Travel Retail / Duty-Free
Travel Retail is the new fancy way of saying Duty-Free. Not sure when or why the change took place, but the idea is the same: Stores in specified international zones in various ports of travel, primarily airports, are exempt from applying local and national taxes and duties. This then enables travelers to purchase what is often luxury items for good prices. Fine you say, but why would a whisky blogger take the time to write a post on this topic? Well my friends, for those of you who don’t know, travel retail is often a damn good place to find some damn good whiskies, at damn good prices… and they’re often 1 litre! There is also a trend amongst distilleries to produce expressions exclusively for travel retail stores, and you may find a core expression or two that is not distributed in your country of residence. So if you keep a keen eye open, you may well find something that will make you the envy of all your whisky friends – may they be real or digital.
With this in mind, when I travel I will do my best to note which whiskies are being offered in which airports, so that if you are ever flying a similar route, you can be prepared for what lies ahead. I also ask, that as a reader, you let the rest of us know what whiskies you’ve seen recently at a particular airport. (This can be done in various forms; add a comment to this post or email me and I’ll add it as a new post and give you the credit.)
There is danger in this, I am aware, as whiskies may be sold out, or just no longer stocked at the airport in question by the time you get there, but I still think there is more to gain in this endeavour than there is to loose. It’s good to be prepared, some airports have a great selection, some may have less whisky than your local nunnery.
Just some history for the buffs: The world’s first duty-free store was found at Shannon Airport, Ireland, by Dr Brendan O’Regan in 1947 and is still in service to this day. It was established to provide a service for trans-Atlantic airline passengers travelling between Europe and North America.