Looking more like a fashion boutique than a traditional whisky store, the Irish Whiskey Collection’s shop-in-shop’s central feature is a striking black Tipperary crystal chandelier. Every whiskey stocked is accompanied by copious information, tasting notes and two prices – ‘duty-free’ for those travelling outside the European Union, and ‘duty-paid’ for anyone travelling within it.
Heidi Donelon, a 2010 Whisky Magazine Whisky Icon and celebrated creator of the Irish Whiskey Trail guide, has assisted Dublin Airport Authority (DAA) with the development of the concept, and has given master classes to the shop staff to improve their product knowledge.
The range of whiskeys stocked runs to 125 different lines. The four biggest producers – Pernod Ricard, Diageo, Cooley Distillery and Tullamore Dew (now of course under William Grant’s ownership) – have been given plenty of display space to showcase their main ranges, but DAA has also tracked some less widely available whiskeys such as Kellan’s, J.L. Sullivan, Coleraine, Danny Boy, Writers Tears, Slane Castle and Inisturkbeg.
There are also some exclusive lines such as Greenore 19 Years Old at €60 (£51) duty-free and €195 (£166.50) duty-paid from Cooley Distillery, the oldest bottling of a single grain Irish whiskey in the world. Also look out for Midleton 1991 from Pernod Ricard, bottled at cask strength and priced at €205 (£175) duty-free and €250 (£213.50) duty-paid. The Irish Whiskey Collection also features a full range of Midleton whiskeys dating from the year 1984 through to 2010.
There are plans for the Irish Whiskey Collection to have a dedicated page on the airport’s shopping site, www.theloop.ie.
Travel-retail has never given Irish whiskey the attention it deserved given its accelerating growth around the world, but hopefully the Irish Whiskey Collection should encourage more airports to stock more than three or four varieties.
19 Years Old
One of the stars at the Irish Whiskey Collection shop at Dublin airport, this release from the award-winning Cooley Distillery is the world’s oldest bottling of a single grain Irish whiskey.
Greenore 19 Years Old has been matured in bourbon casks, which gives this whiskey subtle vanilla tones and a refined oak dryness. Bottled at cask strength, it has a sweet corn flavour with hints of citrus and grapefruit, as well as a long, lingering finish.
Quantities are limited to only 300 bottles priced at €160 (£136) for those travellers heading to non-European Union (EU) destinations, and €195 (£165.75) for anyone travelling inside the EU.
XR 21 Years Old
Delhi Duty Free is fast gaining a reputation as one of India’s premier airport retail operations since opening its doors at Delhi airport’s Terminal 3 last summer.
Proof of its stature is that Diageo chose Delhi Duty Free as the launch pad for this one-off Johnnie Walker variant late last year.
Billed as a tribute to Alexander Walker, grandson of the brand’s founder John Walker, Johnnie Walker XR 21 Years Old was inspired by his handwritten notes and contains whiskies from silent distilleries. The palate is “smooth balance of honey, vanilla and sweet fruit.”
Johnnie Walker XR 21 Years Old is available in Delhi Duty Free priced at $105 (£67.40).