parisian Art Deco movement, the stacking concentric circles in silver foil and subtle matte gloss celebrate the barrels stacked from the floor to ceiling in the metal structure of Warehouse H. Front and back of carton die-cuts, designed to allow the passage of light, emphasize the liquid inside the bottle and provide a warm amber glow which is synonymous with the world’s first single barrel bourbon. The use of gold and silver foils with subtle continuations of matte gloss on the rugged, deep red substrate nods to the materials and the craftsmanship that goes into the creation of this storied bourbon.
To punctuate the story of this unique Kentucky bourbon and the process that brings it to life, we placed the new Warehouse H mark at the top of the box.
The cancellation of Whisky Live events kept this edition from selling out within 2–3 days like its predecessors, but its success in the market was undeniable. The secondary market lists the price well over $1,000 / bottle, over a 700% increase from the original price (assuming one can find a bottle for sale in the first place).
The objective for this project was simultaneously simple and complex: Create a Paris-oriented design that exhibits the amber glow of the liquid during the event. With Blanton’s strong heritage as a cornerstone of the brand, any design required a deep relevance. Additionally, the design needed to create excitement with bourbon collectors and enthusiasts.
The intent was that both the bottle and carton would be displayed in a museum-like setting during Whisky Live. The Blanton’s showcase at the event was being designed to incorporate light and mirrors for a show-stopping experience.
The carton design uses concentric circles stacked in a way that is reminiscent of a rackhouse. On the front and back panels, this pattern is subtly depicted by matte varnish to better highlight the die cuts, which allow light to come through the carton and therefore shine through the liquid itself. The die cuts are accented by a gold foil which is also used for certain communication elements. Silver foil is used on the side panels both for a sophisticated impression and to draw attention within the display. The heritage of the brand is also expressed through the seal at the carton’s top and, for those that note it, in the border pattern. These are set against a rugged, deep red substrate that builds on prior years’ equities. On the bottle labels, these elements are translated to create a remarkable and consistent user experience.
Following the production of the final product, the Whisky Live events were canceled due to the COVID-19 pandemic. While that meant no one would see the packaging and display paired as intended, the cancellation had little effect on our target’s desire for the offering. The product has sold out within the first months of being offered and now sells on the secondary market for seven times its original price. With only 830 bottles in circulation, it creates an economic impact of nearly $1MM. For Blanton’s, the design accomplished every objective, and more.
Mike Skrzelowski - Executive Creative Director
Eric Warning - Designer
Chris Combs - Master Designer
Tim Kron - Senior Realization Designer
Kevin Bova - 3D Image Developer