Emirates has long been known for having some of the best first and business-class drinks menus in the business… But their latest collaboration with one of the most prestigious whiskey distilleries in North America is a bit of a game-changer.
In a move that’s sure to excite “slammertime” aficionados across the globe, Emirates has collaborated with Woodford Reserve on a unique limited-edition bourbon that will be exclusively served on select Emirates flights throughout July, the first time an airline has launched a personally selected private whiskey blend.
It’s called Woodford Reserve Emirates Personal Selection and it’ll be available for First Class and Business Class passengers to enjoy in the signature A380 Onboard Lounge on selected routes across Australia, New Zealand, Southeast Asia, the UK and the US.
Created by Emirates alongside Woodford Reserve Master Distiller Chris Morris, it’s an ultra-luxurious American whiskey with aromas of dried fruits, sweet honey, vanilla buttercream, and charred wood; a rich and rounded taste profile with cherry, chocolate, toffee and caramel flavours; and a smooth, creamy finish with a long, warm, satisfying tail.
WATCH the story behind the creation of Woodford Reserve Emirates Personal Selection below.
Personally, one of the highlights of flying in first or business class is the free alcohol, especially if there are decent whiskies available. Nothing makes you feel more like a don than sipping nice brown stuff at 35,000 feet.
For many well-heeled, whiskey-loving flyers, the opportunity to taste a rare and exclusive bourbon like this would be reason enough to fly with Emirates. It’s a genius move and one that’s demonstrative of Emirates’ commitment to in-flight luxury.
Of course, ‘travel retail’ exclusives – that is, whisky releases that can only be bought at airport duty-free stores – have long been a big part of the spirits business. But airline exclusives? That’s a newer concept and one that’s arguably more exciting. If first and business class tickets are supposed to be the pinnacle of exclusivity, what’s more exclusive than a rare whisk(e)y you can only drink if you’re flying up the pointy end of a particular airline?
Emirates has form where ultra-exclusive (and ultra-expensive) in-flight spirits are concerned. For years, Emirates has served Hennessy Paradis Imperial cognac in first class, which at $4,000 AUD a bottle is the most expensive bottle of liquor served on any airline in the world.
Other airlines that have offered first and business-class flyers exclusive whiskies include All Nippon Airways, which has long carried Hibiki 21 and other rare Japanese drops, and Qantas, which even offered Chivas Regal Ultis in first class for a short period in 2017.
Singapore Airlines has also previously offered an exclusive Johnnie Walker Blue Casks Edition that was only available via their in-flight retail store, but that’s not quite the same as serving it (although we guess one could’ve just popped the bottle open straight away after purchasing). But for the moment, Emirates is the only major airline with their very own whisk(e)y.
However, they won’t be forever. Back in 2019, British Airways teamed up with InchDairnie Distillery to create a limited edition Scotch whisky, which will be ready to be served on the airline’s flights in 2031 to mark BA’s centenary. Cheers to that.