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Issue 130 - Sky High

Whisky Magazine Issue 130
September 2015


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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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