Finns can only get better

Finns can only get better

Joe Bates looks at the solid duty free store in Helsinki
Joe Bates

01 June 2006

Publication: Issue 56

Store focus


If your travels take you to the modern and compact Helsinki-Vaanta airport and you have time on your hands, head towards Gate 28. You’ll find the airport’s biggest duty-free shop there and a solid, no-nonsense Scotch whisky assortment and a good range of bourbons and Irish whiskeys.

The store is run by Finnair and stocks around 40 different whisky brands with five to 10 new products introduced to the in-store selection each May. Among the whisky aisles your fellow shoppers are likely to be Swedish businessmen – it would seem the Finns are more interested in Cognac these days.

The malt offer will hold few surprises for the serious collector, but there is nevertheless a good range of brands on sale, which would make good gift items for the whisky lover, including Laphroaig Cask Strength 10 Year Old (€39.50/£27), Balvenie Single Barrel (€49/£33.50) and a Highland Park gift pack containing one 33cl bottle each of 12 Year Old, 18 Year Old and 25 Year Old (€69/£47.20).

The shop’s top sellers being international favourites such as Grant’s, Chivas Regal, Glenfiddich, Jameson and The Famous Grouse.

Examples of prices on popular premium blends includes Chivas Regal 12 Year Old at €27.50 (£18.80), Royal Salute 21 Year Old at €93 (£63.65) and The Famous Grouse Port Wood Finish at €32 (£21.90).

Caol Ila

Distillers Edition

Travelling fans of peaty Islay whisky Caol Ila should make a point of visiting BAA’s World Duty Free stores this summer.

The United King airport retailer is showcasing a new Distillers Edition Caol Ila expression priced at£36, which you won’t find anywhere else until August this year.

Once this exclusive period is over it will be listed at other European duty-free outlets.Distilled in 1993, The Caol Ila Distillers Edition has been double matured for the last six months of its maturation in Moscatel wine casks.

This unusual treatment lends the finished whisky a beautifully sweet, malty taste, which marries extremely well with the brand’s trademark smokiness.

Old Ballantruan

Old Ballantruan is something of an anomaly for a Speyside malt, but none the worse for it.

Taking its name from the spring which supplies the Tomintoul Distillery in the heart of the Speyside-Glenlivet region, Old Ballantruan is made with heavily peated malted barley – something you’d normally expect of Island whiskies.

Unsurprisingly, the resulting whisky offers plenty of heathery smoke on the nose, but on the palate the peat is balanced with some nice citrus tones and malty nuttiness.

A 70cl bottle has a recommended duty-free price of about £27-30 depending on the location. 

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