Travel Retail

Find whisky heaven on earth

Joe bates heads to Schiphol to see what's on offer
By Joe Bates
Amsterdam Schiphol is rapidly becoming one of Europe’s best airports to find rare, exclusive and highly collectible single-malt whiskies. Schiphol Airport Retail (SAR), the company running Schiphol’s duty-free liquor concession, has succeeded in pulling off a string of high-profile listings since the opening of its Finest Spirits & Cigars store in Lounge 3.

The selection, which encompasses Scotch whisky, Cognac, Champagne, fine wine and cigars, is unashamedly premium with no spirits stocked there priced under €25 (£19.60). The most famous malt whisky to have landed there so far is undoubtedly the single piece The Dalmore Brilliance Vintage 1926, which has already made headlines around the world.

The €250,000 (£196,300) whisky’s Art Deco-style decanter boasts a 1.83 carat, €40,000 (£31,400) diamond stopper and contains whiskies from three exceptionally rare casks dating back to 1868, 1878 and 1926. It still takes price of place at the front of the store, pulling in many Mainland Chinese travellers, who are increasingly driving sales of high-end spirits at the airport.

SAR has been working hard to follow up this exclusive listing with new rare malt whiskies aimed squarely at the collectors’ market. Confirmed ultra-premium Scotch whiskies set to go on sale at the Lounge 3 Finest Spirits & Cigars store during the rest of 2012 include expressions such as Glenfiddich 50 Years Old, The Balvenie 40 Years Old, Bowmore 1983 and Glen Grant 25 Years Old.

Other top-end whiskies at this whisky lover’s paradise include the rich, full-bodied Benriach 30 Years Old, which is bottled at a powerful 50% ABV (€215/£169), the delightful and very well reviewed Glenlivet Cellar Collection 1980 (€1,200/£942) and the majestic, beautifully balanced Highland Park 40 Years Old (€2,700/£2,120). Japanese whisky also has a good presence— look out for the stunning, award-laden Hibiki 30 Years Old at €760 (£597).

Whisky collectors and connoisseurs have long prized malt whiskies from long-closed distilleries. The Finest Spirits & Cigars store has a particularly good range of these whiskies, examples include the delicious grain whisky Caledonian 1965, bursting with vanilla and toffee at €370 (£290.55) and St Magdalene 1983 at €335 (£263), a great whisky from one of Scotland’s most famous Lowland distilleries and bottled in the very years it sadly closed its doors for good.

There are of course plenty of other whiskies of interest in the shop, but do remember to keep an eye on the time.

With a selection of drams this good, it would be all too easy to miss your flight!

Opening hours: Open 7 days a week, 1.5 hours before the first flight of the day, and 30 minutes before the departure of the last flight.


RECOMMENDED
Glen Garioch

Vintage 1997

Morrison Bowmore Distillers has done a superb job of crafting a duty-free exclusive range for its Auchentoshan brand. The company is now turning its attention to the smallest of its brands Glen Garioch, famously Scotland’s most easterly distillery.

Glen Garioch Vintage 1997 is a duty-free and travel-retail exclusive bound for airport shops across Europe and onboard some of Scandinavia’s largest ferry operators. Matured in a mixture of first-fill and second-fill bourbon barrels, this creamy whisky offers plenty of vanilla on the nose followed by ginger and cinnamon spice on the palate. The finish is unmistakably creamy and sweet.

Around 1,000 cases of Glen Garioch Vintage 1997 have been released priced at around £49.99 for a bottle.


BEST BUY
Glenfiddich

Millennium Vintage Limited Edition

As if anyone had forgotten Britain hosted the Olympics this year and William Grant & Sons celebrated the historic occasion with an exclusive Glenfiddich release, The Glenfiddich Millennium Vintage Limited Edition, which will be available exclusively at World Duty Free Group’s UK airport shops.

Priced accessibly at £39.99, this 12 year-old expression is fresh and fruity on the nose and with plenty of butterscotch, cream and subtle oaky notes on the palate.

The silver outer carton bears the year of bottling, 2012, loud and proud, making this whisky a great gift for someone.

World Duty Free has really got behind this release, running a competition on Heathrow’s Facebook page, where entrants can win a signed bottle by Glenfiddich malt master Brian Kinsman. Members of Heathrow’s WorldPoints loyalty scheme can also participate in an online competition to win a trip for two to the Glenfiddich distillery from the UK.