A world-class whiskey bar in an airport lounge? It seems obvious: very modern yet classic and almost Mad Men, something of the moment which taps into global enthusiasm for the dram.
It’s certainly something you’d expect to find at a major airport in the UK, the USA or perhaps Japan – but not at Zurich, northern hub for the buttoned-down Swiss and home ground of Swiss Airlines.
Yet nestled into a corner of the Swiss Senator Lounge at Zurich Airport’s Terminal E is the 28/10 Whisky Club.
“We actually had a hard time to convince everyone” recalls Swiss lounge exec Anna Brändli, reflecting on the airline's initial reaction to the idea.
A whisky bar “is not something very European, not from central Europe” she told Executive Traveller – bars for “wine, maybe beer and maybe grappa” are a better cultural fit.
“I’m not a whisky drinker but sometimes I set in the whisky club watching our guests and they really enjoy it.”
The 28/10 Whisky Club is named for one of the airport’s three runways, which are also sketched on the wall and seen in the design of the shelving behind the bar.
The bar itself showcases some 120 different whiskies from around the world, so this is a lounge you don't want to miss by running late for your flight.
Instead, take your time to relax, explore and appreciate some very different drops – or maybe just revisit a favourite or two, which may spark memories of their own.
Swiss details the complete collection in an impressive 'whisky menu' to help travellers decide on their pre-flight dram.
The collection includes five locally-distilled single malts from the Swiss highlands – ranging from the intense peated Säntis Malt Schwarz and its woody fruity sibling Säntis Malt Föhnsturm to the vanilla and grain notes of Macardo Single Malt and the “oaks, figs, prunes, orange, citrus, hints of tea and leather” cornucopia of Swiss Highland Bergsturz.
With a warming whisky in hand, and a view over the airfield and the Swiss Alps beyond, there are arguably few better ways to set off on an international Swiss flight.
Access to the Swiss Senator Lounges at Zurich is open to first class travellers on Swiss, Lufthansa and Star Alliance member airlines plus any frequent flyers holding HON Circle, Miles & More Senator or Star Alliance Gold status.