Keep walking

Keep walking

Johnnie Walker and Dufry release new Black Label expression

Travel | 07 Sep 2018 | Issue 154 | By Joe Bates

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If you are flying from either London Heathrow or Edinburgh airport this summer, it’ll be hard to miss a new multi-million-pound Johnnie Walker advertising campaign, which is running at both airports. Featuring some of Scotland’s most stunning mountain scenery and the whisky’s famous ‘Keep Walking’ slogan, the ads will appear on traditional billboards and on enormous digital towers in London Heathrow Terminals 2 and 5, as well as in British Airways lounges, the front cover of BA’s in-flight magazine, High Life, and on in-flight entertainment on all BA flights.

That Diageo is willing to spend such a large sum to secure such high-profile locations is a sign of how important duty-free has become for Johnnie Walker, which remains the top selling spirit in travel-retail, with annual sales of more than 2.4m cases. Keeping Johnnie Walker striding ahead of the rest is an ongoing challenge and developing a stream of new releases is an important reason why the whisky has retained its popularity.

The latest travel-retail exclusive to hit the shelves is the modestly priced Johnnie Walker Black Label Triple Cask Edition, which is just £28 for a one-litre bottle. Johnnie Walker master blender, Jim Beveridge and blender, Chris Clark have worked together to develop this new blend which pushes three single malts to the fore: Blair Athol, Cardhu and Strathmill. The new whisky’s triple maturation in Bourbon, Caribbean rum and Scotch whisky casks helps create a rich, sweet and spicy whisky with layers of ginger, vanilla, toffee, brown sugar and just a whiff of smoke.

Johnnie Walker master blender, Jim Beveridge and blender, Chris Clark have worked together to develop this new blend which pushes three single malts to the fore: Blair Athol, Cardhu and Strathmill

Johnnie Walker Black Label Triple Cask Edition is only available in the European stores of Swiss travel-retail giant Dufry, which runs all the World Duty Free and World of Whisky stores in the UK, as well as at a long list of European airports that includes Stockholm, Lisbon, Copenhagen, Madrid, Zurich, and Malta.

From a reasonably priced blend, we move to a single-cask Aultmore release chosen by Dewar’s master blender and malt master, Stephanie MacLeod for this year’s DFS Master of Spirits event in Singapore, but which is now available at selected Asian international airports. Aultmore 1986 is a 31 year old, mahogany-coloured single malt matured in a sherry cask and bottled at around 50% abv. On the nose and palate rich dried fruits and Christmas cake flavours and aromas predominate.

It transpires that Aultmore 1986 is just the first in a new Exceptional Cask Series from Dewar’s, which will see either small-batch or single-cask releases launching into duty-free from both Aberfeldy and Craigellachie distilleries in the near future. The whiskies will include the 24 Years Old Craigellachie 1992; the small-batch 17 Years Old Craigellachie 1999 finished in Palo Cortado sherry casks; a single-cask 33 Years Old Aberfeldy 1984, and finally, a small-batch 18 Years Old Aberfeldy 1999 finished in port pipes.

Meanwhile, Glenfiddich has recently opened a Glenfiddich Gallery at Le Clos’ main store in Terminal 3, Concourse A at Dubai airport. The new display area is located directly under a giant copy of one of Glenfiddich’s stills which has always been the main design feature of the store. The Gallery stocks six rare, single-cask Glenfiddich expressions priced between $653 and $2,222 (£490-£1,667), which travellers can personalise by choosing the packaging colour.

Among the sextet of whiskies is the straw-coloured Glenfiddich Gallery Cask 5101 – 1989 Refill Barrel, which offers signature grassy notes along with orchard fruits and oaky notes; Glenfiddich Gallery Cask 4980 – 1993 First Fill Bourbon Barrel Cask, which delivers vanilla, toffee and woody spice, and Glenfiddich Gallery Cask 10/3087 – 1993 Sherry Cask, which is rich, sweet and full of warming, woody spicy notes and demerara sugar.


10 Years Old Triple Distilled Single Malt

Now that Brown-Forman owns this Speyside distillery, expect BenRiach to have a more high-profile presence in duty-free. This new triple-distilled 10 year old release is a travel-retail exclusive expression, which was first unveiled at this year’s Spirit of Speyside Whisky Festival.

This naturally coloured 43% abv whisky is matured for 10 years in a combination of first-fill American Bourbon barrels and first-fill Pedro Ximenez (PX) sherry casks. The Bourbon barrels add vanilla sweetness and woody spice, while the PX cask impart depth and richness to what is ultimately a pleasing, well-balanced whisky.

Triple-distilled Scotch whiskies are still a rarity so BenRiach 10 Years Old Triple Distilled is a dram well worth tracking down on your travels. It will be available at selected airports worldwide.


Winter Storm

William Grant & Sons has released an unusual new cask-finished Glenfiddich whisky into duty-free, which forms part of the Speyside distillery’s Experimental Series of whiskies.

The new Glenfiddich Winter Storm is a 43% ABV 21 Years Old single malt whisky finished in French icewine casks, which were selected by malt master, Brian Kinsman on a trip to the Ontario-based winery of Peller Estates. The resulting spirit still retains Glenfiddich’s characteristic flavours of oak and candied sweets, but also features some intense tropical fruit and dessert wine notes imparted by the icewine casks. The finish is dry and sweet. Glenfiddich Winter Storm comes in a striking, white bottle and gift pack that features an attractive, frost-like pattern.
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