Posts Tagged ‘Charter’

Fifty-Fifty-Fraud: Update

March 25, 2009

Last august I wrote about what I felt was fraudulent behavior from Thomas Cook Airlines – the sale of a vatted whisky made by Douglas Laing specially for Thomas Cook Airlines – The Fifty-Fity Malt Whisky, Laphroaig and Macallan (ie a vatted malt). This was mostly due to their own-made “Systembolaget prices”, which in all Scandinavian countries just happened to be 1000 kroner over TC’s price.

Had a bit of a doubt of the reality of this price and finally it’s been proven. As of April 1st this bottling will be made available in Sweden, through the state monopoly – Systembolaget. The price in Sweden, fully taxed, will be 649 SEK (£54.75/€59.35) – one whole Swedish krone less than Thomas Cook. But Thomas Cook still claims that the Systembolaget price is 1650 SEK – they’ve even got it written up as a “Special Offer”!

Still a bit steeply priced for a vatted malt though.


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.

Purchasing whisky in Norway, Part 2: Duty Free

August 3, 2008

As Norway is rather an expensive country when it comes to alcohol, the duty free-option is very popular. And since Norway isn’t part of the European Union (EU) one still can get alcoholic beverages absolutely tax free, just like in the good old days. This can cut cost drastically for Norwegians and visitors. This can be experienced by all visiting Norway, either by plane or ferry.

Most ferry-companies mostly survive on the sale of duty free-items (alcohol, tobacco, sweets and perfume). The ferries, that run between Norway and Denmark/Germany (the Norway-UK route is being cancelled later this year), have set aside huge areas for shopping. The whisky selection differs greatly between the ferry companies. DFDS tends to have both better selection and prices, while Stena Line and Color Line trails on both counts (though the Color Line route of Kiel-Oslo is better on both fields than all Denmark-Norway routes).

All Norwegian airports with direct flights abroad have a Duty Free (Tax Free) shop open both on arrival and departure. Only the shops on five of the biggest airports have a website. All carry the most known brands, but remember the smaller the airport (and number of passangers going abroad) the smaller the selection. (more…)