Scottish whisky supplier Whyte & Mackay has chosen World Duty Free Group’s outlets at London Heathrow International airport Terminal 5 as the launch location for its new high-end travel retail exclusive range from The Dalmore. As well as being a high-profile launch in its own right, the introduction marks an important new direction in the relationship between airport authority BAA and World Duty Free Group (WDFG).

The Constellation Collection features 21 whiskies created at The Dalmore’s highlands distillery between 1964 and 1992. WDFG will have exclusivity of the range – with bottles priced from £2,000 to £20,000, or £158,000 for the whole set – for the first four weeks.

The Dalmore Constellation Collection, featuring 21 variations from between 1964 and 1992, retailing from £2,000 to £20,000 a bottle – or £158,000 for the set

Unusually BAA was involved heavily in attracting the launch to Heathrow, working with the supplier and WDFG to provide extra promotional space and a unique venue for its launch, the Royal Suite, from where the British royal family and royals around the world depart from Heathrow.

BAA Retail Director for Heathrow Muriel Zingraff said The Constellation Collection is a perfect fit with the T5 retail ethos of surprise and delight, and is the first in a series of high profile exclusives at the airport.

Zingraff told The Moodie Report: “We are working more closely with WDFG to bring in exclusive launches to T5 and to the airport as a whole, not just in liquor but also in fragrances and cosmetics, for example. We want the brands that would usually launch in the UK in Selfridges or Harrods to know that Heathrow is where they should be launching, as this is where the truly international profile is. That is something we have not done before.”

BAA Heathrow Retail Director Muriel Zingraff watches The Dalmore Master Distiller Richard Paterson at the launch of The Constellation Collection at Heathrow’s Royal Suite

World Duty Free Group will present the collection prominently at its T5 outlets, with two sets of the full range on display – one at the bar area in the main liquor store. WDFG’s Heathrow T5 Store Manager John Taafe told The Moodie Report that the retailer’s highly personal customer service was an important factor in attracting such high-end exclusives.

He said: “Our sales team are very excited about the launch. We’ve brought in our specialist whisky sales staff from across the outlets. Many of them have contact books of collectors or enthusiasts and they will look forward to showing them The Constellation Collection on their next journey through the terminal.”

Whyte & Mackay CEO John Beard said that the company was in discussions with other retailers about where the collection would be sold after the exclusivity period. He added that further collections would follow, given the growing trend for investment-grade whiskies.

Beard said: “I view The Constellation Collection itself as a five-year project. Obviously the liquid used is rare, and I think next year there will be other variations within the range. I believe there has been some comment that high-end launches recently have become more about packaging, We have tried to avoid that here; the bottle is not the difference, we have really focused on the liquid.”

WDFG Global Head of Liquor & Tobacco David de Miguel added: “The approach to release and market a range which can grow year on year is inspired. We have a reputation for identifying and selling the finest whisky. We are therefore delighted to be an exclusive partner for this launch, which ensures we are able to give our valued customers first access to this magnificent range.”

The Constellation Collection was unveiled to trade press and whisky reviewers at the Royal Suite in Heathrow and the two complete collections – consisting of the first and eighth bottles from each year respectively – will be available in outlets from 2 May.

Whyte & Mackay plans to release around 20,000 bottles in the range in total; 4,000 each year.