• Transform magazine
  • September 27, 2021


Islay distiller embraces heritage in new branding

Bunnahabhain - helmsman OLD vs NEW.jpg

The small island of Islay off the west coast of Scotland’s 239 square miles are home to eight distilleries. One of Scotland’s five prominent whisky making regions, Islay often produces peaty, smoky whiskies unchanged by the ages and the likes of which are renowned worldwide.

For one distillery, though, change and progress has meant a refreshed brand and new outlet onto the world. Bunnahabhain Distillery was once served only by the sea, but the introduction of roads has helped the distillery grow and, in 2006, it rebranded its signature 12 year-old single malt. Now, it is unveiling a new brand system and packaging design.

Featuring prominently in the 2006 design is a seafarer rendered in hand-drawn gold. His visage has been retained in the new iteration, but rendered in a more sepia-tinted tone that gives the whisky a stronger heritage feeling. The distillery worked with threebrand, an Edinburgh-based agency that specialises in liquor and food and drink packaging.

Derek Scott, brand director at Bunnahabhain’s owner Distell, says, “The Bunnahabhain redesign reflects a new positioning for the brand. We recognised the need to evolve and inject a new lease of life to Bunnahabhain in order to be able to resonate more with our core drinker demographic. The new brand marque captures a sense of character and authenticity and supporting secondary packaging successfully brings each expression together as part of a family.”

The helmsman was redrawn by Scottish illustrator Iain McIntosh and has been placed in a different setting on the pack. The new label is more modern, and uses a clearer white-on-black word mark, alongside the brand’s signature red. The packaging uses subtle maps of Islay to evoke the brand’s heritage.

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