Times have changed—these days the goods in the ferrys’ shops have to be set at French duty-paid prices so P&O’s profit margins are much smaller, but for the punter savings can be as much as 30 per cent over the United Kingdom domestic market. The onboard whisky offer is pretty good too, running to nearly 40 different lines, more than 50 per cent of them malts.
The top five sellers on P&O’s most popular Dover-Calais route reflect the tastes of the British day-trippers, who make up the majority of passengers— The Famous Grouse, Bell’s, Teachers, Jameson and Whyte & Mackay respectively.
Highlights from the current onboard malt selection include 70cl cask strength bottles of Auchroisk 1974 28 Year Old and Blair Athol 1975 27 Year Old both priced at £69.99. Other cask-strength offerings include Brora 1982 20 Year Old at £64.99 and Convalmore 1978 24 Year Old at £57.99.
The only top-end blend stocked is Johnnie Walker Blue Label, which is priced at £105 for 70cl.
There are plenty of multi-buy offers running this autumn, including ‘Buy 2 Save£10’ offers on Glenmorangie Cellar 13, The Macallan Elegancia and The Dalmore Black Isle, which normally retail for £28.99, £27.49 and £25.99. Also look out for ‘Buy 2 for £30’ deals on Chivas Regal (£19.99) and Jim Beam (£15.99).
The onboard shops of the five ships on the Dover-Calais route open 20 minutes after departure and 20 minutes before arrival. As its duty-paid in theory you can buy as much as you like as long you can persuade Customs it is for personal use— 10 litres per customer is considered the limit.
10 Year Old
When Pat Brogan launched his own Irish cream liqueur back in 1998, few thought he had any chance of success given the worldwide popularity of Baileys. Eight years later, however, Brogan’s Original Cream Liqueur is nearly selling 100,000 cases a year and is sold in markets as far apart as Latin America and Russia.
Flushed by this success PG Brogan & Company is now launching Brogan’s Legacy 10 Year Old Irish single malt whiskey, which it says has long been the spirits base of its cream liqueur. The whiskey is triple-distilled and matured in a mix of American oak bourbon barrels and Spanish sherry oak casks. The taste is satisfying, combining sweet vanilla with a hint of spiciness.
The Singleton of Dufftown
Diageo may be the biggest spirits company in the world but it sorely lacks a big single malt whisky to rival the likes of Glenfiddich, Glenmorangie and The Macallan. Nevertheless, the multi-national is determined to recruit new malt drinkers and has launched a new entry-level whisky from its Dufftown distillery.
Initially the Singleton of Dufftown will only be available in UK duty-free shops. Priced at a reasonable £24.99, this whisky is a bit different from the traditional Dufftown style in being matured in a higher proportion of European oak casks. Developed specifically not to alarm whisky is rounded and well balanced.
It is presented handsomely too in a nineteenth century-style blue glass flask and packaged in a manila-coloured bag, which features an old photograph of the Speyside distillery.