Dubai's whisky paradise

Dubai's whisky paradise

Joe Bates with the latest from travel retail
Joe Bates

03 March 2006

Publication: Issue 54

Joe Bates with the latest from travel retail.Store focus: Dubai. Dubai Duty Free is now the second largest dutyfree location after London Heathrow with annual sales of more than $2billion.Whisky, easily the best-selling spirits category, is a popular purchase among ex-pat workers from Europe and the sub-continent who reside in Dubai.While respected blends dominate the sales mix– the top five selling whiskies are Johnnie Walker, Chivas Regal, William Grant’s, J&B and VAT 69 respectively – the 94-brand assortment offers a good choice of malts, bourbons and Irish whiskeys.Spirits prices are on a par with leading European airports, but look out for regular deals on leading brands, which often include free gifts.Super-premium whiskies are growing in importance, Chivas Regal Stone of Destiny ($399/£223.50) and Royal Salute 100 Casks ($199/£111.45) proving particularly popular .Collectors should look out for regular limited edition offers from the Dead Whisky Society, a Dubai-based firm specialising in rare stocks of malt whisky from abandoned distilleries.Dallas Dhu 1975 is the current rare malt of the month priced at $212 (£118.75).Stocks are limited to 200 bottles, but new deals on other ‘dead’ malts should be appearing in the coming months.Whisky is sold in the two Food Plus Zones in the departure lounge of Terminal 1, and at the arrivals stores of both Terminal 1 and Terminal 2. Opening hours: 24 hours a day, seven days a week
Tel: + 9714 216 2453Best Buy: anCnoc 30 Year Old. This quirky Speyside malt from the Knockdhu distillery is well worth looking out for, but stocks are limited to 930 cases. Now in the hands of Inver House Distillers Knockdhu was abandoned for much of the 1980s, but has now been re-launched under the new name of anCnoc.The distillery is famous for the purity of its water source and anCnoc 30 Year Old makes much of its purity, being neither chill filtered nor coloured. Matured in Spanish and American oak casks, this full-bodied whisky offers sherry and vanilla notes on the nose, a satisfyingly smooth taste and a long-lasting finish.anCnoc 30 Year Old can be found at leading European airport stores and is priced at about £95. Recommended: Bunnahabhain 25 Year Old. Islay malt lovers will be a little surprised, but ultimately contented with this offering from the island’s most northerly distillery.Less peaty than the likes of Islay malts such as Laphroaig and Caol Ila, Bunnahabhain 25 Year Old is a beautifully well-rounded dram, offering sweet berries and cream on the palate and a spicy, even nutty finish.The 43% ABV whisky is presented very well in a stylish brown bottle and Hessian-lined gift box.Available at leading international airport stores worldwide Bunnahabhain 25 Year Old has a recommended travel-retail price of about £145. Opening hours: 24 hours a day, seven days a week Tel: + 9714 216 2453

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