Travel Retail

What's in a Name?

Diageo and The Explorers' Club Collection
By Joe Bates
What's in a name? That which we call a whisky by any other name would smell as sweet.' Apologies to Shakespeare for playing fast and loose with Juliet's famous quote, but its message about the importance we attach to names is rather pertinent given the trouble that the travel-retail exclusive Johnnie Walker's Explorers' Club range has become mired in. Launched in 2012, the heavily promoted Explorers' Club collection, which comprises three whiskies (Spice Road, Gold Route and Royal Route), has proven a big hit but following a recent ruling from a New York judge it could soon be stripped from the shelves.

Earlier this year the famous New York Explorers Club, whose past members have included Arctic explorer Ernest Shackleton and astronaut Neil Armstrong, took legal action against Johnnie Walker owner Diageo, claiming the British drinks giant had illegally profited from using its name. In court the non-profit organisation, which aims to promote the scientific exploration of the land, sea, air and space, said Diageo failed to reach a mutually beneficial working relationship with the Explorers Club, but went ahead with the launch of the Collection regardless. "Diageo's conduct directly threatens the reputation and goodwill the Explorers Club and its members have built over more than 100 years," said Club president Alan Nichols following the US judge's ruling in his favour.

For its part Diageo is putting its considerable resources into fighting the injunction and for the moment the three whiskies remain on the shelf. At World of Whiskies airport stores in the UK the entry-level Spice Road is £25.29 the Gold Route is £84.99 and the top of the range Royal Route is £125. If you're a Johnnie Walker fan, why not stock up now as who knows how long these whiskies will still be available?

This year's TFWA World Exhibition, the duty-free industry's largest annual trade show, is just around the corner and already a number of new travel-retail exclusive whiskies have been released in the run up to the big event. For instance, Old Pulteney owner International Beverage Holdings is set to release the first peated anCnoc expression in travel-retail at the show. Part of a larger peated range named after peat cutters' tools launched earlier this year, anCnoc Barrow is something of a pussycat in the smoke stakes. It comes in at 13.5ppm (in comparison, the smoke monster that is Laphroaig boasts a ppm of over 40), making it an ideal dram for those consumers just starting to dabble with peaty whiskies.

anCnoc Barrow is limited to just 7,500 bottles and is naturally coloured and non chill filtered. Priced at around £49.99 for a 1litre bottle. Details of other Cannes launches and a full show review will feature in the next issue.


BEST BUY
Jack Daniel's

No 27

This latest super-premium release from the world's best-selling Tennessee whiskey has already made a limited appearance at a number of global hub airports this year such as Sydney, Dubai and Frankfurt. Jack Daniel's No. 27 Gold Tennessee Whiskey boasts extra maturation in maple barrels and is also filtered through sugar maple charcoal to give a sweet and smooth flavour profile intermingled with notes of vanilla, toasted oak and spice.

Presented in a great-looking, old-time 70cl bottle with gold-coloured label and gift tin, Jack Daniel's No. 27 Gold Tennessee Whiskey would make a great gift for any Jack Daniel's drinker. It is priced at €78 (£62) at Frankfurt airport.


RECOMMENDED
Lauder's

Ruby Cask Finish

Compared with the likes of Johnnie Walker and the Chivas brothers, Glasgow's Archibald Lauder is undoubtedly one of the less well-known Victorian whisky blenders and grocery store owners. However, his eponymous blended whisky is still going strong. Now owned by Glaswegian firm Macduff International, Lauder's with its distinctive squat, dimpled bottle is becoming more widely available in travel-retail and this new release, Lauder's Ruby Cask Finish, is set to be launched at the TFWA World Exhibition in Cannes in October.

Following on from the launch earlier this year of Lauder's Oloroso Cask Finish, Lauder's Ruby Cask Finish retains the brand's traditional well-balanced smoothness and sweetness.