Whisky Magazine Issue 103
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Joe Bates gets press ganged onto the Viking Line
A thud followed by a jolt wakes you with a start.
The drone of the ship's engines, the gentle sway to and fro and the noise of cracking sea ice have stopped. The ship has definitely docked, but nobody it appears is getting off.
Welcome to the curious phenomenon of the Viking Line Whisky Fair. Each year the Swedish ferry lays on a series of one day Baltic cruises for thousands of Scandinavian whisky enthusiasts.
They pile onboard to see and buy a wide range of malt whiskies, ranging in size from multinationals such as Diageo and Pernod to independents and local producers.
The calm Stockholm Archipelago with its hundreds of tiny, pine-covered islands is beautiful, but nobody of course is interested in the scenery. The whisky is the main draw along with the chance to attend 20 different masterclasses by top distillery managers and brand ambassadors such as Whyte & Mackay's Richard Paterson and Glenfiddich's Ian Millar. Yet the destination is important. By docking at the tax-free Aland Islands Viking Line can offer its guests whisky at duty-free prices and exhibitors can let passengers sample their products— something not possible at Sweden's many domestic whisky shows and festivals.
The Fair was the ideal opportunity for Beam Global and Maxxium Travel Retail to introduce an exclusive Laphroaig whisky for Viking Line customers. Limited to just 2,000 bottles, Laphroaig Brodir 13 Years Old.
Down on the Cinderella's massive car deck travel-retail managers got a rare chance t...