Posts Tagged ‘Duty Free’

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.


News from Norwegian Duty Free

March 24, 2009

For some reason or another the main Norwegian Duty Free stores have chosen April as the month for “change”. So in the weeks leading up to the magical date shelves will begin to empty and brands will disappear from one day to the next – all to make room for the new additions.

This is also the date when prices change, even thought there was a bit of a price jump just before Christmas (explained with the strong Euro), but no decrease for Scottish whiskies – despite the weak Pound. According to my information a couple of whiskies will increase a couple of NOK’s, a couple will decrease a bit while most stay the same as they are today.

On to the disappearing and new malts:


Where have all the ‘Fiddich’s gone?

January 31, 2009

Recent travels abroad have made me wonder why products from Wm. Grant & Sons aren’t available anymore. A couple of enquiries and talking to the sales people in the store revealed the story behind the removal of Glenfiddich, Balvenie and Grant’s from Norwegian Duty Free stores.


Laphroaig Triple Wood

December 28, 2008

laphroaig_triple_woodwvAs previously said the Laphroaig Triple Wood would make it’s entry on the Duty-Free market this autum/winter. 200 bottles is rumored to be sold to Friends of Laphroaig before the official release, but I haven’t seen them materialize yet.

The 1-litre Duty-Free edition (48% abv.) will cost €65 (£61.22), which I personally find a bit steep for a sherry-finished edition of the Quarter Cask. The QC is 399 NOK (£38.37) and a 60% premium for a cask finish is just a tad over the top. Glenmo’s Sherry-finish carry a 20-25% premium.

Will need to try it before I buy it at that price.

ardmore_25wvBtw. Beam Global’s previously stated release of Ardmore 25yo was showcased in October and should be popping up in major Duty Free-outlets – at a whooping €249 (£234.50), almost twice the price of Highland Park 25yo in Norway.

Two new oldies

October 23, 2008

Distillers all over Scotland seem to have recently discovered old stock in their warehouses. Two distillers, Auchentoshan and Balblair, are in these days each releasing their own 1965 vintage malt.


Duty Free News: Glenrothes

September 12, 2008

Next month (27-31 October) is the time for the annual Tax Free World Association (TFWA) World Exhibition in Cannes, France. Most distillers and bottlers tend to present new bottlings and expressions at this event. In the time leading up to the Exhibition press releases and “leaks” tend to trickle out through various sources. One of the first distillers to release a preview of things to come is Glenrothes Distillery (Edrington)


Price gouging extraordinaire

September 2, 2008

Diageo Norway sent a bombshell into whisky circles when the newest price list for Vinmonopolet was released. Two malts in particular stood out like a sore thumb: Talisker 18 Years Old and Caol Ila 18 Years Old.

Previousy they had a price tag of just under 500 NOK (T18=499,99 NOK/£50.62 and CI18=484 NOK/£49), both quite reasonably priced, even when comparing to other markets. But when September came a shock was to come…


A Spanish Grouse

August 15, 2008

The Trust-owned Edrington Group (through Maxxium Global Travel Retail) and the german family-owned Travel Retail-operator Gebr. Heinemann has put out a new exclusive for Airports – The Famous Grouse Spanish Oak.

The whisky starts life as a standard Famous Grouse, but is exposed in a greater degree to fresh ex-sherry casks, giving it a sweeter and richer flavour. It’s bottled in 50cl glass bottles. So if you like the Famous Grouse, this’ll be a nice experience.

It will only be available at airport stores run by Gebr. Heinemann for a RRP of €16 (the price in Norway is 129 NOK). Heinemann have stores at the following airports: Ankara, Antalya, Bergen, Berlin-Tegel, Berlin-Schoenefeld, Bourgas, Bratislava, Bucharest, Budapest, Cape Town, Dalaman, Dortmund, Dresden, Duesseldorf, Durban, Erfurt, Frankfurt, Frankfurt-Hahn, Graz, Hamburg, Hannover, Istanbul, Izmir, Johannesburg, Koeln, Copenhagen, Kristiansand, Leipzig/Halle, Linz, Ljubljana, Maribor, Moscow Domodedovo, Oslo Gardermoen, Podgorica, Portoroz, Saarbruecken, Salzburg, Stavanger, Tallinn, Tirana, Tivat, Tripoli, Trondheim, Varna, Vilnius, Vienna and Warsaw.

Tasting note:

• Appearance: Deep russet, clear and bright
• Aroma: Ripe strawberries, orange peel, prunes and fruit cake
• Palate: Sweet, black cherries, humbugs and dark chocolate
• Aftertaste: Long, rich and sweet

Sail away – with whisky

August 14, 2008

Alas this offer is not directed at us Norwegian, but our neighbouring Swedes. While the ferries travelling to and from Norway tend to offer theme-cruises like Afterski, Eurovision Song Contest, 90s, Swedish, Northern-Norwegian and the like, our Swedish friends (and anybody popping over) can enjoy whisky cruises.


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.