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Johnnie Walker House opens in Singapore

Diageo partners DFS group to launch first Johnnie Walker House in southeast Asia at Singapore Changi airport. 

Diageo Global Travel together with DFS Group have launched the Johnnie Walker House retail showcase within DFS Group’s new wines and spirits flagship store in the central atrium of the departures concourse at Singapore Changi Airport, Terminal 3.

The establishment of Johnnie Walker House Singapore marks the seventh addition to the expanding international network of whisky embassies.  This follows the success of existing flagships in Shanghai, Beijing, Seoul and Chengdu, as well as travel retail theatres in the airports of Taipei and Mumbai.  The milestone also celebrates the first Johnnie Walker House in Singapore and Southeast Asia.

“With global airport sales growing by more than 12% every year since 2009, and the strategic location of Singapore Changi Airport as a travel hub, Johnnie Walker House Singapore is set to be a game-changer for the luxury spirits segment,” says Doug Bagley, MD, Diageo Global Travel and Middle East. “We combine our revolutionary hospitality concept with our successful travel retail model – providing an enticing experience to modern luxury consumers during the ‘golden hour’ before they board.”

The design of Johnnie Walker House Singapore is inspired by the combination of two elements.  The first draws from the rich, progressive travel heritage of epic ocean voyages that took Johnnie Walker from the four corners of Scotland to the four corners of the world, making it the world’s first global brand.  The second is the evergreen custom in luxury retail of using trunk shows to provide tailored, exclusive experiences to valued clients.

“Our long partnership with Diageo has been instrumental in creating the ultimate destination for the best in wines, spirits and tobacco at Changi Airport. It is our shared vision to bring personalized and unique shopping experiences to the traveler. The Johnnie Walker House Singapore at DFS’s new wines & spirits flagship store represents these aspirations and we are delighted to unveil it today,” says Brooke Supernaw, senior VP global merchandising – spirits, wine, and tobacco. 

When travellers step into Johnnie Walker House Singapore, they are transported into a retail theatre of a larger-than-life luxury steamer trunk.  Designed and built by award-winning Singapore-based design agency Asylum, the highly tactile environment of leather, copper, marble, bronze, wood and steel finishing, brings to life the history, provenance and pioneering spirit of Johnnie Walker with:

  • a multi-sensory retail setting, complete with a signature scent ambience emitting the six flavour characteristics of Johnnie Walker Blue Label instantly transporting travellers to the Scottish Highlands;
  • exclusive “theatrical mentoring” sessions, which are immersions in the Johnnie Walker brand and product universe, through a combination of education and entertainment, and storytelling and trial, led by brand ambassadors;  
  • a tasting bar where clients can enjoy the pinnacle of whiskies from the Johnnie Walker Super Deluxe portfolio;
  • a ‘whisky constellation wall’ dedicated to the Johnie Walker heritage of the art of blending, and provides a comprehensive index for single malt Scotch whiskies; and
  • privileges extended to members of the Johnnie Walker House with the World of Privileges loyalty programme.

To commemorate the inauguration of the Johnnie Walker House Singapore, a limited edition of the Johnnie Walker Blue Label will be exclusively available at Singapore Changi Airport. The ivory-coloured ceramic bottle puduced by Wade features the landscape of Scotland and the skyline of Singapore in the brand’s hallmark Willow design.  The collectible was illustrated by Dawn Ng and pictorially depicts the historic journey of Johnnie Walker from Scotland to Singapore – from the time John Walker & Sons was established in 1820, in Kilmarnock, to 1885, when the Johnnie Walker whiskies had made their way to Singapore as one of the world’s first modern luxury icons. 

Pictured above: the limited edition Johnnie Walker Blue Label bottle with the brand’s hallmark Willow design exclusively available at Singapore Changi Airport. Below is the interior of the Johnnie Walker House at Chaigi Airport

Johnnie Walker Blue Label boutique opens in Taipei

A multi-sensory Johnnie Walker Blue Label boutique has opened in the Terminal 2 Departures Concourse of Taoyuan Airport, Taipei.

On first entering, travellers will experience the scents of honey and citrus fruits and brand ambassadors guide them through the flavours on a tasting journey of the whisky.

The story of the casks is told on a wall of oak barrels. These explain how the brand has the largest reserves of Scotch whisky in the world but only 1 in 10,000 of these casks drawn from the four corners of Scotland contain whiskies of sufficient character to produce the signature taste.

The craftsmanship is reflected on the second wall. It tells the story of the lineage of master blenders and how today’s master blender selects and blends.

A video animation at the centre of the installation describes how the whisky is produced in limited quantities and how it evokes the authentic, powerful character and flavour of a traditional 19th century blend - 1867 Old Highland Whisky.

Visitors can also take away a special memento of their travels – any bottle purchased in the adjacent travel retail unit can be engraved with a personal message, free of charge.

Fairbrother explains: “Our aim is to provide shoppers with an extraordinary retail experience – this beautiful, multi-sensory retail activation follows the success of similar pop-ups in the Charles de Gaulle Airport in Paris and Johannesburg International Airport in South Africa last year.

“This luxury boutique and the recent launch of our pioneering Johnnie Walker House in Taoyuan Airport is testament to our focus and commitment to innovation in travel retail in this region.”

The store officially opened for business in March and it will welcome global travellers in the Terminal 2 Departures until the end of June 2015.

22 May 2015 - Felicity Murray The Drinks Report, editor