Travel Retail

Business traffic drives whisky business at Frankfurt

Joe Bates reports from one of Europe's largest airports
By Joe Bates
The size and quality of the whisky offered at a duty-free shop often depends on how many business travellers the airport serves. The more suits and laptops seen on the concourse, the better the range of malts on the shelf. It’s not surprising really, duty-free buyers have found that no other passenger group shows more interest in buying quality whisky.

A case in point is Frankfurt airport, Europe’s third largest international hub after London Heathrow and Paris Charles de Gaulle, where business travellers accounted for 54 per cent of the 53 million passengers, who used the airport last year. Whisky is sold in no fewer than 15 shops spread across the airport’s two terminals and the main Travel Value outlets stock a good range of more than 100 brands, including seven Irish whiskeys, eight bourbons and two Canadian whiskies.

For the single malt enthusiast, there are 58 varieties to choose from, including a number of high-end offerings such as Balvenie 30 Years Old (€380/£255), Glenmorangie Single Cask Vintage 1989 (€194/£130), The Macallan 1851 Inspiration (€79/£53), and Highland Park 30 Years Old (€195/£131). More affordable choices include Aberfeldy 12 Years Old (€36.50/£24.50), An Cnoc 12 Years Old (€28.50/£19.15), Bowmore Enigma 12 Years Old (€32/£21.50) and Glenfiddich Special Reserve (€27.50/£18.50).

As at most other duty-free stores blends top the sales rankings. The top five places are dominated by just two well-known brands, Johnnie Walker and Chivas Regal. However, there are some super-premium blends on sale too, including Ballantine’s 30 Years Old (€257/£173), Chivas Regal Royal Salute Hundred Cask Selection (€170/£114) and Johnnie Walker Blue Label (€133/£89.50).

Frankfurt airport duty-free concessionaire Gebr Heinemann has a good reputation for competitive prices so look out for regular price and gift-with-purchase promotions. Brands in the promotional spotlight this summer and early autumn include Johnnie Walker, Chivas Regal and Jack Daniel’s.

More information visit www.airportcity-frankfurt.com. Follow the links to duty-free and Travel Value.


BEST BUY
Ardmore

Traditional Cask

The signature malt behind the Teacher’s blend gets its turn in the spotlight thanks to new American owner, Beam Spirits. It is a lightly peated 46% ABV malt matured in ex-bourbon barrels and then finished in dinky quarter casks, a quirky production technique, which is said to add depth and complexity to the finished liquid.

The resulting whisky has plenty of creamy peatiness on the palate, but the maturation in American bourbon barrels also adds some pleasingly gentle vanilla tones.

There’s good news for frequent travellers as Ardmore Traditional Cask will be available exclusively in travel-retail until September when it will be released into markets such as the United Kingdom and United States.


RECOMMENDED
The Singleton of Glendullan


If you are travelling to the US this summer, you could do worse than search out this latest offering from Diageo. With its smooth, nicely balanced flavour profile and nineteenth century-style bottle.

The Singleton of Glendullan, the third offering in the Singleton range, has been matured for 12 years in American oak casks and then married whisky aged in European oak. It will initially be available in Miami, New York, Chicago, Newark and Houston airports, as well as in the states of New Jersey and Illinois. A wider US launch is planned, but why not track it down earlier at a substantially cheaper price point.