Travel Retail

Singapore Spirit

DFS stages luxury spirits extravaganza at Singapore airport
If you want to know the upmarket direction the duty-free liquor business in Asia is headed, then the invitation-only Master of Spirits event held by duty-free retailer DFS at Singapore Changi airport in March gives you a good idea.
The lavish gala event at the Changi’s elite Jet Quay CIP Terminal brought together well-heeled wine and spirit connoisseurs and collectors from all over the world to bid for a stunning array of rare and limited-edition Scotch whiskies, Cognacs, Champagnes and wines.

The level of interest and involvement by suppliers in the event is no surprise.

The growth of Mainland Chinese travellers venturing abroad, the strong economic growth throughout Asia, alongside a strong gift-giving culture and rising social aspirations, make Asian duty-free the place for the premium spirits industry to be seen.

Participating companies held a series of private dinners before the auction itself, where guests got the chance to mingle with top brand ambassadors and master distillers. Leading lights from the Scotch whisky industry attending the event included The Dalmore master blender and distiller Richard Paterson, Glenfiddich malt master Brian Kinsman, Johnnie Walker Blue Label brand ambassador Jonathan Driver, and The Macallan’s director for fine & rare malt whiskies David Cox.

The whiskies themselves included two bottles of The Macallan Lalique 55 Years Old presented in a limited-edition Lalique crystal decanter; Highland Park 50 Years Old, the oldest whisky ever released by the Orcadian distillery, Glenfiddich 50 Years Old, and two bottles The Balvenie 40 Years Old, which is made from just seven casks.

For those punters parting with their cash, once-in-a-lifetime VIP packages were on offer from some of the suppliers.

As unashamedly elitist as the Master of Spirits event undoubtedly was, at least some money was raised for a good cause.

The last bottle of Royal Salute 50 Years Old was put up for silent auction and an anonymous bidder bought it for S$35,000 (£17,230). The proceeds went to DFS’ charity, the Smile Train.

Red Stag

by Jim Beam

Not one for the bourbon purists granted, but the new black cherry-infused Red Stag by Jim Beam is a brave attempt to win new consumers over to the bourbon cause. It is coming to a European airport store near you this summer.

Red Stag has certainly been a hit over in the States where it was first launched last year, selling more than 200,000 cases in the first 12 months alone.

Beam Global hopes to repeat the same trick over in Europe and a big marketing campaign is about to commence to support the product’s launch.
Red Stag is certainly sweet enough to win over younger drinkers, who will probably enjoy it as a shot, but there is enough bourbon to make a pleasing Manhattan.

Royal Salute

62 Gun Salute

The new pinnacle of the Royal Salute range has been gaining limited duty-free distribution at major hubs such as Seoul Incheon, Paris Charles de Gaulle and Dubai International over the first quarter of 2011. Made with whiskies aged for a minimum of 40 years, this permanent addition to the range does not come cheap even in duty-free where you can expect to pay around $2,200 (£1,340) for a bottle.