Travel Retail only…
You know the feeling: A new exciting expression is released by your favorite distillery, you read raving reviews, and tasting notes, press released etc.. then you look in the small print, and it say : “Travel Retail Only”.
More and more distilleries are releasing “special” expressions to be sold only at duty free shops which is very annoying. Most of us spend most of our times at home, we don’t travel to often, and we pay higher prices than those who do fly at duty free shops. Ok, we’re fine with that. But hey, i also want to be able to shop for those ultra cool releases and enjoy them, without the need to buy an airline ticket…
So why am i starting this debate now? Highland Park, one of my favorite distilleries (see here) is also one of the distilleries that tend to use that method a lot. Only recently we’ve all gotten an email from Gary Tosh their brand ambassador, telling us about their new range of “Vintage” expressions.
The whiskies are not available anywhere other than duty free – not even at the distillery – and will be priced as follows; 1998 Vintage €46 (1l), 1994 Vintage €65 (70cl), 1990 Vintage €99 (70cl) and 1973 Vintage €750 (70cl).
HP have long been selling their highly acclaimed 21 year old expression (the one that dropped in ABV) at travel retail only for some time now, and those additions just make it even more vexing.
Of course there are other cases when duty free shops are used as “beta” for testing new expressions (J.W double black) which is OK, as long as this goes on for a predefined time and then if successful released to the entire whisky market. One good example for this is the Glenmorangie Sonnalte PX : It has been selling at duty free for a few months, then after getting Raving reviews by whisky bloggers and critics (such as J.Murray in his Bible), it was released and widely available at whisky retailers throughout the world.
I sure hope that HP learns from Glenmorangie , and after a certain trial period releases those expressions so the rest of us who fly less frequently will be able to sip a wee dram of those wonderful whiskies. I am not aware of any intention by HP to release the 21 year old (stocks are low as it is) to be widely available (even in small quantities) but i sure do hope they will open their eyes, and let eveyone enjoy even if they do not intend to fly in the near future.
Let’s hope so…