How Gravity Thinking, Glenfiddich and a host of creative mavericks created a stunning piece of film to showcase the “Raised in Scotland, Ro...

Defying gravity through levitating whisky

How Gravity Thinking, Glenfiddich and a host of creative mavericks created a stunning piece of film to showcase the “Raised in Scotland, Roused by the Caribbean” story of Glenfiddich’s 21 Year Old whisky.

In finding the best way to tell the story about Glenfiddich’s 21 Year Old whisky, we had to play outside of the sandbox. Way outside. In fact, it was sand that first started us on the path of using cymatics to showcase the process in which the 21 Year Old is matured in a warehouse for all that time and then finished in Reserva Rum casks for a sweet, finishing touch.

Our team stumbled across a music video by artist Nigel Stanford. His use of music to affect tiny fine grains of sand and petri dishes of liquid got us thinking. The 21 Year Old is a whisky that is raised patiently in Glenfiddich’s Dufftown Distillery for over two decades and then roused by the spirit of the Caribbean. We can bring together the sounds of both beautifully distinct cultures through music and through the use of cymatics, we can show how the music metaphorically effects the liquid. We knew we had something when the idea was sold without any feedback from Client. It excited them. It excited us. Now the reality set in – how are we actually going to make this happen?

There was a song to consider, talent to recruit, a location to find and a cymatics instillation to build and at first, four months before production to do it all. Surprisingly, the latter wasn't the issue - having found a creative technologist team through our production company, Ten Hertz, took on the task of conceptual design to final build like they've done this before. Their initial sketches of what the installation would finally look like inspired some “oohs” and “ahhs” when presented for the first time. Stunning glass vessels supported by gleaming copper stands had the visual appeal that would make the film worth viewing.

Now that the hard part was over, the song, talent and location proved to be a hurdle that was more difficult to jump over. How does one land the right song that would help enhance the story?

It wasn’t easy – four rounds of short lists and several of hours of listening to discographies later, and we discovered the song that would provide the right soundtrack to our film – “Love Illumination” by the Scottish rockers, Franz Ferdinand. The fast paced chorus and the mentions of sweet within the lyrics sold it through. Covering the song by creating a symphonic arrangement and performed by a Scottish orchestra would help accentuate the Scottish element of our film. To rouse the music was Puerto Rican artist, Calma Carmona and her percussionists to infuse in elements of Caribbean melodic flavour. By chance, we found a spot in London that provided us with the perfect backdrop for the performance – an old clothing manufacturing loft in Bermondsey that replicated the spirit of the Dufftown Distillery warehouses. It was all coming together beautifully.

So after seven months of pre-production planning, the two-day shoot was not without its challenges. The patient artists performed the song enough times that they were playing off memory by midday. The levitating drop took well over three hours to shoot and over 30 attempts to get the perfect droplet to levitate and land into the 21 Year Old bottle for that final dramatic shot.

That hard work paid off. It resulted in a visually stunning piece of film that has gained over 3 million views collectively on Youtube, Facebook and Twitter since launching globally on October 21st. And beyond our social channels, it’s picked up incredible buzz including a retweet from Scottish actor Sam Heughan, coverage on Mashable and Daily Mail, and coverage from influential whisky bloggers like Great Drams.

Watch the final film here.

And to have a look into how we made it all happen, we’ve captured all of the great moments on a behind the scenes wrap up film:

Watch the behind the scenes film here.

It takes brave Clients to pursue this kind of creative work. Everyone involved was going into this campaign with a lot of unknowns and through a lot of patience and collaborative conversations, our Glenfiddich brand team Clients trusted that we and our team of maverick creative partners would deliver on a beautiful piece of film.

And to that, we raise a dram of Glenfiddich 21 and say Sláinte!

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