The Bottle, The Hero
When Glenmorangie set out to create new advertising, we put a true Scottish icon at the centre: a bottle of Glenmorangie Original (the standard bearer for all other Glenmorangie whiskies and, in fact, Scotland’s favourite single malt). Its elegant lines take centre stage, its golden contents bathing everything else in light. It’s a great image, but as with all great things, it’s the unseen lengths behind the scenes that make the difference.
A woodcarver has spent over 120 hours working a piece of beautiful oak with chisels which are 200 years old. A sculptor has toiled with molten copper and dangerously high temperatures. A celebrated French photographer has laboured ‘pour l’amour de l’art’, he tells us. And arguably it all started more than 1200 years ago when the Picts, the ‘painted people’ of Northern Scotland, created the Cadboll Stone, one of Europe’s most important historical artefacts. What’s going on? Surely it’s only advertising…
Yet at Glenmorangie we believe that all we do should be Unnecessarily Well Made. Most obviously that applies to our award winning whiskies. But it applies here too.
In the final images the bottle sits in front of the Signet, Glenmorangie’s unique emblem which is the kaleidoscopic swirling pattern from the lower panel of The Cadboll Stone. It once stood close to the Glenmorangie Distillery in the far flung Scottish Highlands. A local artist was commissioned to recreate the stone by hand with a hammer and chisel and it stands there today, the original being safely housed in The National Museum of Scotland.
In one advert the Signet is crafted in copper, hinting at the story of our stills, the tallest in Scotland which produce the purest spirit. The copper Signet was created by Pierre Matter, a uniquely brilliant sculptor whose work can be seen in some of the greatest galleries worldwide. He relished the “colossal technical challenge” posed by the commission.
"I knew it would be difficult, highly testing. But that’s the reward: to overcome those trials and produce something to be proud of." he says.
“I’ve been using copper now for more than 20 years. Most of the guys in Europe who use this material are gone I’m afraid to say. We use ancient skills but they’re called upon less and less. In the 15th century it would have been perhaps possible to create this Signet piece in hammered copper, but not really now. So we went for another technique which means cast bronze. It’s a long process, even just the first mouldings, the sand casts for the foundry. The hardest aspect? That’s the electrolysis, applying the heat to create the same colour as the whisky stills. That’s a tense moment. The colours change fast and we must stop at the precise moment. If it fails we begin again…"
“You have to learn something every day. I learn through my artistic endeavours, the effort I put in. Human beings are unfinished. If you don’t learn something every day, do your best and more, then what’s the point?” he wonders.