Cypriot sunshine (Cyprus)

Cypriot sunshine (Cyprus)

Joe Bates checks out what the Mediterranean island has to offer the travellers

Travel Retail | 01 Jun 2007 | Issue 64 | By Joe Bates

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When it comes to booze, what do you normally bring back from your annual fortnight in the sun? A flagon of the local plonk perhaps, which tasted great al fresco with the sun on your face and salt air on your lips, but turns to vinegar the minute you unpack your suitcase? Or will it be a bottle of the local firewater, which you thought would impress your friends, but is more likely to create panic among anybody offered a glass?

Thankfully, whisky lovers venturing to Cyprus for their hols this year, will get the chance to return with something rather more satisfying as two new malt whisky stores have opened at the island’s two international airports, Larnaca and Paphos. The new “Uisge Beatha” shops stock about 72 malt whisky brands, including some names which are not normally found on duty-free shelves such as Aberfeldy, Arran, Benromach, Deanston, Edradour, Tomintoul and Tullibardine.

The shop’s owner, CTC-ARI Ltd, is making a big effort to educate prospective customers. It is giving away free booklets with tasting notes on all the whiskies stocked and a phonetic pronunciation guide to some of more tricky brand names. A large in-store LCD screen gives more detailed information about the distilleries and brands, and there are even some famous whisky quotes from the likes of Winston Churchill, Humphrey Bogart and Mark Twain up on the walls.

The Uisge Beatha shops stock few genuine collectors’ items as yet, although some high-end Glenfiddich vintages will be stocked in the coming months (Glenfiddich 30 Years Old is already on shelf and selling well). More expensive malts will be listed if the shops prove a success.

Glenfiddich is supporting the new shops with a major promotion, which is running throughout the peak summer season. Travellers buying any bottle of Glenfiddich, will get the chance to win a Volvo C30.



If you spot a bottle of this at one of BAA’s World of Whiskies stores, don’t pass it by. Linkwood 1946 is very attractively priced at£399 for such an old whisky. It is part of Gordon & Macphail’s Rare Vintage Range, but hails from a Speyside distillery, which is now under the ownership of Diageo.

The whisky is golden brown in colour, while the nose reveals sherry notes, milk chocolate, polished wood, and old leather. The palate is smooth and rounded with plenty of fruity flavours and a hint of walnut.



Inver House Distillers is determined to raise the profile of Balblair worldwide and this new 43% ABV vintage expression spearheads the company’s aim to grow the brand in Russia, China and duty-free.

Balblair 1989 is a satisfyingly, full-bodied malt priced modestly at under £40. It is amber in colour with aromas of raisin, apple, banana and lemon on the nose. Warm toffee and vanilla flavours dominate the palate, a telltale sign of the whisky’s maturation in American oak barrels. The finish is long, smooth and complex. A word or two must also be said about the brand’s striking new bottle and packaging. The pebble-shaped bottle is inspired by a Pictish stone found near the distillery. The box features a beautifully atmospheric photograph of the Dornach Firth at sunset, looking towards the distillery.
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