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Anatomy of an iconic bottle

Back in 1875, Edouard Cointreau stressed that a good product is nothing without a strong visual identity. His stroke of genius was to:  present his crystalline liqueur in a revolutionary bottle that was square, amber, multi-faceted, full of symbolism and identity – and completely against the norms of the time.  Even today, the signature bottle remains incredibly modern, almost 150 years after it was first created. 

iconic bottle

Cointreau 1875

Document featuring the very first brand registration submission in 1875.



To stand out from the competition, Edouard Cointreau found inspiration in the world of women’s fragrances. With its refined aromatic notes, his liqueur was actually designed along the same lines as a perfume. In a daring move, he rejected the trends of the time and opted for a four-sided bottle, echoing the four ingredients in his liqueur: orange peel extracts, alcohol, water and sugar. His four-cornered bottle also reflected his ambition: to take Cointreau to all “four corners of the world”.



The amber glass instantly recalls the orange peel used in the distillation process. But Edouard also opted for this iconic colour to visually stand out from his competitors and arouse curiosity in his consumers. He loved how surprised they would be when they found that within the amber bottle lay a crystalline liqueur!



Behind its perfectly proportioned form and apparent simplicity, the bottle is in fact a technical feat, expertly crafted by artisan glassmakers. Because Edouard – who was passionate about signs and symbols – was actually determined to make the bottle an octagon, every angle perfectly balanced, to underscore the extraordinary balance of aromas in his liqueur.



The bottle’s intrinsic character has remained almost unchanged since 1875: the copper cap, a nod to the stills at the Cointreau distillery; the red seal and ribbon, a guarantee of authenticity; a simple white label displaying the brand’s roots in Angers, and the handwritten signature of E. Cointreau engraved into the glass.



The Cointreau bottle has now become a familiar object, a rallying symbol and an emblem. It has been an integral part of brand’s reputation and success because it has always expressed Edouard Cointreau’s philosophy so wonderfully. The distinctive and instantly recognisable bottle bears a label claiming that Cointreau is “L’Unique”. And nobody can argue with that.