The Craft Irish Whiskey Co. Strikes Gold at the Luxury Packaging Awards 2020

By Christina Tsangaris

The Craft Irish Whiskey Co. has been crowned the winner of the ‘Luxury Drinks Secondary Pack’ award at The Luxury Packaging Awards 2020 for the design of The Devil’s Keep experience box.

The Craft Irish Whiskey Co. follows in the footsteps of Irish whiskey brand, The Macallan®, who won the corresponding award in 2019. This year, eight other well-established whiskies were also competing for the title, including Redbreast 27-year-old, Maison Ruinart ‘Second Skin’, Glenfiddich Grand Cru and the Macallan Gifting Range. The Craft Irish Whiskey Co. also won Highly Commended for the design of The Devil’s Keep bottle in ‘Luxury Drinks Primary Pack’ award, which was announced yesterday.

The Devil’s Keep is a rare triple distilled, 29-year-old single malt whiskey and one of the finest whiskies that Ireland has ever created. It was the first release from The Craft Irish Whiskey Co., making this accolade a moment of particular significance for Founder, Jay Bradley, and Design Director, Tiago Russo. The launch of The Devil’s Keep in November 2020 saw just 333 bottles released – with an additional 333 expected later this year. It was the most expensive inaugural first release in history, which sold at auction at USD $60,000 (almost £46,000 and €51,000 Euros), and the oldest triple distilled Irish whiskey in existence, only to be topped by The Craft Irish Whiskey Co.’s second release earlier this month of the 30-year-old The Emerald Isle Collection.

The Craft Irish Whiskey Co. is the proud whiskey partner of The Michelin Guide and a partner in the Michelin Star Revelation Great Britain and Ireland 2021. The primary concept for The Devil’s Keep was inspired by Jay Bradley’s desire to create the perfect whiskey to be enjoyed after dinner, with the ultimate aim of creating the best and most luxurious Irish whiskey. With this in mind, Tiago Russo wanted to ensure that the design of The Devil’s Keep would create a multi-sensorial experience, which engages all five senses.

The Devil’s Keep bottle is encased in an experience box made up of two custom-locked cases, secured by bespoke brass Japanese style locks. The minimalist outer case of the experience box has a dark stained oak finish and a bolt of geometric gold detailing, while the burgundy leather walls that line the inner case help to refract the colours of the whiskey. Housed inside the box are the exquisite whiskey accessories: two uniquely designed glasses, an atomiser, a measure of barley, a carafe of water, a pipette and whiskey stones. To protect the main packaging, a structural transit box was designed in two parts, allowing a vertical extraction which makes the experience as effortless and ergonomic as possible.

No detail was overlooked in the creation of this multi-sensory experience, from the vial of barley sourced from the same malting house that housed the original barley for the whiskey, through to the carafe filled with water sourced from the Antrim hills which was also used for the original whiskey. A custom-designed pipette enables water to be applied precisely to release the micelles and the flavours, while obsidian whiskey stones can be used in place of ice to prevent the dilution of the whiskey. A special ‘angel’s share’ atomiser has been designed by expert perfumer Sarah McCartney, which is unique to The Devil’s Keep. It captures the unmistakable aroma one gets as you walk through the halls of a whiskey warehouse full of maturing whiskey. When the angel’s share has evaporated, it leaves the whiskey for the devil which is stored within the bottle, also designed by Tiago Russo, that sits centre stage within the experience box. The bottle is held by a chain which must be unleashed, meaning only the rightful owner can unlock The Devil’s Keep.

Bespoke glasses, a custom numbered whiskey certificate and a detailed booklet which tells the story of The Devil’s Keep are housed in each door. Érimón glass – rather than traditional crystal – has been used for the two specially designed glasses, which allows the whiskey notes to be experienced like never before. Inspired by traditional Turkish tea glasses, their shape encourages the dispersion of ethanol, ensuring that only the whiskey notes reach the nose and palate.

The Craft Irish Whiskey Co.’s Design Director, Tiago Russo, said: “It is a huge honour for myself and everyone at The Craft Irish Whiskey Co. to win this award. For us as a brand, it symbolises the return of Irish whiskey to its rightful place as an ultra-luxury product on the world stage. To me, this a triumph of design, demonstrating how it can empower and elevate a product, bringing to life the story of The Devil’s Keep and the history of Irish whiskey through a multi-sensory experience.”

Jay Bradley, Founder at The Craft Irish Whiskey Co., commented: “I am so proud that we have been recognised in the Luxury Packaging Awards 2020. It has taken our team years of dedication and passion to create such a unique whiskey experience. To be nominated in this distinguished category, amongst the very best in luxury design, is a huge accomplishment and has allowed us to fill the gap in the market for ultra-luxury Irish whiskey and redefine global perceptions of luxury. The Devil’s Keep was just the start for us: with the recent launch of The Emerald Isle Collection in partnership with Fabergé and some exciting new releases in the pipeline, I am excited for what the future holds for The Craft Irish Whiskey Co.”

By Christina Tsangaris