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We were tasked to translate the Mortlach legacy into an exquisite physical form that celebrates the brand’s rich Scottish history and heritage. A new to world single-malt brand that has been integral in many of the world’s most famous whisky blends for over 100 years, our task was to respect and reflect the Mortlach’s character, which is rich, robust and muscular, a distillery signature that comes from the unique 2.81 distillation process developed by entrepreneur, engineer and master distiller, Dr Alistair Cowie in 1896.
Beginning our exploration at the original distillery, which was founded in 1823 and the first legal distillery in Dufftown, the epicenter of Scotch whisky production, the creative team steeped in the sights and stories of the brand and its rich history, the Speyside region and its legendary characters. Inspired by the Cowies, the distilleries most influential owners, the agency centered on the concept of extraordinary engineering as it related to Britain’s Victorian architecture and infrastructure. To define an appropriately elegant structure and graphics, the team worked closely with the client to distil the Mortlach story into a compelling and unique creative direction for four expressions, each commemorating Mortlach’s rich industrial heritage.
The final bottle designs are reminiscent of trestle bridges, with geometric bases and tapering silhouettes to give the impression of looking upwards. Metal highlights on the caps, on the base of the 18 year-old variant, and girding on the sides of the 25 year-old expression speak to the brand’s longstanding modernity and precision, creating a consistent look and feel but successfully differentiating the variants and communicating the different price points. Mortlach’s monumental structure is echoed in the secondary packaging, with Rare Old, Special Strength and the 18 year-old expressions using intersecting girder-like silhouettes to evoke the built world, while the 25 year-old expression employs a knurled black texture to communicate understated luxury. The brand’s color-palette pulls from Speyside’s natural and manmade landscape, becoming increasingly industrial and elegant as the expressions tier-up in value.