Archive for the ‘Vatted Malt’ Category

The Duty Free fraud

August 3, 2008

Writing the last entry about purchasing whisky Duty Free reminded me about a discussion that has been on several Scandinavian forums as of late.

The item in question is a bottling from Douglas Laing called Fifty-Fifty. It’s made exclusively for the charter airline Thomas Cook (probably also for the Scandinavian part). It’s simply a vatting of Macallan and Laphroaig. Both have probably matured on ex-bourbon casks.

Now the fraudulent part of the item is Thomas Cook’s presentation of the item. As this is an item purely made for the airline it’s hard to compare to domestic prices, but that doesn’t stop them. This item sells for 595 NOK/DKK or 650 SEK (£53.82-£62.43), depending on which country you’re flying to/from. But no matter where you’re flying from they claim that you can make a saving of 1000 kr compared to domestic prices – even though no domestic shop can sell this.

Even more fraudulent is it when one gets in touch with the company and they claim that the shop price is set in cooperation with the producer (the producer has no knowledge of this) or directs you to a retailer who hasn’t even heard of the product.

The whisky is bottled at 46%, just like Douglas Laing’s Provenance-series. But while Thomas Cook demands around £60 for a bottle, most Provenance-bottling retail for £30-£40. In addition they put forth the statement that this is a very rare bottling of very limited availabilty. They write that only 600 bottle have been made, as of yet.

The same company uses somewhat of the same tactics with the Macallan 1851 Inspiration-bottling. Claming a saving of 1000 kr even though no shop in Scandinavia sells it (it’s sold in by Weinquelle in Germany for €79). The price for Norwegian fliers is 645 NOK (or 595 DKK for Danes and 725 SEK for Swedes) which, more or less, is the same price as in Germany. In a comment the Norwegian importer of Macallan, Maxxium, says that if made available in Norway the bottling would cost just under 1000 NOK – not the 1645 NOK Thomas Cook claims it costs. But the Macallan 1851 Inspiration is available for international travellers at major Norwegian airports – for 635 NOK.