As an avid. whiskey guy, Daryl Feril says that this collaboration with Johnnie Walker Beijing is a dream come true.
Johnnie Walker Beijing recently released a limited-edition gift box containing four Blue Label 500ml bottles, each depicting an intricately-designed beast from Chinese mythology. And get this—a Filipino artist took charge of illustrating these designs for the luxury whisky brand.
Bacolod-based multidisciplinary artist Daryl Feril isn’t a stranger to international collaborations—he has collaborated with Heineken, Jo Malone London, Hilton, and The Walt Disney Company, among others. However, these special bottles for Diageo and Johnnie Walker Beijing occupy a special place in his heart.
Since we’re currently in a love affair with whisky lately (thanks, Johnnie Walker), MANTLE secured an exclusive interview with Daryl to talk about his collaboration with the celebrated whisky brand.
Please share with us how you got the job from Johnnie Walker Beijing. How did you feel after receiving the good news?
My agent at Ampersand Globe, who handles most of my projects outside the Philippines but within Asia, proposed my work to Diageo and Sam’s Club (where the gift box will be available in China). He emailed me about this opportunity to design a collection of bottles for Blue Label in Beijing.
I found the concept of ancient mythological creatures interesting, so I didn’t waste any more time and said yes! I’ve waited for so long to work on a project like this, so I was ecstatic when I got it.
This was supposed to be a Summer 2022 release, but because of the COVID-19 cases in China, they had to pause production in Shanghai. I actually got the proposal back in 2021 and started working on the project between January to March 2022.
What was the creative process like for these bottles?
The Mythical Beasts Gift Box is a collection of four auspicious animals from Chinese mythology and folklore. The brand was very specific for this concept as it deals with something that is deeply rooted in their culture. Johnnie Walker was meticulous and specific with executing the concept, as it deals with something deeply rooted in their culture. Every aspect of the story and elements had to be precise.
As with most of my collaboration projects, I researched and provided the client with two to three sketches before deliberating on the studies that work best visually based on the concept and the bottle. In this case, I had to create illustrations that wrap around three-dimensional objects, and each design not only had to stand out individually, but also work cohesively as a collection. The elements had to be well-placed so that each bottle connected seamlessly with the others, design-wise.
Notes on the beasts, from left:
- Tenghuang: a fox-like beast with dragonlike wings and horns on its back.
- The Enlightened Beast: a big tiger with nine heads, all with human faces, standing eastward towards Kunlun. The Enlightened Beast is the guardian of the Huangdi Imperial Capital on Kunlun Mountain.
- Luwu: The god Luwu administers it. His divine form resembles a tiger’s body with nine tails, a human face, and tiger’s claws. This god administers the nine regions of heaven and the cycle of four seasons in the Supreme God’s garden.
- Dang Kang: It resembles a wild boar with long teeth. Legend has it that during the harvest years, Dang Kang will appear and dance while roaring.
You’re used to international collaborations already. What makes this recent partnership with Johnnie Walker Beijing different?
I’m a whiskey guy, and one of my dreams is to see my work on a Johnnie Walker Blue Label bottle. They’re known for collaborating with creatives to design their limited edition bottles.
I always like creating artistic work for something that’s tangible. While I’ve done several packaging illustration projects already, this one is definitely special. It’s one of the most challenging projects I’ve worked on so far, but after seeing the end product, it was all worth it.
Someday, I hope to create something for the brand that is much closer to home.
The Johnnie Walker Blue Label Limited Edition Gift Box is exclusively available at Sam’s Club Beijing. To check out Daryl Feril’s works, visit his official website via this link or follow him on Facebook, Twitter, or Instagram at @darylferil.