I was told much the same thing about the return of Tanqueray Malacca gin by the Tanqueray brand ambassador (admittedly he said it was to be "primarily" focused on the bar/restaurant market). Today I saw it on the shelf at two different stores. It is supposedly a limited release anyway so perhaps stores didn't get much. But I could at least get it.
WT's plan sounds like a perfect set up for grey/black market sale of the 101 if and when it finally returns.