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DFS promised “an ensemble of significant fine, rare and extraordinary spirits, wines and Champagnes”. And boy, didn’t they just deliver…
Blogging in the early, still jet-lagged hours of the morning after the (extraordinary) night before, I’m still buzzing about what I experienced at Master of Spirits II at the Grand Hyatt in Singapore.
For any wines or spirits aficionado – and I have counted myself as one for virtually all my adult years on this planet – last night was akin to an early entry into paradise.
Whether it was Penfolds (the superlative, ultra rare Bin 620), Petrus or Pichon Longueville; Beychevelle, Balvenie or Bowmore, there was something at every turn to capture the imagination.
Sipping on a glass or two of Krug or Dom Pérignon (I know, your sympathy for my jet lag just vanished), I gazed at a bottle of The Macallan from 1956, my birth year (it had aged much better than me); was entranced by the sheer majesty of a century-old Chabot Armagnac; and took in the glory of National Salute by Luzhoulaojiao, a beautifully presented hallmark of China’s traditional distilling process. Every display was a talking point. There’s been nothing like it before in our industry, either conceptually or in product terms.
Dalmore Master Blender and Distiller Richard Paterson (below) showed The Dalmore 1926, a unique and magnificent product which, at S$300,000, ranked as the most expensive bottle on offer. There were scores of other ultra-premium items on display that made the wine & spirit lover’s heart race.
But while most, probably all, of this treasure chest of wines & spirits will be sold to DFS customers in coming weeks at sometimes extraordinary price points (many of the bottles already had ‘reserved’ signs), this is not just about money by any stretch of the imagination. What it is about is a redefining of luxury by a company that has seized that ground with astounding success in recent years across a range of categories from fine watches to fashion, leathergoods to writing instruments. Luxury of product, luxury of environment, luxury of philosophy.
And here’s the thing. It wasn’t just product that was on display last night. There was passion. The passion of the land from whence these products emanate; the passion of those who craft and produce them (some 27 ‘Brand Ambassadors’ were on hand); the passion of the DFS management and staff who sell them and champion them; the passion of Changi Airport Group who know and promote the point of difference such an approach bestows on their airport.
I’ll report more on Master of Spirits II in the days ahead – first I have a plane to Taipei to catch – but sometimes one’s first impressions are the keenest. For me, they’re quite simple. Through this great concept, DFS is taking wine & spirits retailing to a new, heady and altogether unprecedented level. It’s a great (and gutsy) initiative. Masterly, in fact.
[The Moodie Report Asia Bureau Chief Melody Ng with Johnnie Walker Blue Label Global Brand Ambassador Jonathan Driver]