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  • Writer's pictureHelen Wilkinson

Optical Illusion - The Tale Of The Dog - Luxury Whisky Packaging

This is post three of a series taking a detailed look at the art, craft and engineering that went into making the fine packaging for the William Grants Balvenie Tale Of The Dog Whisky.

Internal view of the cradle wood packaging that holds The Tale Of The Dog whisky.
Balvenie - The Tale Of The Dog Whisky Luxury Packaging

When the cylinder for the Balvenie The Tale Of The Dog opens you see the beautiful amber whisky, the bright copper, the dark blue story booklet. What you don’t see is that to hold the contents in place requires a trick.


The bottle – rightly – takes centre stage. Except it isn’t centred. It certainly looks it but it isn’t.


We call the part the holds the bottle ‘the cradle.’ It couldn’t be centred because the bottle has to be held a safe, no contact distance from the copper dog. What looks like a circle inside the cylinder is actually oval at the back.


The tolerances to achieve the finish we’re after are very fine. Peter calculated the shapes and distances. And what could be achieved using machining and what would require hand finishing.


It’s important to remember that this is happening in wood. Wood is a permanent challenge as no two pieces are the same. That’s not a problem if you are just making one of something but it’s a huge challenge if you are making many and it’s imperative that the look, feel and function is consistent.


Using machine tools can only take the process so far. After that each one of the 232 cylinders is finished by hand sanding and measuring repeatedly until exactly the right fit is achieved. Mike and Sam were responsible for the near perfect as possible finish of every piece.

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