A short haul, Longmorn finish to the travel year

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Martin Moodie
Martin Moodie is the Founder & Chairman of The Moodie Report.

I’m back in Hong Kong, my final Interim Bureau of the year – on CX750 from Suvarnabhumi Airport to Hong Kong International – now closed and with a nice shiny single red line RAT Day 1 test to confirm that my recent bout of COVID is also behind me.

This is as close as I have got to Hainan in three years

Inbound travellers still have to take a PCR test at Hong Kong International Airport (HKIA), and I am pleased to say that produced a clear negative as well. So, under the new rules, I just need to do five consecutive clear RAT tests and one day-two PCR and I’m a free man of Hong Kong again. No bars or restaurants for three days but that’s hardly an inconvenience, especially given the residual fatigue I am feeling from my first and hopefully last encounter with this damned virus.

HKIA maintains its dual rule as a medical clearance unit and an operating airport with marvellous efficiency. My heart sank as I saw the long queue in front of me waiting for their PCR tests but in fact I was inside my cubicle and being swabbed within less than 5 minutes. From there, it was just a matter of dropping off the sample, clearing immigration and finding my suitcase there to greet me on the arrivals carousel.

Interesting to see the Macau tourism authorities promoting the Special Administrative Region. Is an opening up in the wind?

It was nice to see the two duty free arrivals shops open – liquor and tobacco from Duty Zero by cdf and Beauty&You by The Shilla Duty Free. In Duty Zero by cdf’s case it was actually doing some very encouraging business. During my five-minute sojourn, I saw two bottles of Kweichow Moutai purchased and numerous single malt whiskies. Including, I am delighted to say, a bottle of Longmorn 18 Years Old Double Cask Matured Speyside, which I picked up for HK$820 (US$105) as a post-COVID elixir.

What a whisky this Pernod Ricard-owned gem, part of the Secret Speyside Collection – is. I’m sometimes wary of official tasting notes but I reckon they got them just right in this case. “Elegant and fruity on the nose with notes of sweet pear and mango followed by creamy toffee and orange marmalade. The palate is rewarded with soft fudge and ripe juicy pear. Incredibly smooth and long finish with a touchy of nutty oak.”

I’ve got the bottle open in front of me as I write – for nosing rather than tasting purposes, it is mid-afternoon, after all – and I’m picking up on those juicy pear notes in particular. With a decent dollop of water to bring out the flavours, it’s simply sensational.

The Duty Zero by cdf arrivals store is testament to the fact that you don’t have to be big to be beautiful. Besides all the mainstream Cognacs and blended whiskies – and these categories contain some surprises too – there’s a really eclectic offer across this compact store.

So that’s it on the travel front for 2022, an almost frantic schedule that caught up with me at the end. Time to give the nostrils a break from all that swabbing and put them to better use instead on my newly discovered secret from Speyside.

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