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Grant’s unveils 25 YO travel retail exclusive

Grant’s 25 Year Old celebrates over 110 years and five generations of the Grant’s family and their collective contribution to creating fine Scotch whisky 

Family-owned distiller William Grant & Sons has releasde an ultra premium 25 year old blended Scotch whisky, which will be exclusive to global travel retail from June 2010 until the end of 2011, when it will be available to select retailers and high-end establishments.

The launch of the 25 Year Old celebrates over 110 years and five generations of the Grant’s family and their collective contribution to creating the finest Scotch whisky.  A rare and patiently crafted blend, Grant’s 25 Year Old contains some of the world’s most highly-prized and distinctive malt and grain whiskies, including the first whisky ever laid down at Grant’s Girvan distillery and rare whiskies from distilleries no longer in existence. 

Each individually numbered batch will be married in oak tuns for six months for enhanced depth and complexity, producing an exceptional whisky full of warmth and character.

Grant’s 25 Year Old has been expertly blended by Brian Kinsman under the watchful eyes of master blender, David Stewart. It is the final Grant’s blend to be created by the pair before Brian Kinsman takes on the mantle of master blender this December, becoming only the sixth in Grant’s history.

Just over 2,000 bottles will be available exclusively in travel retail outlets in June 2010 at a recommended retail price of £145 per bottle.

June 2010, also marks 100 years since the pioneering journey taken by Charles Gordon, William Grant’s son-in-law who is credited with taking Grant’s to the world.  In November 1909, Charles set off on an epic year-long trip by steamer with a hold full of samples and travelled the world taking orders and opening markets everywhere he went. 

The packaging
Grant’s 25 Year Old is presented in a bespoke glass bottle designed to perfectly showcase the rich amber of the whisky. Encased within an individually hand finished cobalt blue presentation box adorned with champagne gold engraved metalwork, when opened the double doors of the presentation box reveal the bottle enveloped in luxurious silk.
This ultra premium blend combines the premium cues of modern masculine gifting, whilst maintaining reference to the heritage and credibility of the family distiller.

The embossed tree represents the contributions of many branches of the Grant’s family and reflects the time, care and craftsmanship that are the key ingredients of this fine and exceptional blend. The heavyweight glass, tactile emboss and deep base give a substantial feel in the hand and the finely engraved stopper proudly crowns what is Grant’s most prized whisky to date.

Peter Gordon, the fifth generation descendent of the distillery’s founder, William Grant and current company chairman commented:  “William Grant, our founder and my larger than life great-great-grandfather, was the man who began our whisky history. With family around him, he succeeded in building his first distillery by hand. Subsequent generations have been involved in creating some of the finest blends of their time. It is this sense of many branches of our family working in harmony to create the highest quality whiskies. This exceptional 25 year old blended Scotch whisky is our way of celebrating each family member’s contribution to the success of Grant’s whisky and our unique family history.”


William Grant at TFWA World Exhibition 2009

William Grant & Sons presence at TFWA World Exhibition in Cannes this year is a clear testament to the company's commitment and long heritage in taking risks, trialing new products and exclusives, without sacrificing quality

In 1909, Charles Gordon – son-in-law of William Grant, the celebrated founder of William Grant & Sons – set out to conquer the world with Grant’s Scotch Whisky.  It was no easy job, but thanks to his love of travel and passion for success, Grant’s was established as one of the world’s best loved Scotch whiskies by 1914, with distribution networks in 30 countries.

100 years later, the vision and love of all things travel related is as strong as ever, with the company now exporting to more than 180 countries.

Glenfiddich is now owned by the fifth generation of the Grant family. Along with the determination to continue to distil the ‘best dram in the valley’, Peter Grant Gordon, the great-great-grandson of William Grant and the current chairman, is still passionate about the company’s dedication and commitment to travel retail. He was in Cannes to present the company's latest offerings to this exclusive market sector

The popularity of Grant’s Family Reserve worldwide is undisputed and the whisky was recognized this year with an IWSC (International Wines & Spirits Challenge) Gold Medal. "With such an accolade, plus the historical importance of 2009, William Grant believes it’s time to raise the bar for Grant’s Whisky – and where better to preview a very special new liquid than at TFWA World Exhibition," says global travel retail director, Rita Greenwood. "Grant’s 25 Year Old, with an RRP of £145, celebrates the spirit of togetherness that has played such an important role within each generation of William Grant & Sons – a sense of many branches of a family working hand in hand through history to create whiskies of unrivalled quality and distinction that this special whisky honours."

Travel retail is the third largest market for Grant’s and a key channel to build the brand. Cannes also sees the introduction of Grant’s Distillery Edition. Exclusive to travel retail and presented in a gorgeous gift carton, this non chill-filtered blend creates a new entry-level premium niche for the brand with an RRP at just 5% above Family Reserve.

It’s no wonder that the company has appointed its first global brand ambassador: Ludovic Ducrocq. "Ludo’s role will be to promote the deeper, more meaningful experiences that Grant’s whiskies represent to audiences worldwide," says trade marketing manager Ian Taylor. "It’s a tribute to our  belief in the brand – the  fine quality of the liquid – that leads us towards a step change for Grant’s with new product development that puts greater emphasis on premium end variants."

Glenfiddich continues to re-affirm its place as the world’s finest premium single malt Scotch whisky. This year, the Glenfiddich 50 Year Old (The Drinks Report 0809) was unveiled - one of the rarest and most precious expressions of Single Malt whisky ever released by Scotland’s most distinguished distillery.

Just ten bottles of the Glenfiddich 50 Year Old have been made available to travel retail. The first bottle has already been sold at Paris Charles de Gaulle, while the remaining nine will be available in select markets from 1st November 2009.  Attention to detail has been paramount in creating this wonderful expression. 

Each bottle is decorated with Scottish silver, crafted by Thomas Fattorini, a sixth generation silversmith, and imprinted with William Grant’s own hallmark.  At 46.1% abv and carrying an RRP of £10,000 The Glenfiddich 50 Year Old will be given a special place in Cannes this year.

Alongside the Glenfiddich 50 Year Old, William Grant & Sons will be showcasing the new look Glenfiddich 40 Year Old and Glenfiddich 30 Year Old Single Malt whiskies.  Retailing at £1,550, just 600 bottles of the prestigious Glenfiddich 40 Year Old will be made available globally each year for both domestic and travel retail markets, while the newly packaged Glenfiddich 30 Year Old (£205 RRP in travel retail) will replace the current variant from the end of February 2010.

Glenfiddich is also launching a completely new whisky, a Glenfiddich 14 Year Old – which celebrates the pioneering nature of the brand.  This new product is still in development and so those attending the Cannes show had sneak preview.
During 2010 Glenfiddich will also release an Exclusive Travel Retail Vintage, which will be available to just one selected retail partner.  A shortlist of casks has already been chosen, with the RRP dependent on age and strength.
‘Glenfiddich continues to be a great success story for William Grant, achieving strong value growth over the past two years. Travel retail represents our most important market, contributing 17% of sales; to that end it is vital we pay the sector special attention and  grow from the leading position we enjoy within it,’ comments Rita Greenwood.

Additionally, the recent unveiling of new packaging for the iconic Glenfiddich 12, 15 and 18 Year Old Single Malt Scotch whiskies features a series of subtle finishing touches that reinforce Glenfiddich’s quality credentials and unique heritage. With a Glenfiddich Vintage Reserve2010 scheduled for September, 2010 is definitely going to be a year to remember for the ‘World’s Most Awarded’ Single Malt!

The Balvenie 
The past year has been dominated by the success of travel retail exclusive The Balvenie Golden Cask 14 Year Old plus the equally popular duty free version of 21 Year Old Portwood – the latter differentiated from the domestic markets with its higher 47.6%  abv and non chill-filtered production. Both clearly meet the travel retail passenger’s thirst for exclusives and explain why travel retail is the brand’s second largest market.  

Limited editions, too, remain highly sought after and next year will see the introduction of The Balvenie Madeira Cask, aged 17 Years, which again for travel retail will be available at a higher 48.2% abv and non-chill filtered, retailing at £70. ‘Sampling in travel retail remains an absolute priority for The Balvenie,’ says Ian Taylor. "With well trained, professional promotional staff, we see huge success for the brand; the recent Balvenie Wall in LHR T5 showed this – our most successful Balvenie promotion ever."


Henricks Gin
The focus for Hendrick’s in travel retail continues to centre on the sublimely abnormal in terms of show-stopping promotions, fun packaging and quirky theatre that is surprising and intelligently unusual.  

New fixtures were revealed in Cannes, centering on the new Hendrick’s Bath Tub (freshly arrived from her debut in Barcelona airport) along with the introduction of an exclusive travel retail gift pack containing a bottle of Hendrick’s gin and a fine bone-china teacup. "We see Hendrick’s as offering tremendous potential for development in travel retail,’ says Ian Taylor. ‘There is nothing standard about Hendrick’s; nothing ordinary.  Peculiarness is crucial to its very being and that’s what makes it so exciting for the airport environment. You’ll see a great deal more peculiarness over the coming year!"


Like his iconic tattoos, Norman ‘Sailor Jerry’ Collins (1911 – 1973) was one of a kind.  His deftly-crafted, boldly-lined designs became so popular and widely copied, that he took to printing ‘The Original Sailor Jerry’ on his business cards. Today the Sailor Jerry name lives on as a testament to his craft and unwavering standards. Sailor Jerry Spiced Rum is a no-nonsense, smooth Caribbean rum blended with natural spices and is initially available to US cruise-ships and Scandinavian duty free. Already selling over 500k cases since its launch to US domestic   in 2001, this is most definitely a brand for the future.

This year sees the introduction of new brands to selected travel retail markets. Monkey Shoulder, a contemporary triple malt Scotch whisky, is named in honour of the distillery maltmen who turned the barley by hand and used to suffer a temporary strain nicknamed ‘Monkey Shoulder’. Monkey Shoulder gives a modern, contemporary, expression to the heritage of William Grant’s whisky. It will initially be available in the UK.

Such activity in a downturn economy – William Grant is 100% convinced that it is the correct way forward. "It’s all about belief in the brands and belief in the market," says Rita Greenwood. "Market conditions have been difficult but – like our pioneering forefathers – we see the key to future success is to act bravely, think flexibly and remain creative, growing industry and consumer confidence in our brands."

What ties all these brands together is a strong conviction and faith in the future of travel retail and a way forward that is founded in investment; investment not just in product development (though that is crucial) but in the supporting  roles of  high profile activity, sampling and training.

"The coming year will see a far greater emphasis on these three elements for all William Grant’s brands," adds Greenwood.  High profile activity can range from simple fixtures with tastings, trained hostesses and a gwp, to major launches such as Glenfiddich 50 Year Old where we took over a complete shop unit at Paris CDG and invited local dignitaries and media. These events,  combined with a focus on the liquid through sampling, and ensuring total and complete product knowledge from those working with the brands, will form the key building blocks of our strategy moving forward.’

William Grant & Sons is an independent family-owned distiller founded by William Grant in 1886 and today still controlled by the fifth generation of his family.  The Company distils some of the world’s leading brands of Scotch whisky, including the Single Malt Glenfiddich, The Balvenie Single Malts and the blended Scotch, Grant’s, as well as selected other spirits, including Hendrick’s Gin.

Visit for more information on the company and its brands

1 October 2009 - Felicity Murray