The top 10 best value for money travel retail spirits
The travel retail sector provides unparalleled opportunities for spirits producers to offer travellers something new and distinctive – SB presents the best value for money expressions in the channel.
The Spirits Business held its annual Travel Retail Masters last month, where an experienced panel of judges recognised the best bottlings in the business.
Looking across multiple categories, from vodka to gin, Scotch whisky to Cognac, a wide range of spirits were awarded the top accolades of Master and Gold medals for their quality.
The individual scores of each entrant have not been revealed, however these are 10 of the highest rated medalists in the competition, in no particular order.
While some expressions are not standard priced, our judges have given each brand listed here the seal of approval for offering excellent quality within their respective price categories.
Click through to the following pages to view the top 10 best value for money travel retail spirits of 2017.
Nicholas Culpeper London Dry Gin
Scoring the first Master medal of the competition was Nicholas Cuppeper London Dry Gin from TRG Concessions. It was praised for its “lovely, sweet nose” and notes of “orange peel, cumin and lots of savoury spice”. One judge noted that it was full of “warming spices that remind me of Christmas”, and another praised its complexity and said: “The length went on forever. You have the sensations of tamarind and cardamom. I think it’s a wonderful gin.”
Dewar’s 25 Year Old
The Blended Scotch Whisky category saw Dewar’s 25 Year Old secure a Master medal, which blew the judges away with its “dried fruits, earthy spices and slightly delicate peat”. One judge announced: “Any blended Scotch should look at this as the benchmark.” High praise, indeed.
The Vodka – Travel Retail Exclusive category saw OPM Vodka secure a Gold medal for its “spicy lemon tart” flavour that gave way to a “hint of chilli”. Reflecting on the flavours of vodka, the panel noted that expressions needed to stand out in a crowded category. One said: “With travel retail, you want to see something a little different. I either want something really smooth and well-rounded or something really different.”
Tomintoul 1976 Vintage Speyside Glenlivet Single Malt
Offerings of Scotch were well-received this year, and in the Scotch Whisky – Single Malt category, a Master medal was handed easily to Tomintoul 1976 Vintage Speyside Glenlivet Single Malt. While tasting, one judge said it possessed: “great acidity, freshness and texture.”
Listoke 1777 Irish Small Batch Gin
While one judge said of the gin category: “I would be looking for an extreme style, and something exciting to bring home”, there was still enough love for classic gins that ensured a Master medal for Listoke 1777 Irish Small Batch Gin. The judges deemed it a “classic gin that wouldn’t disappoint.”
Corralejo Los Arango Reposado
Price: approx £30.50
In the category of Tequila Reposado – Travel Retail Exclusive, there was a Master medal to be had for Corralego Los Arango Reposado. It impressed the panel with its “lovely level of spice and oakiness”. One observed: “You know it’s Tequila, but it takes it to a new opulent level – it’s luxurious.”
Jimsher from Saperavi Casks
In the World Whisky flight, Jimsher from Saperavi Casks received a gold medal for its “out of the ordinary” taste. One judge observed: “There’s been a funky cask used that’s given it a beautiful flavour.”
Courvoisier Spanish Sherry Cask
In the Cognac category, a Gold medal was awarded to Courvoisier Spanish Sherry Cask which judges said stood out for its “fantastic” nose and notes of “melon and parma ham”. This new blend marks the first occasion in which a major Cognac house has released a cask-finished expression, and it’s clearly been a wise move.
Chocolate liqueur brand Horus scooped a Master medal at the awards. Judges said of the Fraternity Spirits-owned brand that they enjoyed its “rich and thick mouthfeel” and “chocolate souffle” flavours. One judge said: “It’s well integrated and you’ve got freshness and acidity.”
Craigellachie 33 Year Old
Another Master-winning single malt Scotch whisky was the Craigellachie 33 Years Old which impressed the judges with its “lovely waxy quality and orchard fruits flavour with spice and nutmeg”. The balance was deemed to be “fantastic”.