Travel Retail

A Tale of Two Airports

Two airports thousands of miles apart, but both have a new duty-free store and exclusive Highland Park bottlings to shout about
By Joe Bates
London Gatwick is spending £27.5 million on refurbishing its ageing North Terminal and a highlight of the ongoing revamp is a new 2,000 square-metre World Duty Free store, which opened late last year. Frequent flyers at Gatwick will find that the old standalone World of Whiskies outlet with its distinctive copper still has been swapped for a new World of Whiskies store that’s been incorporated into the main walk-through shop.

Key elements of the familiar World of Whiskies concept have been retained, however. There’s a glass-screened Rare & Vintage section showcasing collectible spirits, a tasting bar and a large LED screen to display promotions and distillery information. There are also display units for popular brands such as Glenmorangie, Johnnie Walker, Chivas Regal and Jack Daniel’s. Regional displays are dedicated to Islay, the Islands, the Lowlands, the Highlands, as well as Irish and American whiskeys.

Collectors will find plenty to get their pulses racing at the new store. They can choose from the likes of Balblair 1969 at £1,200, matured in first-fill American oak ex-Bourbon casks and a tropical delight with leathery, smoky overtones; the fruity, complex, but delicate Tomintoul 1976 at £375, and the intense Mortlach 25 Years Old, the oldest expression currently available in the range, which is priced at £523 for a 50cl bottle.

Travel retail exclusives are promoted heavily in the Gatwick North World of Whiskies outlet. For instance, to celebrate the store’s opening Highland Park have released a single-cask whisky which is only available at Gatwick. The 12 Years Old Highland Park Single Cask Edition is limited to just 540 bottles and priced at £104. Bottled at a high cask strength of 66.4% ABV and drawn from an ex-sherry refill butt, this delicately smoky whisky offers hints of orange peel, sweet vanilla and oaky notes on the palate.

As it happens, Highland Park has also released two new exclusive bottlings for Singapore Changi airport’s duty-free retailer DFS Group. The releases are from the distillery’s Single Cask Series and have been drawn from casks #284 and #2154 and are limited to 474 and 606 bottles respectively. The first of the two releases, Highland Park ingle Cask Series 15 Years Old – The Whiskey House Exclusive – European Oak Sherry Cask #384, has been matured in a first-fill European sherry butt cask and bottled at a cask strength of 62% ABV.

The second release, Highland Park Single Cask Series 15 Years Old Single Malt Scotch Whisky – The Whiskey House Exclusive – American Oak Sherry Cask #2154, was aged in a first-fill American sherry butt, and is bottled at 61.8% ABV. Both of these exclusive whiskies are priced at S$249 (£137.70) for a 70cl sized bottle.

While we are ambling around Singapore Changi, it’s worth noting DFS Group has just opened a new liquor and tobacco store at the recently opened Terminal 4. The impressive 1,800 square feet shop features a cocktail bar, a craft collection area focused on craft beers and spirits, and happily for us, a Whiskey House shop in shop. It stocks over 100 different whiskies, which are displayed in one of four basic flavour profiles: Fruity and Elegant; Smokey and Intense; and Rich and Rounded.

To get a full rundown of the whiskies stocked in this new store and across Singapore Changi’s other three terminals where DFS also has shops, take a look at the airport’s excellent online pre-order shopping site: www.ishopchangi.com.


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Tullamore D.E.W.

XO Caribbean Rum Cask Finish

The Irish whiskey offer in the typical airport shop continues to be far more limited than that of Scotch whisky, but thanks to innovation from well-known brands and the welcome entrance of new players, that is slowly changing.

A case in point is the new Tullamore D.E.W XO Caribbean Rum Cask Finish whiskey, which was recently released into duty-free by William Grant & Sons. Priced at about $29.99 (£22.40), this new moreish, well-balanced 43% ABV whiskey is finished in ex-Demerara rum casks. It offers plenty of vanilla notes on the nose and banana; dates and caramel on the palate, and a long, sweet finish.

This easy-drinking whiskey comes in a neat gift box inspired by antique Caribbean trade maps, passport stamps and travel journals. It would make a great gift for any Irish whiskey lover wanting to try something a little different.


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Royal Salute

Regent’s Banquet Festive Gift Pack

George Augustus Frederick, Prince of Wales and later King George IV, wasn’t known for his frugality. A renowned gourmand, he once threw a lavish banquet at the Royal Pavilion in Brighton that consisted of 120 exotic dishes prepared by the famous French chef Antonin Carême.

That famous feast of 1817 is the inspiration for a new limited edition, intricately decorated festive gift Royal Salute gift pack, which was created by wallpaper designer Angela Groundwater. In addition to a full-size blue and gold bottle of Royal Salute 21 Years Old, the pack also contains a miniature version of the blend, which is sure to enhance its appeal to collectors.

Royal Salute Regent’s Banquet Festive Gift Pack will be available at selected airport stores for a limited period only over the Christmas and New Year period priced at about £97 per bottle.
Tullamore D.E.W., XO Caribbean Rum Cask Finish
Tullamore D.E.W., XO Caribbean Rum Cask Finish
Royal Salute, Regent's Banquet Festive Gift Pack
Royal Salute, Regent's Banquet Festive Gift Pack