In passenger satisfaction survey after survey Prague Ruzyne airport comes out head and shoulders over other eastern European airports.
Pleasantly surprised travellers expecting to find a crumbling Soviet Block-era dinosaur discover a modern facility boasting short security queues, clean facilities and friendly staff.
For those with time to kill before their flight, the airport also boasts more than 85 shops and restaurants spread out over its three terminals.
Unusually, each terminal offers customers a choice of competing duty-free shops, which is good for keeping prices keen. Our pick of the bunch for whisky is the recently opened Luxury Lounge, which is located in Terminal 2 directly after security.
As the name suggests, the product selection is aimed at those with deeper pockets with plenty of expensive Bordeaux wines and vintages Champagnes on display. Happily, however, given these lean times, the single malt offer provides plenty of reasonably priced drams such as Laphroaig 10 Years Old (CZK1,099/£36.60), Highland Park 16 Years Old
(CZK1,190/£40), Glenmorangie Nectar D’Or (CZK1,390/£66.40) and the duty-free exclusive Glengoyne Burnfoot (CZK799/£26.60).
Stepping up in price, look out for the likes of Glenfarclas 21 Years Old (CZK1,990/£66.70),The Macallan Fine Oak
(CZK2,790/£91.78), Glenmorangie Signet (CZK3,990/£133), Aberfeldy 21 Years Old (CZK2,790/£93) and Glengoyne 21 Years Old (CZK2,690/£90).
The store has an extensive selection of blended Scotch whiskies, stocking everything from Ballantine’s Finest (CZK290/£9.70) and Teacher’s (CZK369/£12.30), to Johnnie Walker Gold Label (CZK1,599/£53.30) to Royal Salute Hundred Cask Selection (CZK4,990/£166.50).
As you’d expect, the Irish whiskey selection is much more limited, the best offerings being Jameson Signature Reserve at CZK990 (£33) and Bushmills 16 Years Old at CZK1,190 (£40).
The same holds true for American whiskey, where the only notable listing is the duty-free exclusive Jack Daniel’s Silver Select (CZK1,100/£36.70).
If you want more details about what’s on offer, take a look at the retailer’s excellent website, www.travel-value.cz.
It has been a long time coming but Western duty-free operators are slowly starting to take Japanese whiskies seriously.World Duty Free (WDF) is taking the lead, stocking several Yamazaki variants in its World of Whiskies shops, which have performed exceptionally well.
At Heathrow Terminal 5 WDF still have stocks left of the limited edition Yamazaki 1979 priced at£500 per bottle.
Matured for 29 years in rare Japanese Mizunara oak casks, this whisky is copper in colour with pleasing notes of pineapple and peach on the nose, giving way to smooth vanilla taste with a long, sweet finish.
Launched back in November last year, only 294 bottles were released, so this outstanding whisky won’t be around for too much longer, but is still in stock so don’t hang around.
40 Years Old
Single malt whiskies really don’t come much better than this top-of-the-range Orcadian gem.
Matured primarily in Spanish sherry oak casks, this whisky boasts a wonderfully rich, coppery hue. The nose is spicy with plenty of rich, dark fruits, nuts and chocolate, while the palate is all toffee, dark chocolate, orange zest and heather peat.The finish is rich, long and quite sweet.
In years past the packaging of Highland Park arguably let the brand down, but on this expression it is outstanding with a heavy grey oak wooden presentation box and a handsome leather-bound booklet inside full of information about both the whisky and the distillery.
Highland Park 40 Year Old is available at many leading international airports, including Frankfurt airport, where we found it priced at E1,280 (£1,140).