A Taste Of The Extraordinary: Our First Work For Drambuie

A couple of months ago we started working with Drambuie. The aim - to introduce a new generation of people to this unique drink. For a lot of people, Drambuie is a vague memory that lives at the back of their parents' (or grandparents') drinks cabinet, brought out once a year at Christmas. Or worse still, they haven't heard of it at all.

The new campaign will be rolling out across Drambuie's markets around the world next year, but London is getting a bit of a sneak preview over the next few weeks with this new print work.

The idea behind A Taste Of The Extraordinary is to bring to life the thing that makes Drambuie unique - its taste. It's still made to a secret recipe, taking a selection of malt whiskies from Speyside and the Highlands and blending them with spices, heather honey and herbs. But obviously with this being the world of premium alcoholic drinks, it's about much more than pure tangible product points - imbuing it with a sense of mystery and desirability is vital to get people to even consider it.

There are so many pragmatic and logical campaigns out there these days, so we wanted to make A Taste Of The Extraordinary a little more esoteric, explain a little less and intrigue a little more. Inspired by the vast history of surreal art, photography and film, we set out to create images that reflect Drambuie's taste.

To bring the ideas to life, we went to photographer John Ross, famous for his iconic record covers for Spiritualized, The Pet Shop Boys and Manic Street Preachers (among others) and known for his technical skill and creativity.

To achieve the timeless quality we wanted in the images, we decided to shoot on large format film rather than digital. It was quite difficult for John's team to even locate enough film for the shoot - it's amazing to think of the extent to which the world has completely moved over to digital, especially over the last couple of years. 

The sets for the shots were built by model-maker. The black and white parquet floor alone took seven days to build from 6000 pieces hardwood. The walls were cast in white concrete, deliberately left with an imperfect finish.

To create the atmospheric feel, and the amazing shadows with the light cast of the liquid running through, each shot was taken four different ways. Once for the bottle itself, once for the black part of the shadow, then to create the light cast, and finally set up for the right effect on the white wall and floor.

The man in the images was shot (again on film) with lighting to match the sets, in John's second studio. Then the bottles and glasses were shot separately on matching film, with the same light effects, but with added light from the behind them, to create the perfect, luminous colour of the liquid.

The work was painstaking, but necessary to create the right effect. We also shot everything digitally as we went along, for reference to check that the film elements would combine in the right way when printed. The different versions of the images were expertly scanned and blended together by very clever post guys. Again, it required a lot of expert and time-consuming work to pull though the right parts of each shot to create the finished effect.

A huge thanks to Helen, John, Tony, Shin, Yumi, Juliet and Lesley for all their help and hard work and for going the extra mile to make it happen, and to the guys at Drambuie for seeing the potential in the idea in the first place, and for matching our ambition for the realisation of it.


  1. These are some of the most atmospheric ads I've seen. The black and white parquet floor in particular was a brilliant idea. Again, you've done a great job!

  2. Love the campaign and great to see behind the scenes shots - really interesting

  3. I really don't get it.

  4. Classic work there SellSell-ites. Hats off to you. It's good to see some proper advertising photography again.

  5. Not A Jury Member13 December 2011 at 07:47

    Haven't seen work like that for yonks. Refreshing and a proper piece of craft. I've seen the 48 sheet and they stick out like a proverbial sore thumb on the platform.

  6. I love that I don't really get it...Clue - it's an ad for Drambuie.

  7. A lot of hard work and thinking all round. Love em.

  8. A lot of hard work and thinking all round. Love em.

  9. A lot of hard work and thinking all round. Love the campaign.

  10. Just a shame it's not a taste of originality.

    From 1994: http://www.absolutad.com/absolut_lists/ads/pictures/?id=1054&_s=ads

    Still, it's nice. And my comment is about six years late, anyway. So you win.

  11. Hehe, worst 'bin dun' post ever, integral person.


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