On more things i’ve been meaning to post for a while. Here’s a brilliantly fun idea… how do you take a normally boring average looking bottled Magners Pear Cider and elevate (or catapult) its status instantly? Give the awesome Bungalow 8 in London an exclusive stunning bottle that is only available there, and only 500 bottles are produced. The new design was created for Magners by their brand entertainment agency, Cake. They were even kind enough to send one over so i could take a look at it in person - and its lovely! Its a sleek black bottle with 5 gloss silver sticker stripes wrapping the bottle and the Bungalow 8 ‘8’ etched in the silver pear. Honestly, it’s hard to look at the original bottle the same way after seeing and holding this. Actually, it’s hard to look at any cider or beer the same. Why don’t they all look this stunningly designed? See more pics on the next page…
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Apologies for going a little quiet on you. Tried to take a little bit of a break this week ~ reassess the amazing year that passed, trying again to hit inbox 0 before 2010 officially arrives… and in doing so, also finding some gems i’ve been meaning to post that sadly got buried in the chaos of my inbox. SO, here’s one of my favorites!
As we slip in to the new decade ~ here are two of my favorite slides from the presentation given by Absolut at the Absolut Art Collection anniversary event in Stockholm a few months ago. On the top you see the state of vodka packaging design when Absolut first entered the market with its shockingly apothecary styled bottle (which i adore!)… Below you see the state of things today. Yes yes, sure it may be a little biased in how things were picked, but you can’t deny that the overall trend is true, and that the it’s a great illustration of the shift in vodka packaging design over the decades! As 2010 comes upon us, i wonder how things will shift next…
Love of wine + packaging + test tubes? When i spotted these wine tasters over at Springwise. This example of Tryvertising (i must admit that word pains me quite a bit)… comes from Brixr in San Francisco. These 50mL vials are adorable ~ though some people seem to be debating whether 2ozs are enough to know which one you like best… see a few more packaging pics on the next page!
Some packages just leave you speechless. You sit. You stare. You open it. You poke at it. You close it. You stare a bit more. This was one of those packages. Veuve Clicquot sent over one of their 1200 limited edition stingray skin Yellowboams (there are 3600 in the edition, 1200 each of ostrich, alligator, and stingray) ~ yes, a 3L (4 bottle equiv) bottle of Yellow Label Champagne... in a stunning handcrafted metallic lacquered wood box (with adorable little round hinges and magnetic closure) ~ with a stand for the monstrously large bottle... and the bottle itself has a yellow label made from ostrich, alligator, or galuchat, sealed with 22.4 ct gold and a 24 ct plated muzzle engraved with Mme. Clicquot's signature. A little over the top, in a completely surreal, "how is this enormous bottle sitting on my counter right now, and how amazing is this paint job?" sort of way. Next question of course was, "How will we ever pour this? Or chill it? And who will have to come help drink it?"
So take a peek at more pictures on the next page ~ once you get past the extravagance, it's really one of the sweetest most unexpected gifts to arrive, so, thank you, Veuve Clicquot. And don't worry i will certainly document it when i open it... i'm terribly curious what is under that golden muzzle... and the adorable notebook that was included mentions that you can send in the leather label to have it turned into a card holder... intriguing...
This launched me into that hunt for the names of various bottle sizes, so for those curious: Magnum = 2 bottles, Jeroboam = 4 bottles, Rehoboam = 6 bottles, Methuselah = 8 bottles, Salmanazar = 12 bottles, Balthazar= 16 bottles, Nubchadnezzar = 20 bottles. And most are named after BC kings... and "A useful mnemonic for these big bottle sizes is: My Judy Really Makes Splendid Belching Noises" says Champagne Magic.
These Vacu Vin Party People Glass Markers were first as NOTCOT.org #20816 ~ and when i ran into them in Stockholm, they were even cuter in person! So i had to buy some to play with! They are so adorably tiny with their little suction cups and fun packaging! So next time, instead of sharpie markers to a solo cup, or wine tags, or stickers, here's a new option! Let your guests pick which adorable little gummy looking character they want to channel... they all even have names! (see pics on the next page!)
Absolut Icebar!!! I've always been curious, i'm still dying to visit the Ice Hotel some day ~ and ironically, this little excursion wasn't even part of the official Absolut event/weekend. Apparently the Icebar changes its design twice a year, and it happened to be closed Oct 26 to Nov 1, so today was the first day it reopened, but, just barely! (Opening party is tomorrow night!) Luckily, i was able to stay an extra day, and they managed to get us in today. So here is a first look at the latest ~ "Factory" designed by Sofi Ruotsalainen and Nille Nilsson. Along with the completely new space, there is also a brand new menu! It's quite amazing, you enter through the little store passageway where you see racks of ponchos with gloves clipped on... then into the airlock... and into the ice bar! Within the ice bar (which is literally wall to wall ice) there are ice sculptures, an ice display (looking like an upright arcade game), the bar and more... the giant red "Don't Push" button - is totally ok to push. As long as you're cool with the light flashing! (So fun!) Also playful are some of the Icebar goods ~ you can buy a replica glass (that won't melt!), a puffy jacket of a laptop sleeve, matches, and other silliness... This is one of three Absolut Icebars ~ the first was in the Ice Hotel, this one is in the Nordic Sea Hotel and is open year round, as is the one in Below Zero London. See all the fun on the next page, as cold as my fingers got, i couldn't help taking a bunch of pics, and they even let me take pics from behind the bar!
Sometimes you desperately run around the city all evening, desperately hunting for an open restaurant after having two drinks at the ice bar for "breakfast", almost genuinely considering buying 7-11 food, tweet for help, call for suggestions, and almost everything that comes up is closed... then you stumble upon the adorable red cozy outdoor section of Grodan, and peek into a stunningly ornate dining room that smells delicious... and there it is. Froggies! Everywhere! On the menu... embroidered on the napkins, on the door - a simple red silhouette of a frog! (Yes, i now know Groda means Frog in swedish)... but the most intriguing instance of this little red frog i encountered was as i sipped my water... there it was on the bottom of my glass! And it looked so fun with its reflection and prismatic colors projected on the table... I had to share... and i'm so tempted to make mini vinyl stickers to apply to the bottom of my glasses to surprise people when i get home... see more of the pics on the next page!
Between Oxford and Stockholm, there was a last minute irresistible reason to change plans and detour through Paris to have dinner as a guest of Dom Perignon in Versailles! In the style and room that Louis XIV dined... ok, quite honestly, for something that "once in a lifetime" feeling, how could you turn down such an opportunity? So that meant hopping on a train to London in the morning, then Eurostarring it over to Paris, and then into the infamous Hotel de Crillon (according to wikipedia, it's one of the oldest luxury hotels in the WORLD), where a matte black Dom Perignon bag filled with matte black goodness and lots of history and background information on the world of Dom awaited me on the desk to dive into in the few hours i had to prepared before for dinner. So before we get into Versailles... here's a peek at design details of Hotel de Crillon and the lovely packaging of the Dom Perignon materials! (As you'll see, they LOVE stacks of cards/imagery on gorgeous paper in various sizes... even with gilded edges...)
The Kraken Rum: How can you NOT drink from a bottle that says "As seen through the eyes of imagination"... such a lovely description, also any bottle that has Bizarre & Fierce Sea Creatures on it is just hard to deny. You've seen the unboxing of the incredible packaging, design, and other goodies (like Kraken teeth in vials, ink in bottles, etc)... and now for close ups on the actual Kraken Rum bottle design from Kevin Shaw of Stranger and Stranger... The amazing thing i love to watch is putting it in unsuspecting hands, the bottle has presence! It's hard not to pick it up, slip two fingers through the holes, and then suddenly while rotating and reading the label ~ the bottle jokingly raises up to your lips as if you are going to chug it... and many make sounds channeling their inner rum drinking Johnny Depp a la Pirates of the Caribbean. It's happened more than once. I love how an object such as a mere bottle of rum through design and packaging can evoke such a delightful user experience! So take a peek at the packaging design and graphic details on the next page ~ The Kraken Rum is definitely a perfect gift if you need a sippable conversation starter to bring to a party (and loosen people up in more ways than one ~ it's 94 proof!)...
Remember those 1800 Tequila Essential Artist bottles? (I also showed you the close ups of the real things - even more stunning than in pics!) Well, at the time of the first collection launching, there was also a contest where you could submit your designs to be a part of the second collection... well the winners have been announced! And the bottles are just starting to make their way out into the real world! They are AWESOME (not that i would expect any less from 1800 Tequila after their great pick of designs the first time around)... 12 Limited Edition Bottle Designs Including one from Shepard Fairey's Studio Number One... so if you're ready, take a peek at the winners and a little background info on them on the next page... Also, beautiful video embedded on the next page animating and showing off all of the new designs, which is a definite must see! Can't wait to see these in person!
HUGE congrats to all of the winners ~ and to creative agency, Dead As We Know It for another stunning job.
On stunning bottles, i couldn't resist this G&J Greenall's Bloom Gin ~ beautiful color, gorgeous silhouette, particularly from the side! Found it at Liberty in London when we were late night wandering, while waiting for a table in Soho for dinner... The other random note ~ who knew! The bathroom in the St. James Hotel and Club would be so incredible for taking backlit snapshots of the bottle?!?! And slightly disappointing note on packaging, that nice black extruded part on the neck? Just a sticker... As for the taste, its quite refreshingly delicious - the Bloom Gin website describes it as "... a new romantic twist to the world of gin. With its ornate jewel-cut bottle, Bloom's fresh flavour offers a strikingly smooth, soft taste. This triple distilled gin uses demineralised fresh spring water and natural botanicals for its flavour. Created from juniper, chamomile, pomelo and honeysuckle it offers a light, refreshing experience rounded with subtle notes of honey and orange. Bloom -- a new gin to be enjoyed by lovers of nature." Definitely yummy ~ and will look stunning on any shelf. Take a look at the details on the next page!
Far more exciting than design week, everywhere i went i heard "You HAVE to go get ice cream at Selfridges!"... which seemed bizarre until i found out about the Icecreamists, and now i must tell you, "You HAVE to go get ice cream at Selfridges!" Before i get into the space and concept itself though, their The Infamous Sex Pistol Ice Cream deserved a post all on its own... "Natural stimulants & Absinthe Ice Cream. A classic Fior di Latte or Milk Ice Cream blended with Ginkgo Biloba, Arginine and Guarana for blood flow and energy. Scented with a gentle infusion of citrus zest. Topped with a shot of La Fee Absinthe. Strictly only one per person. Served with a complimentary Icecreamist badge." The London Paper deemed this the "Viagra Ice Cream"... but realizing that the absinthe was served out of an iv drip, i simply HAD to order it. Also, this ended up being breakfast with a friend, so a little pick me up didn't help before a full day of shopping in the saturday high street crowds. To take a look at the process and the cocktail itself, check out the pics on the next page! More to come on The Icecreamists soon!
and while i don't normally love absinthe, this was rather delicious...
A winner has been notified... i'm waiting to hear back from him!
I know you've always wanted to throw some rocks in your favorite scotch. Chilled perfectly these Teroforma Whisky Rocks are handmade in Vermont out of soapstone will cool your drink down just enough to take the edge off without "closing down" the flavors according to the lovely ladies of Delight.com. In fact, they are even generous enough to GIVE AWAY ONE SET of these WHISKEY STONES! All you have to do is leave a comment with your favorite Scotch/Whisky... be specific! And i'll pick a winner on Monday Sept 14th.
As for the stones themselves, they come beautifully packaged, and were a lovely reason to pick up a bottle of the highly recommended Balvenie 21yr Portwood (omg. so delicious.) ~ while i wasn't sure whether they chilled it enough at first, i've been enlightened that "They do not replace ice - it would ruin the whisky or any other fine spirits to be taken down to a temp much lower than 45F." And the only dillemma i've run into ~ if you only get 9... and about 4 go in a glass... and you have a drink with a friend... and you want refills... you need more rocks! Right? Anyhow, go take a peek at the pics on the next page!
Packaging based impulse shopping strikes again... This time i gave in and bought the Neurogasm, Neurobliss, Neurosonic, and Neurotrim. This strangely curvy soda bottle has an awesome cap, yet for some reason it kind of feels like it should be a bottle of body wash? Not sure about the flavors yet, but noteworthy packaging... see more details on the next page!
Prometheus Springs: Capsaicin Spiced Elixir. Firstly, what a mouthful. Secondly, check out their flavors - Lemon Ginger, Lychee Wasabi, and Pomegranate Black Pepper (intriguing aren't they?) Thirdly, awesome upside down pentagon of 5 stars around a crowned dragon ouroboros encircling what looks like a simplified masonic symbol for a logo (should we read into this? or is it simply a symbolic mashup?)... also beautiful photography and they even have a video of the bottling process! I'm impressed... also amused that most of their websites sections are wordpress - and they are all social media'd out with the facebook, twitter, flickr, vimeo... this occultish NY based drink line has captured my attention tonight... Take a look at more of the visual assets as well as the bottling video on the next page!
Sometimes even more fascinating than packaging design is watching how it evolves and becomes more engaging and usable! Well on packages awaiting when i got back from SDCC - there was a case of these redesigned Activate Drinks. If you recall, i wrote about Activate Drinks about a year ago ~ basically Activate Drinks are the ones that are bottles of water with caps filled with vitamins/flavors, and you turn the cap to "activate" the drink. Shake it and you're good to go ~ freshly mixed vitamins in water, because apparently vitamins lose their potency in water? Anyhow, take a look at the more ergo-friendly cap and cute droplet box graphics on the next page!
A while back i showed you the amazing bottles of Rubyy Blood Orange Energy ~ they even have that amazing matte black finish with blacklight loving illustration on it. Well, freshly launched is the DIET version, in an inverted angelic white with a black logo... and the same gorgeous silver graphic... three samples of these just arrived in a box sealed with that same print on paper tape! Find out more about Rubyy here and take a peek at the latest packaging, as well as a look at it next to the classic black bottle on the next page!
As promised in the last post about the Arta Barware goodies ~ while making lemonade we cut open one of the largest (nearly softball sized?) lemons from the top of my tree ~ and we were surprised to find that the seeds had started sprouting! Not knowing this was possible, i immediately started rethinking those old wives' tales about how swallowing a seed would make a tree grow out of your head.... and while talking to someone else, i started thinking of the plant based villains from Darkwing Duck too (embedded videos on the next page if you need to catch up on Dr. Bushroot and Spike)... Anyhow, the seeds have now been planted, will see what happens to them, but not before taking some pics to share with you!
I'm no botanist. Is this normal?
Excited to get a first look at Arta's gorgeous and playful set of bar tools that magically nest (tools into rack into ice bucket that sits on the cutting board) as well as a shaker with a built in jigger/strainer. Beautifully unique designs, and really fun packaging, first reaction was definitely - awesome house warming gift idea! (The tools in ice bucket particularly!) I love the packaging! Those silhouettes really grab you! Its such a fun portable set of - muddler, tongs, stirring spoon, bottle opener, knife, citrus reamer, citrus zester, drip-free ice bucket, and integrated cutting board. And since i played with it before lunch today, we actually used it while playing around with some lemons from the tree out back and made some lemonade. While the shaker is fun, and the integrated jigger and strainer are an unusual design, it is a bit impractical... its hard to get the top off, and unless you're pouring it when pretty level, using that for measurement while chatting with friends gets tricky! I think it's complicated instead of simplifying the drink making process? But the tool set is a fun one to have around the house, especially for a quick set you can bring outside with you for cocktails while bbq-ing! Take a peek at the details on the next page!
This is a NotEMPIRE round up since top three rows are recent awesomeness from NOTCOT.org ~ the 4th row is all goodies from our wardrobe, NotCouture ~ and the final row is filled with delectable libations from Liqurious which reminds us that it is always happy hour on the internet? As usual click the pics to find out more... and if you find something that shouldn't be missed, feel free to submit to the appropriate site!!! (Just click the little submit buttons on the top left under the logos!)
it's the notempire b/c its not an empire.
oops oops oops on that pair of boots slipping in the bottom row, but i'm far too tired and must head to sleep instead of making the roundup all over again!
On fun random Monday posts ~ it's been feeling like SUCH a monday (and from the tweets i'm seeing, sounds like its going around) ~ and not in a good way! So, since it seems a little early for happy hour to start... how about some silly alcohol schwag? I couldn't help giggling when this Red Stripe USB key showed up from Fader/Red Strip ~ presenting "It Was Written" featuring Terry Lynn and John Hugo - it's their collaboration on five new songs celebrating jamaican music! (You can even download them for free) And at first i thought it was a half bottle and a cupcake (i never did figure out how that would make much sense, but hey! who am i to judge that?)... but i'm thinking its so you don't lose your cap when the key is in use? Also the graphics are awesome ~ love how the text is made up of pencils and rulers, etc... see the pics on the next page!
I'm learning to love twitter... at first it drove me insane, but now it connects me with incredible new people... and its been intriguing to see what people and brands are doing with it... latest fascinating (and seemingly awesomely successful) experiment comes from Macallan. Granted i'm biased, Macallan 18yr has been my favorite go to for a few years now (while cocktails are fun, its my default if available)... but what they set up is really pretty fun! Here's the setup: Macallan's brand ambassador @livingthedram (Graeme Russell) teamed up with the Michelin-starred chef Ed Brown of Eighty One in NY for the ultimate Macallan Tasting ~ all live tweeted and projected on the wall!!! And while i nearly moved my flight to make the dinner ~ but being twitter and all, they were kind enough to send samples over for me to taste along with them! Unfortunately my timing still sucked a little, but first thing i did when i got home was grab some food, and start catching up on the #macallan tweets - and taste along with them!
On the next page, check out some pictures of the event, the samples (so fun to see the color differences alongside one another!), and a selection of my favorite tweets (yes, i totally read my way backwards through the whole event to catch up!).
I've written about quite a bit of packaging design, and alcohol packaging in particular often has some beautiful designs, but i think this is a first where the detail that grabbed me most was the cork! Once we popped this cork, i couldn't help but spin it around and around, and as we drank the bottle the question really became, who's chasing whom?
This is the cork of the André Balazs Sunset Beach Rosé ~ which is a collaboration with his long time friend and local Long Island winemaker, Christian Wölffer. Apparently vines planted at his Sunset Beach hotel will also contribute to future réserves. The label is also a fresh, beautiful water color representing that French Riviera/Miami lifestyle ~ lounging on towels with toes dipped in the water, raising glasses of Rosé as the bartender wades into the sunset behind with tray over his head? Cute label ~ rumor has it the girls on it are his daughters? Anyhow, take a peek at more pics on the next page...
Have you ever found yourself mesmerized by a curvature? A silhouette? Just stuck in your mind, and you could stare at it for ages? And it doesn't help that as you stare at it you can't help but sip it as well? Well there's something so beautiful about the Veuve Clicquot Yellow Label and La Grande Dame champagne glasses that i've been obsessing about since that trip to paris with them last year... It actually had me paying much closer to attention to both champagne and champagne glasses, since. You'll see what i mean in the many pictures on the next page... there's a comparison of some of the various champagne glasses rounded up from holiday gift boxes...
... also further indulging my curiosity about the origins of Champagne Glasses, the Veuve Clicquot historian was kind enough to put together some information on their background as well as some gorgeous visuals - from vintage Veuve ads ~ to scans from their library to take a look at what types of champagne glass styles exist and how they have evolved over the years.
On random late night posting ~ while doing the usual wandering through Whole Foods ~ on packaging based shopping, i gave in to some awesomely packaged beers. Really, how fun does the box and label of that Lobotomy Bock look? And take a peek at pics of that as well as some other fun beers and their adorable bottle caps too. (Slightly disappointing that Lobotomy Bock didn't have a crazy bottle cap... its just solid red) ~ see all the pics on the next page!