Scotch rules the roost at Ezeiza

Scotch rules the roost at Ezeiza

Joe Bates gets the low down on the Buenos Aires scene
Joe Bates

10 November 2006

Publication: Issue 60

Blame it on their love of all things European or their manly gaucho culture, but premium whisky still reigns as the king of alcoholic drinks in Argentina. It accounts for an amazing 75 per cent of spirits sales at the duty-free stores at the country’s biggest airport, Buenos Aires Ezeiza.

The long-serving duty-free retailer at Ezeiza is InterBaires, which has pumped a lot of money in to upgrading its stores at the airport in recent years. There are currently six duty-free shops selling whisky and for arriving passengers it is well worth knowing the duty-free allowance is a very generous four litres per traveller.

Although only US dollars are accepted, prices do offer a substantial 20 per cent saving over the domestic market. There is a strong emphasis on promotions, which change regularly, and can boost the saving to about 40 per cent. Examples of promotions running this Autumn include ‘Buy 4 Get 1 Free’ deals on Johnnie Walker Red Label and The Famous Grouse at $45 (£24.20).

The whisky selection extends to around 30 different brands, the best-selling being global favourites such as Johnnie Walker, Chivas Regal and Ballantine’s. Higher-priced blends on sale include Royal Salute at $109 (£58.55), Johnnie Walker Blue Label at $135 ($72.50) and Ballantine’s Limited at $140 ($75.20).

Malts are growing in popularity year on year and the offer, while not containing any surprises, does extend to well known names such as The Glenlivet 18 Year Old ($60/£32.25) and Strathisla 12 Year Old ($40/£21.50). The top-selling malts are Glenmorangie, Johnnie Walker Green Label, Laphroaig and Glenfiddich respectively.

Spanish speakers can get more information on the complete selection at the retailer’s website,

InterBaires says an online pre-order service is in the pipeline.


30 Year Old

Anyone who loves Islay whiskies should make a beeline for this newly launched expression from Bowmore, the first vintage the distillery has produced exclusively for the travel-retail market.

Only 1,800 bottles of Bowmore 30 Year Old are available so expect stocks to run low fast. The 43% ABV whisky is priced at£299. It is nicely presented in a silk-lined gift box with the packaging making much of a colourful local Celtic legend involving a sea dragon.

The liquid itself is lighter in character than many south Islay drams such as Laphroaig and Ardbeg with a warm, copper colour, a fruity nose and a smoky taste balanced with hints of sweet vanilla.

Look out for Brora

This very collectable whisky from the long-closed coastal distillery of Brora is part of Diageo’s annual Special Releases collection of cask strength malt whiskies.

Aged 30 years in a mixture of American and European oak refill casks, Brora 30 Year Old is bottled at a cask strength of 55.7% ABV.

Only 2,130 bottles have been produced so expect only a few bottles to find their way into duty-free at major international airports in Europe and North America.

The whisky has a rich amber colour, a salty nose with plenty of dried fruits and a smoky, spicy palate followed by a long dry finish.

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