May 8, 2011 12:16:14 am
The endless rows of mellow yellow whisky bottles lined up in a sober queue,the vodka and gin aisles reflecting a splash of shiny and smoky white,and the burst of green of the wine bottles flaunting their vintage on big yellow labels,the Delhi Duty Free Services (DDFS) at Terminal 3 of IGI airport seems like any other duty free area,till the jet lagged eyes catch a glimpse of something that is not present at any other duty free area in airports across India and even the subcontinent. This is the secluded area called Uisge Beatha (pronounced Ishka-Baha,a Scot-Gaelic word for water of life),where single malts from different regions of Scotland are showcased.
If you know your single malts,this could feel like mini heaven,with Laphroaig,Islay,Cardhu,Glenfiddich,Glenlivet,Talisker,Scapa,all vying for attention. We have over 155 single malts and this is the largest stock of premium Scotch whisky in Delhi, says Abhijit Das,head of marketing,DDFS,who points out that the frequent business traveller is their primary client. People who mostly buy these malts know what they want. It includes a lot of women travellers who pick up luxury whiskies, he says.
A huge oak cask,from the famous Scottish distillery,William Grant & Sons Ltd,stands proud on one end of Uisge Beatha. It comes with a tap. We got this from WG and use it for tastings, says Das,as he mentions a Jack Daniels and a Irish whiskey promotion organised in the recent past.
On the other side of the cask,under a glowing sign that reads luxury collection,each bottle is kept in its own casing of glass,like a diamond set on display. Here,along with the malt blends,expensive cognacs like Remy Louis XIII and Martell Lor find place in a silken box. The highlight is the rare single malt Auchentoshan 1957,that comes with a price tag of US $ 6,286. These are exclusive spirits, says Antonio Dias,a wine expert with DDFS. While the luxury collection is aimed at certain high-net-worth individuals,most of the clients want good value. Even for other regular brands of single malts,people go for a 18-year-old malt rather than a less expensive 12-year-old, he adds.
The luxury section also has an engraving machine,where you can get your name etched on a bottles label. If you wish to buy a classy cigar to go with the bottle,a small glass cubicle with a humidifier is stocked with popular Cuban cigars like Cohiba,Monte Cristo,Partagas,among others.
The mellow yellow goodness is now within reach for connoisseurs who have a passport and a boarding pass.
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