Into the wilderness: Wildmoor gets liquid to lips with intimate GTR preview

By Luke Barras-hill |

L-R: WGS’ Ambre Morin, Advocacy, Events & Trade PR Manager, GTR; Ashvin Joshi, Global Brand Ambassador, GTR; and Gwilym Cooke, Head of Brand Marketing.

TRBusiness was on location at 1 Hotel Mayfair in central London today (29 April) for a special preview and tasting of two new global travel retail exclusive liquids from William Grant & Sons (WGS): Wildmoor 23yo Waking Forest and Wildmoor 30yo Tropical Coast.

WGS invited the trade press to learn more about the two expressions, which as reported form part of a seven-strong range of high-aged blended Scotch whiskies.

These take their inspiration from the rugged coastlines, wilderness and moorlands of Scotland.

The range has launched with Lotte Duty Free at Singapore Changi Airport Terminal 1 for a one-month period and is due to activate at other global locations, including with Avolta at Heathrow Airport and King Power in Bangkok in the coming months.

WGS Master Blender Brian Kinsman’s quest to discover the  ancient reserve of the Grant family has acted to produce a ‘Scottish whisky flavour map in a glass’, explained Joshi during a private nosing and tasting of the whiskies in the prestigious hotel’s Dover Yard Bar.

The Wildmoor GTR exclusive range of blended Scotch whiskies includes the 23yo Waking Forest and Wildmoor 30yo Tropical Coast, which draw on WGS’ expansive stock of aged Scotch.

Delving into the ancient reserve…

The 23yo is aged in American and European oak casks and finished in virgin oak and sherry casks, while the 30yo is finished in Caribbean rum casks.

Ashvin Joshi, Global Brand Ambassador, GTR at WGS said: “Having the ancient reserve… it’s allowed Brian Kinsman and his team to look at some really old stock to bring it all together in these expressions.

“Whenever there is something new, there’s nothing more exciting as a brand ambassador than when a new brand comes onto the shelf; it’s going to add footfall, but more importantly because of the way the brand has been designed and the story behind it… passengers are going to have a great experience.

“Underlying that is the brand ambassadors telling the stories of Brian Kinsman inspired by the Scottish landscape and the ancient reserve.”

Gwilym Cooke, Head of Brand Marketing, WGS said: “At the heart of everything we do is tasting; making sure we get liquid to lips.”

Cooke spoke about the resurgence of blended malts and the rise of ‘status whiskies’ – a space WGS is actively developing.

Asked about target consumers, Joshi said new entrants such as Wildmoor are designed to attract attention among passenger groups and naturally that will include the whisky enthusiast, collector or luxury consumer. However, he added: “Let’s not forget the key driver in global travel retail is gifting.”

That plays through in the novel design of the bottling, the glass surface of which features embossing and recessing in a nod to the wild topography of western Scotland.

Joshi adds that the positioning of the liquid also opens possibilities to attract other groups, such as cognac lovers, by accentuating the brand’s cask finishes and flavour profiles.

“It offers something a little bit different; it doesn’t have all of the traditional cues you might get from aged whisky,” observed Cooke.

“If you’re in for an aged whisky at these kind of prices, you tend not to be a new entrant primarily in the category, but looking for something a little bit different and I think we’ve got something here that offers something that is just a little less traditional in how it is positioned.”

Rufus Parkinson brings a depth of brand building expertise and global commercial acumen to his new role as Managing Director, Global Travel Retail.

WGS appoints new GTR MD

The latest from the WGS stable of brands comes as the independent family owned Scottish distiller and distributor names Rufus Parkinson as its new Managing Director – Global Travel Retail.

Parkinson relocated from Asia to join the group in June 2023 as Regional Director Global Travel Retail for Europe, the Americas, India and the Middle East.

As a fluent Mandarin speaker, Parkinson possesses extensive experience working with luxury consumer brands and within the FMCG and retail industries, with former posts at Moët Hennessy and Mars.

He is responsible for steering the group’s global travel retail team as it fortifies its presence within the premium spirits sector.

Parkinson said: “I am delighted to take on this key role and explore new ways in which to meet the evolving demands of travelling consumers – and our retail partners.

“The resurgence of the luxury spirits segment within global travel retail offers so many exciting opportunities, and we will continue to push the boundaries of innovation in order to deliver memorable brand experiences, drive footfall and uplift sales.”

WGS Chief Commercial Officer Doug Bagley added: “I am confident that Rufus’s experience will allow him to drive our GTR channel to ensure long-term sustainable value growth.”

READ MORE: William Grant & Sons rolls out selected Wildmoor expressions into key airports

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