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Issue 82 - Reaching the top

Whisky Magazine Issue 82
September 2009


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Reaching the top

Top ranking Dubai takes whisky offers upmarket,Joe Bates finds out why.

It's official. Dubai Duty Free is now the biggest duty-free airport retailer in the world.

According to the latest industry rankings, the UAE-based shop owner has ousted the credit crunch-hit stores of London Heathrow and Seoul Incheon airports to grab the top spot with sales last year of $1.1bn (£67m).

And here is another surprise for an airport based in a Muslim country. The army of foreign workers, which keeps this city state growing, has propelled liquor to become the airport's biggestselling product category, ahead of fragrance and cosmetics. It is not all volume and mass-market brands either as the recent opening of two luxury fine wine and spirit stores in Dubai airport's new Terminal 3 shows.

Called Le Clos and located in the terminal's first class lounge and departure concourse, the new shops are run by Dubai's biggest alcohol distributor. Along with a superb array of fine wines, luxury cognacs and super-premium rums, the selection of malt whiskies is absolutely top-notch with plenty of rare drams to interest the serious collector.

Our pick of the bunch includes The Glenlivet 1969 ($1,306/£794), The Macallan 1952 (a single cask bottled in 2002 and priced at $6,111/£3,714), and The Macallan Lalique 55 Years Old (a snip at $13,889/£8,442).

And for once Scotch whisky doesn't completely dominate proceedings. Japanese whisky gets a decent look in with the awardwinning Yamazaki 18 Years Old making an appearance priced at $131 (£80), and the peaty, fullbodied Yoic...

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