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Issue 130 - Sky High

Whisky Magazine Issue 130
September 2015


This article is 14 months old and some information provided may be time sensitive. Please check all details of events, tours, opening times and other information before travelling or making arrangements.

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Sky High

Buying whisky at 33,000 feet

Inflight shopping has long been something of a puzzle for me. This often disparaged retail business, constrained as it is by weight and space considerations, is still worth some £1.9 billion in sales a year. However, William Grant & Sons, the owner of Glenfiddich and The Balvenie, has recently decided to make inflight retail more of a priority. It's developed a range of miniature, multi-bottle gift packs especially for sale on airlines.

I decided to take a fresh look at some of the major airline's inflight shopping offers to see what they're currently offering in terms of whisky. A clear frontrunner is good old British Airways whose range of whiskies extends beyond the usual choice of standard blends to include mid-priced malts such as Isle of Jura 16 Years Old (£42), Glenfarclas 21 Years Old (£65), Aberfeldy 12 Years Old (£33) and Talisker Skye (£39).

In contrast, the offer onboard BA rival Virgin Atlantic is more limited. It focuses on popular blends such as The Famous Grouse (£13), Johnnie Walker Black Label (£26) and a personal favourite of mine, the well balanced Chivas Regal 18 Years Old (£48). Disappointingly, Virgin carries just one single malt on board: the omnipresent Glenfiddich 12 Years Old at £27.

Will any of this make you forsake your favourite airport shop in favour of inflight duty free? Unlikely, I am sure but perhaps the next time you're stuck for a gift or would like to relax with a dram why not pick up the inflight duty free catalogue. You migh...

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