Three Ships Millennium revolutionises luxury packaging with premium design

To stay ahead in the market, top brands must adapt to change. Three Ships Whisky, as a leader in its class, has set the standard in South Africa. In response to the challenge of modernising the brand, while retaining its classic elements, packaging experts, Just Design crafted a fresh, contemporary look. The outcome lives up to the brand’s reputation, with a proud bottle featuring strong, masculine lines that serves as a prime example of how effective branding can enhance a brand’s identity and market position.

In the world of luxury spirits, creating a sense of status and scarcity are the secrets to success. Just Design conceptually elevated this brand by adding value and desirability through meaningful foil embellishments and design storytelling that helps enhance the label experience. MTS 397 Copper was chosen and applied using highly efficient hot stamping.

The design challenge

The South African whisky revolution, led by the award-winning Three Ships, whose latest release – a unique 21-year-old whisky – required a label and gift box that would embody the whisky’s exceptional quality and premium nature. To enhance the overall drinking experience, the design and storytelling of the packaging had to reflect the excellence of the brand.

Design inspiration

Just Design was inspired by ancient circular calendars to create a device that celebrates the signatory age of the whisky. The resulting design offers so much more than what first meets the eye. Both the label and gift box feature a beautifully crafted datemark, where the years 2000 and 2021 intertwine in an elegant design. The number 21 is presented in gold foil, seamlessly integrated with 00, celebrating the fascinating interplay of time.

Other design elements have been incorporated to highlight the key stages of the whisky’s ageing process. One particularly innovative feature is the use of duo UV inks, which when illuminated by the supplied torch, create a mesmerising experiential effect that enhances the overall brand engagement and memorability. The circular device used in the design was so impactful that it became the core concept for all marketing materials, translated across various media. The use of foils (supplied by Synchron Markings), textures, layers, and embellishments further adds to the quality of the whisky and its packaging.

The result

This highly coveted, extremely limited edition whisky was exclusively offered for sale through an online auction that sold out within days. With only 1 200 bottles produced in a one-time run, this rare and sought-after whisky was never sold in stores. Treasured as a unique collectible, the 21-year-old whisky perfectly blends liquid quality with exceptional packaging that will forever be a part of the ongoing legacy of Three Ships. This release sets yet another precedent for the South Africa whisky industry.

The Three Ships Millennium Label was printed by SA Litho and the Gift Box by Colourtone Aries. For more information on the foiling used, please contact Synchron on or call one of our branches.

    About Three Ships

    Discover an award-winning fleet of whiskies crafted at The James Sedgwick Distillery in Wellington: the Three Ships Select, Premium Select 5 Year Old, 10 Year Old Single Malt and the Bourbon Cask Finish. The whiskies are awarded year on year and have received gold and double at all major international whisky competitions. The Three Ships Premium Select 5 Year Old was named the World’s Best Blended Whisky at the 2012 World Whisky Awards and more recently the Three Ships 10 Year Old Single Malt was awarded the Worldwide Whisky Trophy and a gold outstanding at the 2015 International Wine and Spirit Competition.

    About Just Design

    For twenty years, Just Design has proven time and again that good thinking leads to great creative. With a national footprint and accounts across Africa, Middle East and Europe, it is the strategic design partner for many blue-chip clients and global brands, and is a leading packaging design agency in South Africa. Specialising in branding, packaging and innovation, they deliver results-driven solutions to clients both locally and internationally. Regardless of the industry, category, market or product Just Design believes the best brands are the ones that speak clearly, authentically and come to life in bold and unexpected ways.

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