Singapore’s Changi Airport has made a daring entry into the rare wines and spirits market by making more than 200 of some of the world’s most premium wines and spirits available at tax-free and duty-free prices on a new online pop-up portal. Among the most valuable items, two are currently featured in a silent online auction, though no bids have been placed in the first three days.
Called the World of Wines and Spirits (WOWS), the temporary website is showcasing some internationally acclaimed and exclusive liquor products straddling Champagne, wine, single malt, sake and many more categories, all designed to appeal to collectors and connoisseurs.
The portal has been inaugurated by Changi Airport Group, the operator of Singapore Changi, in partnership with its wine and spirits concessionaire Lotte Duty Free, which has some strong relationships with high-end suppliers.
Lotte took on the concession at Singapore Changi during the peak of the Covid-19 pandemic. Rather than opening up with physical stores at a time when there were barely any passengers going through the airport, the South Korean retailer launched with an online presence. Two years later, Lotte is stepping up its profile in the e-commerce channel.
Will demand justify the luxury online pop-up?
Changi claims that the move to sell these collections online is “to satisfy strong demand from discerning customers.” An extensive 254-page WOWS catalog lists the big range of top-end products including the two that are the focal point of the auction, which still has seven days to run.
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The products are Hennessy’s Paradis x Lorencz Bäumer for which minimum bids start at 225,000 Singapore dollars ($158,250) and The Art Edition from Royal Salute kicking off at 135,000 ($94,950).
Bidding is meant to rise in increments of 1,000 Singapore dollars, but so far the threshold remains at the opening minimum. VIPs from the Changi Rewards loyalty scheme, from Lotte and other partners received invitations to the auction before it launched at midnight on October 14, but there have been no takers in three days. A scramble at the end is possible though there is also a risk that the items may not be sold.
To celebrate the NBA’s 75th anniversary, Hennessy teamed up with designer Lorenz Bäumer to create a new Hennessy Paradis magnum (1.75 liters) which has been realized as a crystal basketball to pay tribute to the basketball league.
Royal Salute’s The Art Edition is also a new collection celebrating the “shared wonder of art and whisky.” British sculptor Kate MccGwire worked on the inaugural edition which has 21 bespoke sculptures made from amber pheasant feathers. Each sculpture is paired with a rare 53-year-old whisky in a mouth-blown Dartington Crystal decanter in tribute to the year of Royal Salute’s inception: 1953, the same year as Queen Elizabeth II’s coronation.
Some other highlights of this high-end online pop-up extravaganza include Penfolds Super Blend 802-B Imperial 6-liter ($14,270); the Singleton 54-year-old ($40,000); Tales of the Macallan ($84,400); and Royal Salute’s seven-bottle The Platinum Jubilee Edition ($137,150). Shoppers can place orders until New Year’s Eve 2022.