Friday, September 23, 2011

Easy steps to enjoying duty free

One of the only enjoyable things about spending time in an international airport is the chance to go shopping in a good duty free shop.  In London Heathrow’s Terminal 5 that means World of Whiskies (I think they’re in three of the other terminals as well).  It can be a little daunting with the foot traffic, the sheer volume of whiskies, and you’re probably jet lagged or in for an early morning flight.  But that doesn’t mean you should miss the opportunity to get a killer bottle of whisky.  These are a few steps I take to make the most from my trip to duty free:
  • Narrow it down. Most of these shops are organized by region or type of whisky.  For me, that’s probably going to be an Islay or Highland.
  • Make it special.  You are hauling a bottle (or two) of whisky on an overseas flight, and perhaps a connecting one as well, so don’t get a bottle you can get at your local liquor store.  Get something not available in your state.
  • Ask questions.  Unlike many local shops, a good whisky store is manned by experts.  Ask questions about how a special bottling is prepared.  What’s similar?  Is it popular?  Which leads me to . . .
  • Samples!  Yeah samples!  Don’t be afraid to ask for a sample.  At Heathrow, the salesman had 20 bottles out on his sampling table.  They’re there for a reason, so have a sample.  Better yet, ask a question about another bottle you see out on the table and have a second sample.  It’s a much better way to buy a bottle than by just going off of the label.
So after I followed my own advice, I arrived at an Ardbeg Corryvreckan.  This baby packs a wallop at 57.1% ABV.  This whisky is powerful on the nose, full of peat. The taste has all of the things I love about Ardbeg – the gold color, the peat, the seaweed, and dark chocolate flavors – but in spades.  And, man – that first taste on the tongue is a punch.  A good one.  This whisky was 2009 Scotch Whisky of the Year from the Malt Advocate with a score of 96 out of 100.   The whisky has replaced Airigh Nam Beist in the Ardbeg line.  And with no age or year on the label, Ardbeg can find casks to age appropriately for Corryvreckan for a few more years.  That’s good news – get your ticket and get some!

No comments:

Post a Comment