The Art In Whisky

The Art In Whisky

Celebrating a worshipped spirit


Arts & Culture




Book Design

Art Direction

Production Support

Identity Design

Web Design & Development

Social Content


Mono was commissioned to deliver the design and art direction of a luxury coffee table book representing the provenance of fine, aged whisky from across the globe.

Approached by Photographer (and founder of Spiorad Publishing) Jon Purcell to help bring a multi-year vision to life, the brief was simple — to design and develop the very best, limited edition, luxury art book imaginable. Aimed at discerning whisky drinkers and enthusiasts, we knew the standards had to be high.


A refined, reflective approach

Having identified the audience, we set about crafting an iconic book that would appeal to a highly affluent and emotive reader. Designed to be enjoyed with a wee dram or two, the The Art In Whisky has a relaxed pace for a reflective experience.

We drew upon numerous premium design cues to build emotive connections to the subject and keep the reader engaged. From bespoke typography, inspired by the distillery names painted on the white walls of coastal vaults, to fine graphic maps and tactile materials, all the elements blended together to evoke the complex character and undertones of this worshipped spirit.


Quality distilled into every detail

Using print finishing details like gloss UV — selected for its clear ‘new-make’ spirit-like character — and innovative lay-flat binding method for seamless imagery, ensured an engaging experience on every spread, and presented the large scale, photographic content in all its glory.


An opulent experience

Only the finest materials were used in the production of The Art In Whisky, along with some of the finest traditional bookbinding and print craftsmanship from another long-time client and partner, Kingsbury Press.

Staying true to the subject matter, the first edition used burnished copper, specially sourced from a supplier to the whisky industry, and retained the same compound structure — 99% Copper, 1% Oxygen — as the precious metal used in the manufacture of copper stills.

A book as beautiful as this deserved the finest presentation and came housed in a luxurious, highly tactile calf-skin leather and suede presentation case with debossed details. The end result was a truly luxurious and iconic collector’s edition that is sure to become part of every whisky connoisseur’s collection and be passed down through generations to come.


Painting a vivid picture

With such a rich and vibrant history to communicate, we commissioned loose, sketch-style illustrations, penned by the talented Shoreditch Sketcher. This enabled us to fluently articulate many of the mythical and historic stories surrounding whisky, bring a different dimension to the book and compliment Jon’s rich photographic tapestry.


Mapping the world of whisky

Tracing Jon’s journey and the provenance of the spirit, we designed the book to take the reader on a captivating visual journey.

Starting on the rocky shores of Ireland and the windswept island of Islay, readers were swept through the heartland of Scotland to the tropical heat of Taiwan, the unique oak woodlands of Spain and the forested foothills of Japan.

Throughout this journey, each section of the book was carefully curated to deliver an evocative collection of stories and short essays that whisked readers away to the birthplace of their favourite dram. Along the way, we introduced some of the characters, both past and present, involved in the crafting of this most enigmatic of spirits.


A mysterious black edition

The Black Edition was equally impressive with its leather exterior and luxurious copper embellished details.

Inside, the story, and Jon’s engaging images, were beautifully printed on the finest velum paper to give a subtle textured base to the photographs and a wonderfully tactile experience.

This immersive reading experience was heightened by the finest print finishing details, including metallic copper section dividers, gloss copper foil details and high-gloss varnish.


A rewarding first taste

The initial book launch was a huge success, with world renowned whisky ambassador and Master Distiller Richard Patterson, accompanied by Master Blender Gregg Glass, of Whyte & Mackay and The Dalmore, taking our guests on a wonderfully provocative and intimate tasting journey that echoed the structure of the book.

The books were launched at a very intimate and exclusive event at Hedonism Wines in Mayfair, London, before going on general release via the Spiorad Publishing website (which we also designed and built to accompany the books).


A new breed of publishing company

Spiorad‎: Irish, Scottish Gaelic, {pronounced: spi-radj}

Meaning: Spirit in all forms

With more books on spirits with stories to tell in the planning, we were also briefed to create the branding for Spiorad Publishing and enable them to truly get a foothold into the publishing sector. Inspired by the concept of the ‘travelling photographer’, we designed an illustrated publisher’s mark that referenced Jon himself, as he followed in the footsteps of many fine craftsmen before him.

To further support the marketing of the brand and books, we also developed a Shopify e-commerce website and managed and curated initial activation content for Jon’s social media feeds.


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