Latest posts by Martin Moodie (see all)
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Talk about the perfect way to raise your average transaction value…
Meet Jenny Tan of DFS Group, who earlier this week sold a DFS-exclusive range of 28 vintages of Château Mouton Rothschild, the great First Growth Bordeaux, to a single passenger.
Expect Jenny to make many more spectacular sales. For that First Growth offer is just one component of an astounding range of luxury wines & spirits presented on the upper level of DFS’s stunning new duplex liquor & tobacco store at Changi Airport T3, which I visited earlier this week.
This store is quite simply an industry game changer, offering a radical yet refined new dimension in terms of how fine wines & spirits are presented (actually, I prefer the DFS term ‘curated’) in an airport retail environment.
In its press release earlier this month announcing the opening, DFS said the duplex store “redefines the airport shopping experience”. CEO Philippe Schaus noted: “We wanted to offer Singapore, the most renowned travel destination in South East Asia with the most modern airport, a wines & spirits store of a quality and richness unlike anywhere else in the world.”
Believe me, all the hype is justified. And then some. The interior of the store feels like a combination of a Michelin-star restaurant, a private club and a traditional cellar, all in one. It’s gorgeous, entrancing, thrilling.
The store was designed by Masamichi Katayama, a renowned interior designer and founder of the aptly named design firm Wonderwall. There is certainly plenty of wonder here, from the double-height atrium measuring eight metres high, to the dramatic centrepiece (below) above the tasting bar that lights up the whole store like a giant white toadstool. The double-decker wall of fine wines & spirits, housing 998 bottles, may just be the most impressive vista that I have seen in nearly 30 years of monitoring airport retail.
Upstairs there’s a Raffles Long Bar and a boutique area featuring nine wines & spirits brands. You’ll discover an extraordinary selection of rare vintages, malts, Cognacs and much besides, including a range of single casks obtained through a partnership with the Scotch Malt Whisky Society and an eclectic array of DFS exclusives.
There’s the travel trunk-themed Johnnie Walker House and a cellar and cask-inspired Glenfiddich boutique. If, like me, you adore great wines & spirits, you’ll be like an art lover given temporary possession of the Louvre.
There’s lots of surprises too. And quirks, none more so than the Hendrick’s gin zone (step forward the clearly clinically insane person who came up with this mad, wonderful zany notion). Inspired lunacy.
There’s more, much more, including what I consider to be one of the best tobacco areas in travel retail, a walk-in cigar humidor, and a ground-level tasting bar. There’s even a scanning machine (below) that allows shoppers to price compare their items with other Asia Pacific airports.
Changi Airport Group CEO Lee Seow Hiang praises the store’s “stunning façade and double-volume grandeur”, calling it a “design showpiece on its own”.
He is right on the money. Today I fly out of T2 to Thailand. But once I get to Changi I’m making a special trip over to T3, simply to experience this great store again, to take in its excellence, its ambition, its content, its design, and, hey, its sheer sense of wonder.