1 November 2022 will mark the end of an era, when passengers stepping into Singapore Airlines Suites or First Class cabins won’t be greeted with the legendary “Dom or Krug?” question for the first time in almost four decades.
That’s because Dom Pérignon will disappear from the pointy end of Singapore Airlines planes, leaving Krug Grande Cuvée and Taittinger Comtes de Champagne as the champagnes of record up front.
While some were quick to accuse Singapore Airlines of cost-cutting, there’s actually a more mundane reason for the switch: Dom Pérignon has become an Emirates exclusive, and will be for the foreseeable future.
Dom Pérignon becomes Emirates exclusive
Back in September 2022, Emirates announced that it would be serving 2003 Dom Pérignon Plénitude 2 onboard selected routes till end October (though a quick search of the onboard menus suggests it’s been extended through November as well).
Rich and multi-layered, Plénitude 2 provides a complex spiral of aromas that reveal over time in the glass.
First the softness of lime tree, then a toasty minerality followed by dried apricots and apples, along with candied raspberry and fig. Lemon verbena, rosemary and white pepper appear for an instant, followed by dark spices and liquorice root. These develop in the glass into a profound and mineral-toned harmonious bouquet. Its vibrant yet generous palate, powerful and precise with great energy, leads to a persistent, spicy, and saline finish.
-Emirates Press Release
Dom Pérignon Plénitude 2 retails for more than S$600 per bottle in Singapore (assuming you can even find it), and might explain where the US$1 billion Emirates has invested into its wine programme over the past 16 years has gone.
As exciting as the news about P2 was, what we should have been paying attention to was actually the first line in the press release.
As the only airline with an exclusive agreement to offer luxury champagne brand Dom Pérignon on-board…
This wasn’t mere marketing fluff, apparently, because Emirates has signed an agreement to make Dom Pérignon exclusive to its cabins. This precludes THAI Airways and Singapore Airlines (the only two airlines I know with Dom) from serving it; I would assume the exclusivity clause went into effect in November, hence the timing of the removal.
So it isn’t so much a case of Singapore Airlines not wanting to serve Dom, it’s that they can’t do it anymore!
Does this mean the end of Dom Pérignon in Singapore Airlines First Class forever? Not quite. At the end of the day, what Emirates has with Dom is a contract, and contracts can lapse.
Do I think Singapore Airlines needs to introduce a new “prestige” label, like what Japan Airlines has with Salon and Cristal? I certainly wouldn’t mind if they did, but some perspective would be good: Krug Grande Cuvée and Taittinger Comtes de Champagne are no slouches. The latter’s 2008 vintage has received universal acclaim, and oenophiles tell me it could more than hold its own at any blind tasting.
For the sake of comparison, here’s what other airlines are pouring in First Class. Singapore Airlines’ selection still strikes me as more than competitive.
|Airline||First Class champagne|
|Note: Airlines regularly rotate their champagnes, so the list above may be out of date|
Singapore Airlines will part ways with Dom Pérignon from November due to the brand’s exclusive tie-up with Emirates. This doesn’t mean it’s gone forever, though I wouldn’t expect it to make a comeback for at least a couple of years. Emirates has no doubt paid a pretty penny for the privilege, and it would be pointless for SIA to compete with bottomless Middle East oil money in what’s essentially a game of bragging rights.
It feels strange not to see Dom on SIA, but that’s probably because the marketing team did such a good job of cultivating a connection between the two over the years. As best I can tell, the partnership has been around since 1985 (and probably earlier), an astounding 40-year vintage that’s well worth popping something to.
Talk about a combo-breaker.