Whisky Magazine Issue 117
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Our man takes to the high seas for check out the latest offerings
Is the infamous cross-Channel booze cruise still alive and kicking? On a gloomy rain-lashed December morning last year I decided to find out along with scores of other bargain-hungry Brits who were no doubt looking for a last-minute Christmas deal in one of those hypermarkets which keeps the good burghers of Calais in gainful employment. I was staying on board for the return trip as a guest of P&O, however, to tour the festive onboard retail offering. The Spirit of France is one of P&O's newest ships. Along with its sister vessel, The Spirit of Britain, it's also the largest ferry sailing on the Channel. Boasting an executive lounge, a brasserie and a large onboard shop it clearly tries to ape the look and feel of a modern airport and is world away from the tatty, overcrowded ferries I remember from yesteryear. Wines and spirits are tucked away in a corner of the store, a clear sign of the category's diminished importance since intra-EU duty-free ended all those years ago. Happily though the range of single-malt whiskies was pretty good. The range extends beyond the leading brands to some less well-known malts such as Glenkinchie, Tormore and Ardmore that you wouldn't necessarily expect to find in such a small range. My pick of this solid assortment would be the powerfully smoky travel-retail exclusive Talisker Dark Storm at £45.99. On tasting promotion on the day I travelled was The Macallan Select Oak, all vanilla and butterscotch, but once I'd managed to fight my way...