Travel Retail

Melbourne finds room for Scotch

Joe Bates travels down under to check out what's on offer
By Joe Bates
You will be hard-pressed to find a more patriotic nation than Australia so it is perhaps no surprise that Melbourne airport’s recently refurbished F1RST duty-free shop bangs the drum loudly for that most famous of Aussie tipples, Bundaberg rum.

The newly expanded departures shop features a whole branded display unit dedicated to the brand along with numerous
‘Bundy’ accessories such as T-shirts and baseball caps.Thankfully, however, there is still floor space enough to house a decent Scotch whisky offer.

Prices are claimed to be up to 60 per cent cheaper than the Australian domestic market. Overseas travellers are also likely to make some excellent savings thanks the shop owner’s policy of guaranteeing prices will be lower than at Singapore, Hong Kong, Bangkok, Dubai, Auckland and Heathrow airports.

The allowance for inbound passengers is large by international standards at over 2 litres per passenger and makes shopping in the airport’s arrivals store an attractive option.You can pre-order at www.f1rstdutyfree.com.au and collect your purchase when you arrive.

The standard Scotch and bourbon categories are particularly well represented —examples include Jim Beam White at A$28.99, Ballantine’s Finest also at A$28.99 (£12.90),The Famous Grouse at $27.99 (£12.45) and Wild Turkey at $29.99 (£13.33). Look out for regular ‘two for A$47’ deals on these and other standard brands.

In the premium and deluxe blended categories highlights include the likes of Johnnie Walker Blue Label (A$175/£78) and Ballantine’s 30 Years Old (A$410/£182).There is also a new collectors’ area for high-end malts, which features sought-after drams such as Glenfiddich 30 and 40 Years Old, as well as the rare The Macallan 40 Years Old Sherry Oak.

A final word of warning — if you are flying from Melbourne and transiting in the European Union, check with shop staff before you buy. New security legislation on liquids might mean your purchase will be confiscated – the last thing you want when you’ve shelled out on an expensive whisky.


BEST BUY
Highland Park

21 Year Old

With duty-free malt whisky sales booming worldwide, last month’s TFWA World Exhibition in Cannes, the industry’s largest annual get-together, saw several new exclusive releases.

The highest profile launch came from the serial award-winning Highland Park in the shape of a new 21 Years Old reference.The whisky will be a permanent addition to the Highland Park range and has already picked up airport listing with World Duty Free in the UK and across Asia and the US with DFS Group.

Priced at about £55, Highland Park 21 Years Old features the whisky’s pleasing mix of peat smoke and heather honey sweetness on the palate, but there is also plenty of toffee, fudge and chocolate from its maturation in American oak.


RECOMMENDED
The Glenrothes

25 Year Old

The Glenrothes has been at the forefront of innovative whisky packaging in recent years and this new, top-end, travel-retail exclusive is no exception.

The limited-edition Glenrothes 25 Years Old is packaged in an open copper and oak frame, which pays homage to the key process of distillation and maturation which makes whisky what it is.

It is an attractive presentation and would make for a great gift, but quantities are limited to only 2,400 bottles.
Expect to find this new whisky in leading duty-free stores worldwide at a price of about £180 per bottle.