Hunter Luxury redefines half a century of heritage with wooden pack for Glenglassaugh Distillery

Thursday 04. July 2024 - Experts in elegance, Hunter Luxury have partnered with Brown Forman and Glenglassaugh Distillery to create a unique wooden pack for the launch of a historic, highly limited line of whisky - The Serpentine Coastal Cask Collection.

The stunning, hand-crafted cases that house the delicately dappled bottles, were designed to express the unique story of these remarkable spirits, and the distillery that brought them to life.
Taking its name from the precious serpentine stones found in the cliffs that surround the Glenglassaugh distillery on Scotland’s northeastern coast, The Serpentine Coastal Cask Collection consists of three whiskies of 48, 49, and 51 years old, each taken from a rare collection of casks thought to have been lost.
Evoking the forces of nature
To tell the Glenglassaugh brand story through the medium of packaging, Hunter Luxury’s experts first had to experience it for themselves. Paul Hamilton, Head of Wine & Spirits at Hunter Luxury, visited the distillery in person to take in its unique surroundings, nestled high on the Aberdeenshire coastline.
“The beauty of whisky is that all of this history washes over you after a single sip, as each flavour note explodes on your tongue like a crashing North Sea wave,” explains Hamilton. “It transports you to the white sands of the coast that you can see from the distillery. Our aim was to evoke that same feeling from the packaging itself.
“Initially, we learned more about the serpentine stone from contacts in Portsoy, a neighbouring village, to understand what options were available for the raw material for the pack. We believe this demonstrates our approach to delivering for our customers – when we undertake a project, we go all out to make it special.”
Capturing the spirit of Glenglassaugh
The final design was an exquisite box made with hand-carved oak, crafted to display a unique wave shape. The design represents the North Sea waves and the patterns of the driftwood that so often washes up on the beach, a stone’s throw from the distillery. The wood has been hand-painted to draw out the deep grain of the oak, complementing the naturalistic curves of the wave design. while each black box features a unique plaque detailing its cask number and the customer it was bottled for. The wood grain pattern and the plaque combine to ensure each box is utterly unique and deeply personal to each customer.
“We worked hard to understand the brief and encapsulate the feeling of the coastal Glenglassaugh brand,” said Hamilton. “The packaging evokes feelings of the tides of change experienced over the decades of maturation with the bespoke, wave-like design.”
Carving a wave effect into the hardwood provided a number of technical challenges, resulting in several discarded prototype designs. After mastering the carving process in-house, creating a gentle wave effect that appears to flow around the corners of the box, Hunter Luxury landed on a process that could be transferred to its manufacturing partners to scale up the design. While the boxes are all hand-carved, the design was engineered using the latest in digital manufacturing technology, combining ancient craftsmanship with cutting-edge manufacturing.
Finishing strongly
Every element of the final design was entirely bespoke, and tailor-made for this project. The doors of the case were sealed with a heavyweight medallion made from a cast zinc alloy, decorated with a blue enamel and gold design that was precisely colour-matched to every other decorative element within the case.
The exterior of the black case is decorated with delicate gold lettering showing the age of the whisky inside, and a metal plaque showing the cask that it was expressed from. Creating crisp, precise graphics on organic materials poses several technical challenges, as the paints can bleed into the grain. This was resolved by filling laser-engraved patterns with resin prior to painting, maximising the definition of each letter.
Upon opening the doors of the case – each one held together with specially manufactured electroplated brass hinges – the bottle is picked out by a central glorifier, as if captured in relief within the Aberdeenshire cliffs. The glorifier is constructed using 27 individual pieces of white oak, CNC carved and fused together to create a niche.
Inside the plinth upon which the bottle stands, Hunter Luxury carefully engineered a press-to-release drawer mechanism that satisfyingly slides open to reveal a special presentation booklet.
“The booklet was an exciting project-within-a-project,” added Hamilton. “We were committed to going the extra mile to make this project truly special, so we developed a 20-page presentation booklet, bound with cloth, on premium European stock. Each book was individually customised to describe the character of each cask.”
To mount, Hunter Luxury used a bespoke, sustainably-produced woven fibre material lined with an opulent microfibre faux suede. This material was also used to fashion a soft-touch carrying handle, affixed to the case with subtle brass brackets. Again, the suede and brass brackets were colour-matched to the rest of the packaging elements to create a stunning singular vision of the Glenglassaugh identity.
Not only that, but it also demonstrates the Hunter Luxury approach to packaging design – no detail is too small, and each one is every bit as important as the last.
“Every packaging project is a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity for us,” concludes Hamilton. “Every brand is unique, and no two packaging projects are the same. We’re proud to keep raising the bar for our customers – their success is its own reward.”
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