top of page


A visiting dignitary brought the gift of London dry gin to the Forbidden City, and in return the Empress gave him a rare bird, held within a beautiful crafted cage.

The exchange of gifts is a traditional part of Chinese culture, to show solidarity when attending a formal meeting, where tea was served. The Forbidden City had its name-sake because outsiders were refused entry, until Empress Cixi began to relax these rules.

The concept embraces tradition: easily understood by the Chinese Baijiu drinker, whilst also being forward facing, to establish a new complete category in China.

The liquid combines Classic London dry Gin botanicals with a hint of infused premium Chinese tea and locally grown citrus fruits. The range includes a juniper Variant, as well as mandarin liquid and a gin with a hint of Yuzu. The premium spirit is ideal for making a Gin Martini with depth and complexity, or a refreshing G&T.

The project includes brand strategy, naming, flavour innovation/range architecture, bespoke 3D bottle design, and brand identity, with an illustration and typography being done in house at Intertype Studio.

The bottle is available to buy in T House Time, a chain of premium Tea Houses, as well as being sold online. The Gin will eventually be available world wide.

The bottle structure is inspired by & functions like a bird cage, whilst the glass stopper is influenced by the traditional head-wear worn by Empress Cixi. The illustration style & technique is inspired by a Quing dynasty vase and creates the illusion of the bird held within the cage. The bottle is hangs within the box to complete the concept.

The paper label reflects the layout of the forbidden city in plan view, with the empress positioned to the rear centre of the courtyard, where she would typically host visitors.

Thanks to our partners at Oracle Creative Design, Shenzhen, who commissioned the project and handled the production.

bottom of page