The Far East Promise

The Far East Promise

Asian airports raise the bar

Travel Retail | 21 Oct 2016 | Issue 139 | By Joe Bates

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It's certainly an exciting time to be a whisky loving traveller if you are heading to some of Asia's major hub airports in the coming months. Let's start our Asian tour at Singapore Changi Airport where DFS Group has just opened its second wine and spirits Duplex store. Located in Terminal 2, this new shop is considerably larger than the company's first Duplex store which opened in Terminal 3 last May, but it has the same contemporary look and feel, having been designed by award-winning Japanese interior designer, Masamichi Katayama.

DFS claims the new store boasts the largest assortment of single malt whiskies of any duty-free shop in Asia, running to some 179 different varieties. Add to that tally 68 blended Scotch whiskies, 30 American whiskeys, and Asian brands such as Japan's Yamazaki, Hibiki and Chita, as well as Taiwan's Kavalan, and you clearly have an impressive selection.

Among the top tier single malts stocked are Royal Brackla 35 Years Old at S$21,300 (£11,850), Glenfiddich Vintage Reserve 1973 (S$7,980/£4,440) and The Macallan No 6 in Lalique (S$5,303/£2,950). For a full run down of what's on offer there, including more affordable offerings, please take a look at DFS's excellent online shop and collect site:

If you have the time before your flight, walk up to the second floor of the store where you'll find the Whisky House concept where around 100 different whiskies are available to be sampled with sales staff on hand to help you make the right choice. In addition, there are also some standalone boutiques dedicated to particularly in-demand brands such as Glendiddich, The Glenlivet, Johnnie Walker, The Dalmore and The Macallan, many of which are likely to feature exclusive expressions and interactive exhibits.

In-store events are set to be a regular occurrence at the new DFS store. For instance, a seven-week whisky festival marked the opening of the store in July, August and September which attracted appearances from whisky industry figures such as Bruichladdich brand ambassador Richard Gillam, Craigellachie global ambassador Ziggy Campbell and Beam Suntory Japanese whiskies global brand ambassador Mike Miyamoto. More of these types of events are planned, and it's also worth visiting the store's impressive Raffles Long Bar where whisky cocktails are often on the menu.

From Singapore Changi to China's Beijing Capital and South Korea's Seoul Incheon Airports where no fewer than three Johnnie Walker House stores have just opened their doors, adding to a growing network of branches that already includes airport outlets at Singapore Changi, Mumbai, Taiwan, Auckland and Amsterdam Schiphol. Interestingly, the new boutique in Beijing Capital airport's Terminal 3 is also devoted to the popular Chinese baiju brand Shui Jing Fang and is the largest Johnnie Walker House to open in Asia to date.

Among the limited edition collections on offer in the new Beijing store are the Johnnie Walker House Zodiac Collection, first launched in 2013 and featuring bottle designs inspired by the Chinese zodiac; the Johnnie Walker House Fu Lou Shou Limited Edition, a bottle illustrated with the Chinese deities of fortune, prosperity and longevity; the Johnnie Walker House 1920 Epic Dates Collection, which features bottlings dedicated to significant dates in the history of the whisky, as well as a wide range of Diageo single malts.


10 Years Old

A far-fetched yarn, especially of a supernatural nature, never goes amiss if you are trying to flog a bottle of whisky. A case in point is the new Bowmore 10 Years Old, which apparently was inspired by a popular legend that the devil himself once paid a visit to Islay. He was chased through the village of Bowmore by an angry mob of yokels into the gates of the distillery, but couldn't be found inside. Had he hid himself in a whisky barrel bound for the mainland, they wondered? Oh well, it's a fun story I guess and the devilish theme is continued nicely on the red bottle label and packaging. Bowmore 10 Years Old is targeted exclusively at major European and Asian airports and has a recommended priced of €45 (£38.20) for a 70cl bottle.


Rock Edition II

Crank up the amplifier volume dial to 11 and pin your ears back folks and welcome to the stage Smokehead Rock Edition II Islay single malt Scotch whisky, which as you might have guessed, follows on from the first Smokehead Rock Edition. Originating from an unnamed Islay distillery, this new release is certainly not shy in the peat stakes, but it backs up all that Islay smoke with some seaweed saltiness, sherry, citrus, toffee sweetness and toasted nuts. Bottled at a loud 46.6% ABV, the whisky comes in a new bright embossed red metal gift tin, which features a smoking skull and adjectives to describe the whisky's bold flavour. Subtle Smokehead Rock Edition II isn't, in either appearance or flavour profile, but given that its target consumer is seemingly a whisky-loving AC-DC fan, that's probably the idea. This non age statement whisky is going to be available exclusively in Travel Retail priced at around €79 (£67) per bottle.
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