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To leverage the storehouses of once-thriving American bourbon distilleries, Diageo approached us to help create a new-to-the-world brand with timeless appeal. Orphan Barrel, a family of small-batch whiskies sourced from forgotten barrels, tells the stories of character-rich liquids rooted in craft, quality, and authenticity. From the series’ hand-drawn labels, to its hand-filled bottling line, to its signed and numbered editions, Orphan Barrel represents best-in-class design and implementation.

The Orphan Barrel branding uses a rough-hewn hand drawn brandmark and a color palette of grays, browns and golds echoing the materials and colors from the rickhouses and distilleries where these barrels are found. It remains consistent with each launch to announce all variants as members of the family, but the individual issues have their own personalities with animals that express the unique character of liquid and name. Five brands were launched: 20-year-old Barterhouse Whiskey, 20-year-old Rhetoric, 26-year-aged Old Blowhard, 15-year-old Forged Oak, and 22-year-old Lost Prophet.

Each label was hand lettered and drawn featuring metallic varnishes and foil stamps, each detail reinforces authenticity and craftsmanship. We wanted to ensure that we took the crafted quality of the liquid seriously, but injected a bit of fun when bringing these whiskies to life with the unique marques and personalities.

In addition to the concept and packaging work, our agency also developed Key Visuals for both offerings. Since launching in March 2014, Orphan Barrel has been met with critical acclaim from the bourbon connoisseur community.


Brand Creation, Naming, Branding, Visual Strategy, Packaging design, Art Direction, Key Visuals.

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Barterhouse Kentucky Bourbon features a vintage khaki and brown label meant to look like a trading post circular and features a sly fox as a salesman. Its substrate is a toothy, thick-stock paper meant to convey the craft and aesthetic of the early 20th century.

Old Blowhard Kentucky Bourbon Whiskey has a beautiful nautical blue label featuring a whale exhaling through its blowhole before launching into another opinionated debate. Powerful fonts rooted in swagger proclaim the spirit’s impressive age statement and status as Kentucky Straight Bourbon.

Rhetoric Kentucky Straight Bourbon is a highly collectible, progressively aged bourbon available for 6 years ending with a 26 year-old Rhetoric. The intricate label beautifully showcases a humming bird and script font to express the art and song of language. The design will be consistent each year, but the background color will be a darker stain of wood for each batch to reflect another year aged. The substrate used is a wood veneer, which authentically communicates the ageing process the liquid undertakes.

Forged Oak is a pillar of strength rooted in time and wisdom. The label takes advantage of a metalized substrate in order to evoke the skilled craft found in vintage metal engravings.

Lost Prophet, the black sheep in the family, draws inspiration from illuminated manuscripts and calligraphic craft to deliver a divine design of ornate detail and maze-like patterns.