Johnnie Walker Explorers’ Club Debuts in travel retail

By Doug Newhouse |

Last month, Diageo unveiled the Johnnie Walker Explorer’s Club, describing it as its major new global marketing initiative and Diageo’s largest-ever travel retail TR investment.


The concept is said to be based on the spirit of the Travellers’ Room established by Alexander Walker at the company’s headquarters in the City of London in the 1890s. Close to the shipping houses and docks from which its agents journeyed the world, they gathered to exchange stories and learnings from their travels, in turn inspiring generations of master blenders.


The Johnnie Walker Explorer’s Club will see the Johnnie Walker and Johnnie Walker & Sons Blended Scotch Whiskies displayed in new high-visibility globe-shaped wall bays in travel retail outlets, as well as experiential pop-up clubs in selected leading airports that will be supported by advertising and activations.


The new initiative will fully differentiate the Johnnie Walker travel retail offering from its domestic offering by bringing to life the brand’s unparalleled links with exploration and travel, which saw it journey from a small shop in Scotland in 1820 to the four corners of the world.


In keeping with the style of the Travellers’ Room, where the agents brought back colourful stories and samples of teas and spices, consumers who visit the JOHNNIE WALKER EXPLORERS’ CLUB will be able to return from their travels with something they can’t find at home – the Johnnie Walker Explorer’s Clu, a range of completely new travel retail exclusive Blended Scotch Whiskies designed for travellers.



The first offering is Johnnie Walker the Spice Road Blended Scotch Whisky. This is described as an evocative expression of the spices, colours and fruits that the Johnnie Walker agents would have discovered in the thriving markets on their routes around Asia. The packaging around ‘the iconic square bottle’, its shape originally designed to reduce breakages as it travelled by ship, has taken similar cues, with a rich colour palette and embossed pattern reminiscent of decorative Asian panelling.


The Master Blender of Johnnie Walker Jim Beveridge commented: “We specially selected whiskies to create a bold blend of intriguing complexity inspired by the richness of this part of the world: there is a spicy zestiness on the nose balanced by fresh citrus. The smooth, rich and honeyed flavours on the palate, warmed by cloves, ginger and vanilla sweetness, give way to a smouldering finish of the Johnnie Walker smoke signature.”


Roland Abella, Managing Director of Diageo Global Travel and Middle East, said: “The creation of The JOHNNIE WALKER EXPLORERS’ CLUB COLLECTION and its unique collection of exclusive blends, signifies our commitment to our highly valued travel retail customers.


“Building on our travel heritage and spirit of adventure, we have created three variants in our first JOHNNIE WALKER EXPLORERS’ CLUB COLLECTION. The TRADE ROUTES SERIES – THE SPICE ROAD soon to be followed in 2013 with THE GOLD ROUTE and THE ROYAL ROUTE – is a celebration of global travel and of the travellers past and present and will only be available through travel retail.”


Steve White, Marketing Director of Diageo Global Travel and Middle East, said: “Travel is in the DNA of JOHNNIE WALKER and it is these credentials that we feel will resonate with today’s travellers who are undertaking bold journeys of their own. This travel heritage and pioneering spirit of adventure makes Johnnie Walker the perfect companion for today’s travellers.”


Johnnie Walker Spice Road will be available from the end of November in travel retail stores with a recommended retail selling price of $43/€36.90/£26.

Middle East

MEADFA Conference 2024 ‘heading to Abu Dhabi on 17-19 November’

This year’s Middle East & Africa Duty Free Association (MEADFA) Conference will take...


DFWC Q1 2024 KPI Monitor indicates rise in duty free impulse purchases

Impulse purchasing within global duty free is on the rise, according to the latest Duty Free...

Asia & Pacific

Avolta details “bold and ambitious” goals to grow its APAC business

With a number of key developments coming to fruition, including its operations at Wuhan Tianhe...

image description

In the Magazine

TRBusiness Magazine is free to access. Read the latest issue now.

E-mail this link to a friend