• Diageo

Diageo Special Releases 2017

Blair Athol 1993

Aged for 23 years in bodega sherry oak casks, this Highland single malt is notable for its spicy warmth, and flavour notes of toffee and fruitcake. The inclusion of this full-bodied bronze whisky in Diageo’s 2017 Special Releases marks a first appearance for the Blair Athol distillery, which is located in Pitlochry, Perthshire.

The pack for this special whisky, designed by Bloom and manufactured by MW, features rigid board construction and bespoke embellishments. The box is wrapped in printed, textured, off-white art paper, which has been coated in matt varnish to give an understated protective finish. The appeal of the pack exterior is further boosted with a vivid red door graphic and hand-applied foot label.

Open the box using the red ribbon attachment and you’ll discover a similarly elegant interior. Matt laminated panels with spot UV patterns weave around a hand-applied uncoated label on the black inside door. The Blair Athol itself sits in an off-white EVA base fitment, and is framed with a contrasting black vacuum-formed top fitment.

The finishing touch is another bright red ribbon attachment, which can be used to slip the bottle gently from its resting place.

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Brora

The Brora distillery may have closed its doors long ago, but its spirit lives on in this superior single malt scotch whisky. Bottled in 1982, just one year before the distillery closed, this gently smoky drink is all about sharp-sweet notes of chocolate and apple – as well as some little unexpected flourishes of pepper and tobacco.

The packaging for this excellent single malt (selected this year as one of Diageo’s Special Releases) was manufactured by MW. Starting with a rigid board shoe box structure, the MW team crafted a sophisticated pack with timeless appeal. The exterior is wrapped in bespoke pin-line embossed paper, which has been dyed a rich shade of burgundy.

Hand-placed labels feature on both the front and the interior of the pack, bearing the distinctive Brora wildcat emblem. As for the bottle itself – only the best will do. The inner fitment in the base of the pack is fittingly luxurious, and specially designed with the safety of the bottle in mind. Lined with velvet material, the bottle fitment is colour-matched to a protective pad that covers the Brora bottle, keeping it safe from dust and damage at all times.

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Collectivum XXVIII

It’s almost impossible to pick one whisky from Diageo’s Special Releases that is better than the rest, but there’s no denying that Collectivum XXVIII is a one-of-a-kind drink.

This blended malt whisky marks the coming together of Diageo’s 28 operational single malt distilleries. Boasting just a hint of smoke, this balanced and sophisticated blend feels creamy on the tongue and finishes with notes of spice and nuts.

To do justice to this unique drink, MW constructed this beautiful midnight blue pack, that was designed by Bloom, with gold detailing that hints subtly at Collectivum’s fascinating origins. A traditional rigid board shoe box structure gives the pack its shape, and the exterior has been wrapped in bespoke dyed paper embellished with complex debossing that mirrors the contours of the bottles.

Gold foil Roman numerals subtly mark out the location of each single malt distillery, and hand-placed front and footer labels add the finishing touches.

The debossing and foiling continues onto the inside of the lid, where the numerals correspond to the names of the 28 distilleries.

Upon lifting the lid you can admire both the fine detailing and the bottle itself, which nestles in a white, rigid board inner fitment.

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Convalmore 1984

Sourced from the now-closed Convalmore, this 32-year-old single malt whisky was barrelled just one year before the Speyside distillery closed its doors. Aged in American oak hogsheads this gorgeously subtle, multi-layered whisky was an obvious pick for Diageo’s 2017 Special Releases.

Coming alive on the tongue with flavours of buttery pastry, green fruits, nutmeg, and brown sugar, Convalmore 1984 finishes with a vibrant burst of liquorice.

For MW, the opportunity to package such a special single malt was not taken lightly. Rigid board shoe box construction was used for the exterior structure and the box was wrapped in white art paper printed to replicate traditional paper stock. Detailing was included in the form of gold and blue foils and the antique Convalmore watermark.

Upon slipping the lid off, an elegant interior is revealed. The pale golden whisky swills in the charming Convalmore bottle, which is held snugly in a dark blue rigid board fitment. Opposite on the inside of the lid lies a hand placed label, which details both the Convalmore story and the flavour notes of this unique whisky. It’s the finishing touch to a truly timeless pack.

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Glen Elgin 1998

The Speyside area of Scotland has become irrevocably associated with the single malts it produces. Though less well known that its famous neighbours, the Speyside distillery of Glen Elgin has made its impression this year by stealing a spot in Diageo’s 2017 Special Releases.

A fusion of two batches, aged for 18 years in sherry butts and refill European oak, this single malt is noticeably fruity at first sniff, softening into warming spices on the tongue, and finishing sweet.

The packaging was designed by Bloom and manufactured by the MW team, and boasts a sleek, understated finish that perfectly complements the easy-drinking simplicity of this single malt.

Covering the exterior of the pack is printed art paper with a bespoke colour wash. A subtle linear motif of a house martin (the Glen Elgin mascot) stretches across the front of the pack, marked out in lines of sharply registered embossing. In the centre lies a hand-applied embossed and foiled label.

The interior boasts a bespoke metallic blue paper lining and a colour-matching vacuum-formed top fitment. The bottle of Glen Elgin 1998 itself is held in a colour-contrasting cream EVA base fitment. To enable easy removal of the whisky, a bespoke bronze ribbon attachment has been fitted.

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Port Dundas 1964

Whisky connoisseurs seeking a mature single grain scotch won’t do much better than this exquisite 1964 bottling. Aged for 52 years, Port Dundas 1964 is not only the oldest of Diageo’s Special Releases for 2017, but the oldest whisky Diageo has ever released.

The Port Dundas distillery is no longer in operation, and this whisky is exceedingly rare (there are only 752 bottles available). With its sweet vanilla fragrance, cinnamon and nutmeg palate, and fruity finish it’s an exceptionally easy and enjoyable drink – and yet one that manages to be totally distinctive.

To honour the long-awaited release of this whisky, MW crafted a one-of-a-kind pack from Bloom's design. Rigid board construction was used for the structure, and printed art paper was prepared with a bespoke colour wash in a light aqua shade to wrap the exterior. A charming illustration of the distillery fronts the pack, along with a hand-placed label and a simple “PD” monogram, foiled and embossed in gold.

Inside, the pack lid is lined with uncoated paper and boasts another hand-placed label. The aqua blue is continued on the bottle surround that contains the vacuum formed top fitment and EVA base fitment that are coloured in contrasting white. Black ribbon attachments have been provided to both open the pack and remove the bottle from its recess. 

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Port Ellen

Situated on the windswept Scottish island of Islay, the Port Ellen distillery is one of the best known names in the whisky world – despite closing in 1983. This year, the Port Ellen 1979 bottling has made another appearance in Diageo’s Special Releases for 2017, and, with only 2988 bottles available, it’s in high demand.

Initially light and sweet, this excellent single malt transitions into dry and smoky notes on the tongue. Elegant and complex, this sought-after bronze whisky deserved a special pack – and the MW team were only too happy to oblige. The box was constructed in a rigid board shoe box structure and has been wrapped in bespoke textured and embossed black dyed paper.

The pack boasts hand-placed inner and outer labels, and areas of heavy deboss and spot UV branding; in the right light, the words “Port Ellen” and “37 years old” are visible on the side and front.

Upon lifting the lid you’ll discover the bottle nestling in sophisticated grey velvet material and covered with a protective pad. The inner fitment in which the Port Ellen lies holds it snugly, to ensure it is protected against breakage.

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Teaninich 1999

The Teaninich distillery was founded in 1817 and, two hundred years on, this 1999 bottling is getting the whisky world talking. Selected as one of Diageo’s Special Releases for 2017, this dry single malt offers fragrant notes of green apple, caramel and citrus.

In constructing the packaging for Teaninich 1999, MW opted for a rigid board shoe box construction. The exterior is wrapped in white core paper that has been printed with multiple hits of black to create the soft, inky finish. Layered on top are complex copper foils registered to high build inks.

Bloom's design using photo-luminescent UV inks has enabled a clever twist to this understated but elegant packaging; when viewed in the dark, the logo and other small details on the front of the pack appear illuminated.

Open the pack up and the magic continues. Inside the lid are more complex foil finishes, surrounding a short section of text that tells the Teaninich story and describes the flavour notes of the whisky. Opposite, in the base of the pack, the bottle itself rests, held snugly in place in a black rigid board inner fitment.

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