Design house Webb deVlam has completed a remarkable packaging design project for Bombay Sapphire – a limited edition prestige presentation pack to celebrate the gin brand’s 250th anniversary of the creation of its "secret recipe".
The package features a handcrafted crystal bottle with a stopper by jewellery house Garrard, a presentation case and a booklet describing the history of the brand and the design and development of the limited edition.
Just 350 of these exclusive bottles have been produced by Norfolk-based Langham Glass. They will retail for approximately £1,250 at luxury outlets in the UK, Europe, and US before Christmas 2010 with a further limited worldwide distribution in 2011.
Webb deVlam’s team of 3D product, packaging and graphic designers co-ordinated by design director Dominic Burke, brought the project to fruition in under 12 months. The Bacardi Global marketing team commissioned the consultancy, having been impressed by previous award-winning solutions Webb deVlam had created for Bombay Sapphire travel and retail packaging.
The packaging has a ‘bottle inside a bottle’ effect, achieved by a glassblowing technique that creates a blue inner vessel suspended inside a diamond faced, clear crystal glass decanter. The outer form emulates the shape of the Bombay Sapphire bottle, whilst the internal blue optic "hints at the ‘soul’ of the brand". A laser etching process was used to create 3D images of the 10 botanicals and the Queen Victoria brandmark, which appear to float in the inner glass walls. The impact is extraordinary, giving a sense of depth and substance that the design brief was determined to achieve.
The stopper is also made of fine crystal, in the shape of a crown and hand set with a band of blue crystals around the neck. At the apex is a double diamond shaped blue crystal that plays off the facets of the crystal stopper, catching the light in a dazzling, fractural manner. As each bottle is handmade, so each is slightly different and Webb deVlam has designed a bespoke sealing ring that accommodates the broader tolerance of the hand blown bottle neck, which was a particular challenge with this process. (From a practical perspective it eliminates evaporation and securely seals the contents.)
The limited edition bottle is presented in a prestigious gift box, shaped again to reference the original Bombay Sapphire bottle. It has a soft touch Corvon finish and uses foils and embossing to carry the branding cues. Inside there is deep protective casing to hold the bottle in place. Once opened however, the bottle is the undoubted hero, presented on a plinth to display the bottle inside the bottle and the encrusted stopper to full effect. The case has been designed with retail merchandising in mind as much as the individual owner’s desire to display.
Webb deVlam has also designed a gift booklet that serves to authenticate the limited edition bottle and records the design and development process, celebrating the experts and the expertise that has created the bottle and the famous gin. It features Stephen Webster’s original sketches and photographs of the skilled glassblowers; it describes the aromatic ingredients and the vapour infusion process that gives Bombay Sapphire its delicate flavour.
The origins of Bombay Sapphire can be traced back 250 years to 1761, when Bombay Original – a new style of premium gin – was created in Warrington, in the North of England. The use of Carterhead stills, in which the"secret mix" of botanicals is suspended in a basket on the neck of the still, rather than macerated in the spirit, gives the gin its distinctive, delicate and aromatic character. The name Sapphire came later, inspired by the 60-carat "Star of Bombay" sapphire discovered in Sri Lanka and given to silent movie star Mary Pickford by her husband, Douglas Fairbanks Sr.
“This is surely the ultimate prestige spirit packaging and branding project’, comments Dominic Burke. It is utterly unique. We used new experimental processes and adapted technologies from other industries. The result demonstrates and communicates the underlying sense of the soul of the brand using intriguing visual effects to impart the prestige proposition.”
1 November 2010 - Felicity Murray
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