Ingredient Hunter: Duty-Free Spirits

A big perk of flying internationally is shopping for liquor at the airport. But the selection can be a bit overwhelming. So what spirits should you buy at duty-free that you can’t purchase at home? Here are six bottles to bring back with you. (Just keep in mind that prices may vary by region.) Safe travels!

Johnnie Walker The Gold Route Scotch Whisky ($95):

The Gold Route debuted last month and is the second release in Johnnie Walker’s Explorers’ Club Collection. It’s in duty-free stores all over the world. The Scotch, according to master blender Jim Beveridge, was inspired by Latin America and has exotic fruit notes.

Jack Daniel’s Sinatra Select Tennessee Whiskey ($175):

One of Jack Daniel’s biggest fans was none other than Ol’ Blue Eyes. To honor his loyalty, the brand introduced Sinatra Select, which is in many international airports. (You can also buy it in Tennessee.) It’s 90-proof, and master distiller Jeff Arnett used heavily charred barrels; as a result the whiskey has big, spicy flavor.

Gran Patrón Piedra Tequila ($389):

The only place you’re going to find Gran Patrón Piedra is at duty-free. (It should be on shelves by May globally.)  It’s Patrón’s first extra-añejo tequila and was aged in both new American and French oak barrels for more than three years. The product will eventually be sold in the US as well.

Absolut Denim Vodka ($24):

Absolut recently partnered with Brooklyn clothing designer Loren Cronk to produce a limited edition (pictured above) that features a denim wrapper. The sleeve isn’t just decorative; it’s actually lined with a high-tech insulator that helps keep the vodka cold. It’s currently at Singapore Changi Airport and will soon be available in other countries.

Laphroaig QA Single Malt Scotch Whisky ($70):

You don’t need to go all the way to the tiny Scottish island of Islay to get a special dram of Laphroaig. QA just came out this month and is in duty-free shops around the globe. It was matured in both former bourbon barrels and in new, un-charred American oak casks.

Brugal Papá Andrés Arcos Rum ($1,200):

Every year, the Brugal family privately bottles a specially selected rum. Now, for the first time ever (except for a handful of charitable auctions), the family is offering the desirable liquor for sale and parting with 500 bottles. Arcos comes in a crystal decanter and is in about a dozen airports worldwide.

From our Friends



  • Sahara58 posted 1 year ago

    I need to get 3 half-gallon bottles of HW 60prf Peppermint Schnapps to Mykonos, Greece, from SC, (or somewhere? lol) USA. Is there a special customs fee or better idea on how to accomplish my mission?

  • posted 2 years ago

    looking for difference types of sin gel malt scotch

  • orionasante posted 4 years ago

    How about Pisang Ambon? It doesn't have a US distributor and won't be available in the US by the end of the year, or anytime after that it seems.

  • Choey posted 4 years ago

    You can get Ron Zacapa XO at 89.99 for 1.5L.

  • Samantha posted 4 years ago

    She clearly said that you CAN bring back that much, don't know what you're talking about Robert. Please read peoples comments in full before speaking your mind.

  • Robert posted 4 years ago

    What I want is Ron Zacapa XO. Drank it almost every night in Columbia and bought some in the duty free store coming back. I'm almost out and want more! Stuff is awesome - may be going back in a few weeks and I'll need to bring back several litters more.

  • Robert posted 4 years ago

    Not true. I visited Columbia and brought back 3L of different Rums in June and 3L of Irish whisky's when I returned from Dublin last week. Never had a problem. I just told the customs agent what I was bringing back and wasn't even charged any added tax. In fact, the lady at the Duty Free store in Dublin made a comment to not worry about it.

  • Ernest posted 4 years ago

    Bermuda Gold Loquat Liquer

  • jaycee posted 4 years ago

    A few important notes:

    You /can/ bring back more than the 2L limit into the US; but duty free stores will /not/ sell you more than your duty free limit (for what I hope are obvious reasons). If you're shopping abroad (like, buying ridiculously good wine for cheap in the French countryside); you can lug back as much as you like - just declare it. Most likely, the customs official will wave you past; at worst, you'll owe a few bucks in duty.

    Another hard-to-find is Ireland's Green Spot. Be on the lookout if you pass through Dublin or UK airports.

  • Dave posted 4 years ago

    Anyone know where/how to purchase Smirnoff Black label vodka in 1 litre bottles for the US? Foreign suppliers seem to be very few.

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