Travel Retail

A Regal Location

Joes Bates looks at a sparking travel-retail whisky collection
By Joe Bates
If the Queen and Prince Philip decide to fly away from it all after the recent exhausting (and decidedly damp) Diamond Jubilee celebrations, the Heathrow Royal Suite will be the last bit of England they see before their royal plane takes to the skies. This rather unprepossessing grey building, which stands suitably aloof from Heathrow's main terminals, not only sends the Royal Family off on their travels, but also hosts other VIP visitors such as heads of state and other dignitaries, who are visiting the UK.

As reported in last issue's news pages, this regal location was the recent stage for one of the most extraordinary travel-retail whisky launches - the £158,000 The Dalmore Constellation Collection.

It was the first time that the Royal Suite has opened its doors to the hoi polloi and a major coup for retailer World Duty Free, which displayed the entire Collection in its flagship Terminal 5 shop during the month of May.

The entertaining Dalmore master distiller Richard Paterson was at his flamboyant best at the launch, donning white gloves to handle the fine crystal decanters before leading a group of lucky journalists through a lively tasting of some his favourite whiskies in the collection. A decade in preparation, the 21 bottle-strong collection of single cask whiskies features vintages dating from 1964 to 1992. Prices are of course not for the faint hearted. They start at a relatively modest £2,000 for the 1992 and a bank-busting £20,000 for the sublime 1964, a mind-blowingly good whisky matured in American white oak and finished in an Oloroso sherry butt.Other high profile airport retailers will undoubtedly be keen to list the Dalmore Constellation Collection either as a whole or in part. As for the Collection itself, brand owner Whyte & Mackay intends to refresh the range annually. New vintages will be added as existing ones sell out, and some 20,000 rare Dalmore whiskies have been earmarked for the Constellation collection during the next four years.

Back at Heathrow we would be remiss in not reporting that a new World of Whiskies outlet opened earlier this year in Terminal 3 as part of a £4m renovation of the terminal's shopping offer. Smaller than some of the World of Whiskies stores in Heathrow's other terminals, this new shop still features a great range and a dedicated area for rare and collectible drams.

Examples of exclusives currently stocked include Douglas Laing Caol Ila 25 Years Old (£90) at one end of the price spectrum, and The Balvenie Private Vintage 40 Years Old (£3,500) at the other.

All in all, World of Whiskies continues to lead the way when it comes to whisky retailing at the airport, and it is always worth checking out the company's website, www.worldofwhiskies.com, to discover the latest news including launches, promotions and competitions.


BEST BUY
Jim Beam

1795

Bourbon has never been more than a minor blip on the radar for duty-free buyers, but a bit of momentum is now building up behind the category with market leader Jim Beam stepping up its investment in the channel with this new exclusive release.

As all die-hard Jim Beam fans will know 1795 was the year the Jim Beam distillery was founded. This new limited edition expression, an 8 Years Old Bourbon selected from the top floor of a five-floor rack house, pays homage to the brand's birth in style.

Jim Beam 1795 packs a punch at 47.5% ABV in terms of strength but has a delicately sweet finish.

The liquid itself has plenty of oak in the palate and burst with vanilla flavours.

Only 200 70cl bottles of Jim Beam 1795 have been released priced at around €139 each so it won't be around for long. The Bourbon has initially gone on sale exclusively at Frankfurt airport Terminal 1 and Budapest airport.


RECOMMENDED
The Macallan

1824 Collection Limited Release MMXII

A new travel-retail exclusive from the likes of The Macallan is always a welcome development and this new ultra-premium release is no exception.

The Macallan 1824 Collection Limited Release MMXII is this year's limited edition release, which will join with the permanent 1824 Macallan travel-retail collection.The new Macallan Limited Release MMXII has been matured in rare Oloroso sherry casks and is bottled at a high 49.5% ABV.

Rich rosewood in colour, this fine whisky offers sweet dried fruit on the nose and spicy flavours on the palate. The finish is sweet and long.

The Macallan Limited Release MMXII is presented in a hand blown crystal decanter and will go on sale at selected airport shops around the world.

Quantities are limited to 1,824 decanters.