The open sarcophagus holding a millennia-old mummy. The complete, gigantic but not entirely authentic T. Rex skeleton. Rocks brought back from the Moon. Suits of armour. All fond boyhood memories from a trip to the museum. Items of age and wonder that capture the young imagination, turning the frenetic youngster’s mind to one of awe and contemplation. Sure, museums are still pretty cool but there’s somewhere else that similarly fires the mind…
For all the disparaging I did last post regarding the state of duty free, there is one thing that the outlets in the larger airports excel at, and that’s ostentation. The busier the airport -translate as ‘the greater the amount of money flowing through it’- the fancier the bottles, the softer the lighting and, exponentially, the higher the price tags. It’s almost like they’re trying to outdo each other by showing off whose is bigger. Ahem. Whose age statement is bigger.
The bottle envy aside, a good, extensive duty free shop can in many ways be just like a museum. Priceless (we’ll, certainly out of my price range but up to a couple orders of magnitude) antiquities put on high-security display for the world to admire. Cultural artifacts that capture the imagination of those who appreciate whisky, evoking awe, wonder and a fleeting mental image of how one of these bottles might look centered on the top shelf of our collection.
So, in no particular order, here are a few gems I’ve seen in the last six months.
And the pièce de résistance, seen at Changi airport, Singapore:
Are any of these a good deal? I mean, that’s why I’m writing this blog, right? Considering that some of these bottles have a world-wide inventory of less than 50, I hardly think that price comparing is relevant or appropriate. Just to keep things on track though, at Changi where I saw the epic Highland Park display I bought a Hakushu 12 for $SIN 90 or about $CAD 82. For a bottling that is both a Suntory whisky with an age statement, and perpetually out-of-stock in Canada and the US, this was a good deal.