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Favorite Bottle/Decanter Design


Trey Manthey
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Trey Manthey

One of my friends works for a company that designs bottles and labels for the wine and spirits industry. Sometimes they will use existing bottle/glass designs for a new product, and just design a label, but many times companies will want unique glass for their product. Many people are highly influenced by marketing and packaging, so I was curious what many of you thought was a superior design from purely visual and tactile aspect.

I know the first time I saw the BTAC bottle design I was smitten. The tall, clear bottle with the thick base and minimal label was very attractive before I even tasted the contents. I also appreciate the Parker's Heritage Collection, Four Roses Small Batch LE, and Rittenhouse Single Barrel packages. On the rougher side of things, the High West bottles and labels fit so well with the image the company projects in their marketing. And if we cross over to the dark side, you have to hand it to Bruichladdich; they know their way around a bottle!

I find it interesting that one of the most coveted whiskey products these days, the Van Winkle line, features a relatively amateurish portfolio of labels on such unremarkable bottles.

We all know what really matters is what is IN the bottle. Take that factor out of the picture entirely. What whiskey products influence you strongly in this way?

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I share your admiration for the BTAC bottles. The design is simple, elegant, and serves to showcase the product within.

My favorite bottles are the old paper label Weller bottles, except for the W12. That one looked a bit amateurish, but the whiskey inside was another story!

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This thread is Robert Parker's wet dream. Cleanup on aisle 6.

Nice Bottles: Hibiki

Classic Cask Ryes

Baby Saz

Nice Labels: BMH

ORVW10/107

PHC

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I really like the bottles that HH bonds come in. It may be the same one they use for EW too. This bottle has a square base, and a long neck. The neck has grooves in the glass running up and down. It is a very stable bottle. It doesn't feel like it would tip over easily. It's easy to pour. Some have said HH copied the old JD bottle. I don't know. I also like the Old Charter bottles with the grain embossed up and down the sides. I also like the Sazerac Rye bottle (haven't seen many of those lately). The bottles I don't care for are those that are shaped like a big flask: Woodford, 1792, and others. They seem like they fall over easily.

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I agree Paul, the basic HH bottles are hard to beat for a simple, uncluttered, practical design.

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For me there is a certain cache' when a company uses average looking unremarkable bottles and has a retro label glued on. A label that looks hand written is another big plus. Somehow it shows a confidence in the fundamental goodness of the product that fancier packaging doesn't. I'm thinking of the Bouju Tres Vieux Brut de Frut Cognac and the Darroze Cognac line. I suppose the traditional Cognac shape bottle (Van Winkle lot B) is my favorite. Interesting that so many are moving away from it.

I prefer the shape of the 4 Roses Yellow label to any of the other shape bottles they use. The Scarlet Ibis Rum is a very nice shape bottle and the label compliments it.

Some of my dusty Old Charters are a graceful shape with some wheat stalks embossed in the side - lovely. Many of my friends have commented that they like the reto look of the Baby Saz bottles but to me they come across like some sort of movie prop.

Probably in the minority on these but as far as shapes I dislike the OFBB bottles and the Willett pot still shape in the 1.75 size stand head and shoulders above the rest for being a PITA. The new Weller Antique and Weller 12, Russell's Reserve are not attractive in any way.

The McKenna label is the worst.

Edited by sailor22
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I find I get the cleanest, most controlled pour from PHC bottles. Over time that's become my primary concern :D

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I find I get the cleanest, most controlled pour from PHC bottles. Over time that's become my primary concern :D

The Balvenie bottles do that for me - perfect pour/no wasted drops.

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For me there is a certain cache' when a company uses average looking unremarkable bottles and has a retro label glued on.

Probably in the minority on these but as far as shapes I dislike the OFBB bottles and the Willett pot still shape

Fully agree, especially on those round, bulbous bottles whose design went out with the 18th century for good reasons.

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I love the classic E.G. Booz "Old Cabin" whiskey bottles, in the shape of an old cabin. Just do an image search for many views of one. This whiskey brand is also thought to be the origin of the word "booze". There are many reproductions, but originals can be found. I love the crazy Old Forester "holiday" bottles from the 1950s.

For whiskey that I can buy now, I'm a fan of the Four Roses bottles. The unpretentious Yellow Label, the nice ovoid Small Batch, and the round-base-to-square pillar shape of the Single Barrel. In scotch, the Balvenie bottle is a great design.

Overall, I'm not a fan of 21st century label design... I prefer the old school looks.

I've been having trouble finding decanters that I like that aren't made of lead crystal. I don't want to be pouring into a decanter only to have to pour back at the end of the night. But most non-leaded glass whiskey decanters aren't really great designs, and most are poorly made.

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BigBoldBully

I think the smooth-shouldered Elmer T. Lee bottles have a nice shape although I have not yet handled one. BTAC/ER10 are clean and elegant but too damned tall for a lot of spaces (and boxes). I much prefer the older Weller bottles to the new. The giant mouth and squat design of the OGD 114 is growing on me in a decadent way, and I really like the feel of the High West bottles (though I do not care for the labels). At first I even liked the OFBB bottles, as they make me think of a coveted rum, but once you get 4 or 5 on the shelf their inefficiency is annoying, along with the huge amount of whiskey surface area exposed to air after just a few pours.

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I have always liked the look and design of the Jefferson's bottles simplistic,elegant and easy to stack deep,which is a big plus.

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I have always liked the look and design of the Jefferson's bottles simplistic,elegant and easy to stack deep,which is a big plus.

Yeah, good point, they are really space efficient for sure.

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The bottle shapes aren't anything to brag about, but I love the labels on the ORVW's, OWA age statement bottles, and CEHT's. My wife, while not a bourbon drinker, is a big fan of the Angel's Envy bottle

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That's interesting Gary because the Angel's Envy bottle has always struck me as feminine.

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Bourbon Boiler

WTKS while not unique in spirits, has always been a sharp looking bottle to me. I hate the Blanton's bottle excluding the horse, but love the contents.

Edited by Bourbon Boiler
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Bourbon Boiler
That's interesting Gary because the Angel's Envy bottle has always struck me as feminine.

I always agreed with this as well.

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Special Reserve
WTKS while not unique in spirits, has always been a sharp looking bottle to me. I hate the Blanton's bottle excluding the horse, but love the contents.

I always liked the Blanton's bottle.

When someone used it to make a mosquito chaser, it reminded me of the kerosene lamps that the road construction crews used when I was a kid. Brought back a good memory.

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I remember when the Blanton's bottle appeared the Monty Python generation named it "The Holy Hand Grenade".

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I think the smooth-shouldered Elmer T. Lee bottles have a nice shape although I have not yet handled one.

I recently purchased my first bottle of ETL (not available in my state).... and while the bottle is very nice, the cork itself is a pain the ass! It's so tight-fitting, that I get saw-dust (cork dust?) on the rim of the spout every time I go for a pour.

I really like the Larceny bottle, clean and efficient, interesting design and label, easy to grab, and the cork pops off without a problem. ;)

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