Whisky Magazine Issue 116
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A report from the the duty free event of the year
In all the years I have been visiting the TFWA World Exhibition in Cannes I can't remember a busier show than this year's seaside shindig and from a malt whisky lover's perspective, it really was paradise. Uniquely for a drinks show, whisky distillers both big and small have to compete for buyers' attention with all manner of fragrance houses, confectionery companies and designer fashion brands. If I had a pound every time I heard someone write off travel-retail as a “shop window” rather than a proper sales channel, I could afford to retire early. It's worth remembering that at any one time there are three million people flying above our heads to various destinations around the planet. Among them are many enthusiastic malt whisky drinkers with plenty of cash to splash. In fact, travel-retail is now the second largest market for single malts worldwide and growing at a healthy clip of 10 per cent each year. The particularly high number of exclusive launches unveiled at this year's show underlines travel-retail's growing significance. Laphroaig, Glenfiddich, Bowmore and Highland Park all had exclusive ranges or expressions to showcase. Many of the whiskies on show in Cannes would certainly have dented the bank balance of all but the very wealthiest travellers. The most spectacular example was the latest instalment in the stunning The Macallan in Lalique Six Pillars Collection, which carries a hefty $25,000 price tag and is limited to just 400 decanters. The design of th...