The duty-free shopping experience at major Indian airports has come on in leaps and bounds over the past decade. Traditionally, frequent flyers from the Indian Subcontinent would prefer to buy their Scotch whisky overseas, especially at the big Gulf airports of the Middle East.
Times are changing, however. The opening up of the once state-owned Indian duty-free business to international retailers has raised retail standards. A wider range of whisky brands is now available at many stores at much cheaper prices than in the Indian domestic market. Factor in the undoubted convenience of arrivals shopping, and many Indian passengers are now more willing to buy in their local duty-free stores.
One of the standout airport shops in India is Mumbai Duty Free at Chhatrapati Shivaji International, the country's second busiest airport. Co-run by one of the world's largest travel retailers, DFS Group, Mumbai Duty Free has just opened a Luxe Boutique in the airport's new international Terminal 2 in partnership with Pernod Ricard.
The new store sells over 40 different high-end whiskies, wines and Champagnes. Given that this is India, blended Scotch whiskies such as Chivas Regal, Royal Salute and Ballantine's are the star attraction in the new outlet, but space has also been given to malts such as The Glenlivet, Aberlour, Scapa, Longmorn and Strathisla.
The centerpiece of the store is an illuminated, droplet-shaped whisky display, which doubles as an educational interactive zone for passengers. Thanks to RFID technology, customers can learn more about specific spirits by simply placing a bottle on interactive screens on display.
At $3,500 (£2,420) the most expensive whisky in the new Luxe Boutique is Chivas Regal The Icon, first unveiled at Dubai Duty Free last year and limited to just two bottles at Mumbai Duty Free. Mind you, these are no ordinary bottles: we're talking about a hand-blown crystal decanter decorated with finely crafted metalwork. As for the whisky itself, it's a rich, smooth blend of 20 rare whiskies from distilleries such as Strathisla, Longmorn and Glen Keith. On the palate it delivers rich notes of honey, vanilla and dark chocolate balanced by subtle hazelnut influences from the casks.
For a full run down of the whisky assortment at Mumbai Duty Free and the opportunity to pre-order your goods before you travel, check out the retailer's excellent website: https://mumbaidutyfree.net
. At press time the site was offering travellers a 10 per cent price discount for anyone pre-ordering wines and spirits for the first time. Now that's a deal that's hard to ignore. BEST BUY
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