Whisky Magazine Issue 71
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Joe Bateschecks out the huge duty free store at Istanbul's Atatürk airport
Where would you expect to find Europe's largest duty-free shop?
Heathrow would be a good guess perhaps, or maybe Paris Charles de Gaulle or even Amsterdam Schiphol? Actually, though all those hub airports boast large shops, bragging rights for that particular accolade go to Istanbul's Atatürk airport,where an enormous 2,500sq m store opened late last year.
Duty-free is big business in this part of the world – many of the spirit brands available at the airport's shopping mall can't be found in the domestic market, where high taxes make prices on what is stocked there a whopping 40-90 per cent more expensive.
Unsurprisingly,Turkish travellers flock to their local duty-free store in droves, but Brits,Russian and Germans shop there in big numbers too.
The new shop's modern and stylish layout and merchandising are top notch, as is the extensive whisky selection, which runs to 42 brands and accounts for nearly 50 per cent of all the spirits sold there.
Rarities and collectors' items are arguably thin on the ground, but there are plenty of ultra-premium blends on offer such as Johnnie Walker Blue Label (¤133/£102), Chivas Regal Royal Salute 21 Years Old (¤96/£73.65) and Ballantine's 30 Years Old (¤257/£197.20).
The malt selection runs to 15 well-known brands. Examples of lines currently stocked include Balvenie Doublewood 12 Years Old (¤36.50/£28), Highland Park 12 Years Old (¤34/£26),Glenfiddich Gran Reserva 21 Years Old (¤105/£80.55) and Talisker 10 Years Old ...