What’s the Story with Duty Free?

OK, first off, if you don’t travel internationally, you may not want to read further as it might just really annoy you to hear about the fantastic benefits to duty free whisky shopping.

It took me a few years to catch on the joy of duty free. I used to walk past those shops in various airports around the world and think to myself “why would I buy jewelery, perfume/cologne etc. at an airport?” I’m a busy traveling business guy and I’m just rushing to catch my next flight (or to find an airline lounge and do email).

But, when I realized that whisky is involved, I looked a little closer. It was an enlightening moment when I saw the pricing (often substantial savings) and more importantly the selection (it is often exceptional – and in some cases even unique).

Until then, I had no idea that major whisky distillers were actually creating unique bottlings specifically for international airports. Imagine that – a whole new world of special bottlings with which to experiment! For example, there’s a whole array of Highland Park bottlings that are only available at major airports – who knew?sar exquisite suppliers

Amsterdam’s Schiphol airport is my most frequent connection and I highly recommend the duty free shop called ExQuisite which is all about spirits and they have a nice whisky selection.

Another frequent stop for me is London’s Heathrow airport where I always swing by the World of Whiskies shop on the way to gate when returning home.

What are your duty-free whisky experiences, tips and favorites?

A hard to find Bunnahabhain

One fateful night at my favorite food and spirits spot in in Seattle called Damn The Weather, I tried a Bunnahabhain called Ceòbanach (please don’t ask me how to pronounce that) that simply knocked me out.

This Islay Island distiller is best known for unpeated bottlings with a sweet subtle sea and salt palette but this dram was really something else. It had a surprisingly earthy, peaty punch with a fine smoky finish. Wow – it was fantastic!

But now the dilemma – that was literally the last they had of this bottling at DtW and  I’ve only come across it once since (at The Whisky House in San Diego). Despite looking at shops around the world, I can’t find a bottle anywhere.

If you know where to find this fine whisky anywhere in the world (preferably near a major airport), let me know.

Blog at

Up ↑