View Full Version : Bourbons available when travelling
I just read the post re Makers Mark Black label, and it reminded me of some questions I have for anyone who has travelled recently & purchased Bourbon in a foreign market or airport...
We're off to Britain in October for 3 weeks - We have a night stop over in Singapore on the way, and 2 nights in Tokyo on the way back. Australian customs say we can bring 2 1 litre bottles each back into the country duty free - so that's approx 4 bottles I can look for. (they aren't to strict if some of the bottles are 1.125 litre)
Has anyone here travelled recenly, to these or any other countries, and if so, what (if any) Bourbon finds did you come across?
Well, my partner is off to Bankok next month for work.
She's offered to bring me back a bottle or 2 of bourbon http://www.straightbourbon.com/forums/images/graemlins/smile.gif
I guess my wish list is (in order of priority) -
- anything Van Winkle
- Buffalo Trace
- Wild Turkey Freedom
- Makers Mark Black Label
As I'm not sure what else is available in the Asian export market, any suggestions would be greatly appreciated http://www.straightbourbon.com/forums/images/graemlins/smile.gif
I'm here in Tokyo, and you can get pretty much the lot listed on your preference list. It's surprisingly cheap, too, considering everyone's stereotype about how pricey this town is. I just got a 750ml bottle of Blanton's for about 25 US dollars, a 750 ml bottle of Russell's Reserve for about $40, and a bottle of Eagle Rare for $50.
If you need directions to some good Tokyo bottle-shops, just drop me a line,
Here's an update from Paris. Bar's have JD and Four Roses for about $9 per. Liquor stores carry Four Roses, JD, JD Single Barrel and MM. I have found Blanton's Gold and splurged for one only. Still looking for Four Roses Single Barrel. Not missing good bourbon much though.....sitting outside at a cafe with a cold beer or glass of wine watching the pretty ladies go by isn't so bad. FYI.....Val is on a cruise with our youngest as she didn't seem too interested in Paris....I'm here with my 15yo daughter. Hope to find something interesting at Paris Duty Free when I return home.
Randy, on Boul. Port Royal is the long-established Academie de la Biere, a beer bar that specialises in French beers (and Belgian) from the North of France, the classic ale country around Lille. It is not a fancy place but a local hang-out for students and other assorted Left Bank types. It is halfway down that boulevard from Montmartre, halfway down to where the Port Royal ends that is. You would turn left onto Port Royal when walking up from boul. St-Germain. Your daughter might like it, and the mussels and frites are some of the best in Paris. Ask for a "biere de garde" which is the fine ale-type beer of the North of France, some good names are Castelain, Jenlain, Choulette.
And so many great wine bars there that sell Beaujolais in unlabelled bottles, the real "zinc" bars that are not always easy to find. Ask your hotel to recommend "un vrai zinc qui vend le Beaujolais dans des bouteilles sans etiquettes". The proprietor bottles them himself (from barrels) in the basement, vous voyez... I've got a list of them and can supply names if give me some coordinates but your hotel will (should) know. These bars get awards called "Meilleur Pot" (best glass), e.g. Meilleur Pot 2000, and they are posted on the door as you go in - that is always a sign it is a good "zinc". Anyway, a great town (let's set aside politics for a minute), and you can't far wrong there.
Gary....Thanks for the info, particularly the "beer acdamy" http://www.straightbourbon.com/forums/images/graemlins/smile.gif. We stayed on Rue St. Germain and I found the place no problem. It was good to drink something other than 1664/Carlsberg/Heineken. Moules and frites are my standard lunch fare in Paris and had them too.
Back to bourbon....never found much of interest anywhere in Paris including the CdG Airport. In many bars, your choice is Four Roses or Four Roses. Otherwise its Four Roses or JD. In a small (but very nice) bar in Amboise in the Loire Valley their only bourbon was WT 8yo, like what we used to get here in the US. When I ordered one, I got a few questioning glances from the locals...as in "what is that stuff?" Anyway, never saw the Four Roses SB. My only bourbon prize is the Blanton's Gold. http://www.straightbourbon.com/forums/images/graemlins/yum.gif
As far as traveling in France, we were treated very well, my Texas accent not withstanding. This was my fourth trip there and found the people friendlier than ever.
Gary....Just got back from visiting your wonderful country. Traveled the Canadian Rockies and hit the first weekend of Stampede. YEEEE HAAAAAW. Anyway, the Banff Springs Hotel bar overlooking the Bow River has a pretty good bourbon list with an interesting twist. You can "supersize" your pour. For example, the 1.5oz pour of Booker's is $10 ca....you can get it supersized to 2.5oz for $15ca. We, of course, supersized them. In Calgary we found several places with EWSB on their lists ('90 thru '93)....I don't even see that here in Houston.
BTW, skip Calgary's Duty Free....nothing there but WT 8yo.
Glad you had a good time, Randy!
Did you find the Western atmosphere (I mean the cowboy heritage and culture) similar to what is found in Texas and the Southwest, or was it different and if so, how?
You mean you tasted no Canadian rye whisky?? http://www.straightbourbon.com/forums/images/graemlins/smile.gif
Did you try a Bloody Caesar at least, the "quintessential" Canadian cocktail?
Gary...I've been to the Stampede many times and always have a great time. Generally, the western culture (music, dress, rodeo activities, attitudes, etc) is similar to ours in Texas. But at the Stampede, they take partying to another level. Where else are you served gin and orange juice with your pancake breakfast at 7am? Ever heard of a "Wiggle In"? They put 100 new pairs of Wrangler jeans in the middle of the rodeo arena. Everyone is invited to remove their own jeans and at the sound of the horn, leap off the fence and try to find a pair that fits. If the judges agree that they fit, they're yours free. I ran out of film watching all those pretty ladies wigglin into the jeans. http://www.straightbourbon.com/forums/images/graemlins/wink.gif
I did enjoy many Canadian ryes there, but my Canadian friends were very impressed with a Black Maple Hill 18yo rye I brought with me. I also drank a lot of local beers including Big Rock, etc. And of course, we had a lot of Ceasars. Mott's Clamato Juice is a big sponsor at the Stampede.
Hey, most interesting! I never heard of that jeans thing. Looks like western culture has evolved in some unique ways in Canada. Based on your knowledge of Canadiana, Randy I'd say you are an honorary Canuck! http://www.straightbourbon.com/forums/images/graemlins/smile.gif
You are going to post some of those "Wiggle In" pix, aren't you?
http://www.straightbourbon.com/forums/images/graemlins/laugh.gif http://www.straightbourbon.com/forums/images/graemlins/shocked.gif http://www.straightbourbon.com/forums/images/graemlins/toast.gif
Hey All........Down in Buenos Aires on my way to Cordoba for some dove hunting. Bagged a couple of birds in DFW Duty Free (dom). Tried some last night and itīs pretty good.
Also found some "Old Huckleberry" at a fun bar near the hotel. It was pretty dusty and the beautiful bartender wiped it clean before she let me see it. "Distilled and aged in the old Confederate town of Bardstown, Nelson County, Kentucky.....Aged at least four summers". It was in a 70cl square sided bottle. Looked pretty pale next to the WT 8yo (which was what I was drinking). Bartender couldnīt remember when the last person ordered any. They even had an unopened bottle they were quite willing to sell. I passed as I had my limit of Freedom.
Just returned from 'down Mexico way', via Carnival to Playa del Carmen and Cozumel. Nothing special there bourbon-wise. JB white (and, tangentially, JD black) seems to be the standard. I did find a liter of JB Black (8yo, 86 proof) in a cannister for $15.50 right next to an otherwise-identical 'naked' one priced at $18. Alas, I passed (knowing I'd regret it later) because of its bulk. Luggage space was premium.
Other deals, either onboard or on land:
[list] Crown Royal (regular): 2 1-liter bottles for $32.95
750ml bottles Johnny Walker Blue Label for $114.95; Black Label 2 for $43; Red Label 2 for $25
Every tequila you've (n)ever heard of, cheap (e.g., Don Julio gold, $44)
Kahlua 750ml $9
Plenty of other good prices, too, on too many things that just don't appeal to me.
I know for a lot of people, Tennessee doesn't qualify as 'travel' but, as a bourbon hunter, there is game in the woods. Had the day off today, so I went stalking -- bagged an intact 3-pack of 2003 Stagg (got the case discount: $40.50 per, plus sales tax, of course. He still had at least 6 more bottles) and two split-label WT12s. Also saw -- but was by then penniless -- five Jimmy Russell Tributes (2 @ $79.99, 3 @ $89.99). Additionally, a whole row (6-7 bottles) of gold, wax-topped, Hirsch 16yo, and a stock of all the BMHs (even the rye) except the 21yo.
Wow! I'm always amazed to hear about people finding older Stagg out there. It's almost enough to make me wish I lived down there instead of up here (almost).
I wonder why the Tribute bottles were priced differently. That doesn't make any sense to me.
The one with the lower price is an old, old family business, sharing a parking lot with a mini-market belonging to the same family. Thus, I suspect they own the property outright, and have no mortgage/rent costs that most other stores have. Since I know the liquor store where I work part-time has fixed costs daily related to building costs, I've always assumed that's the reason this old Nashville store always is a dollar or two below its competitors.
Additionally, he never seems to increase the price of anything once it's on the shelves. For example, he also has a pair of Lawrenceburg (1st bottling) Pappy 20yos for $75.99. In April, I bought a Pappy 23 (original bottling) there for $142.99.
If he can live with those prices, I sure can.
The store with the higher prices, though -- which sits in a wealthier neighborhood -- had five bottles left of the original Ridgewood Reserve 1792 selling for $19.99 each. The storeowner and I just shook our head that: 1)the distributor never picked them up despite the court order; and 2)nobody realizes that's a great price for a soon-to-be-extinct rarity.
I see. I had misread it so that I thought you were saying that the two different prices were in the same store. Now I can see how it can read the other way . . . Makes more sense that way.
G'day all from an Aussie in London http://www.straightbourbon.com/forums/images/graemlins/smile.gif
I've been checking out some of the bourbons here that are not available in Australia...
I managed to pick up a bottle of Old Rip Van Winkle 10yo and a bottle of the Family Reserve Rye. Had to pass on the 20yo as it was just too expensive when converted back (they wanted Ģ100 for it)
These all came from RoyalMile Whiskies..
The Australian duty free allowance means I can take another 2 bottles back into the country without paying tax, so I'm trying to track down a bottle of Stagg, but it seems there is none in the country at the moment (according to one of the shops)
So, I'm not sure what else to get - I may wait until we stopover in Japan on the way home next week to see what I can find....unless anyone here has some suggestions?
Also, can anyone recommend other good shops here to buy bourbon?
I suggest looking at the selections at Vintage House on Old Compton Road, or Milroy in Greek Street, both Soho of course. Milroy is a personal favourite, plus you can taste downstairs those you don't buy.
A friend told me (so I'm not sure if it's true or not, but he does work in Law so it might well be) that the customs restriction for alcohol importing only applies if the bottles are sealed. If brought back as hand luggage or similar (after partial consumption) you won't get slugged with any custom duty.
Might want to investigate if you're tallying up the purchases...
I believe that BT is available in the UK, as is a good proportion of the Eagle Rare bottlings. Maybe try the ER10 101 or SB. Milroy's was suggested by a Buffalo Trace rep as a gret store. Haven't the slightest as to where it is though...
Take a gambol through www.vintagehouse.co.uk (http://www.vintagehouse.co.uk), wow. Over 30 bourbons and other straight whiskies, many not available or common in North America (e.g. Old Samuels, 3 types of "KBD", Johnny Drum, Old Bardstown). Old Fitzgerald 1845 and the Old Fitzgerald 12 year old are available at good prices, so is Rittenhouse Rye (12 pounds sterling, not bad), etc. This is a great spirits store, the Sam's of London, in my opinion. Milroy is good too but different. Both are fun to browse in and they are 10 minutes walk from the other.
Impressive selection. Looks like the prices on the lower priced stuff is pretty close to US except that it is in pounds instead of dollars so that makes it almost double the US in price. The spread on the higher price stuff is a little narrower at about 1 and half times US.
Ended up getting a bottle of Buffalo Trace (from Harrods of all places for a reasonable price) and a couple of minatures from royal mile whiskeys in London..
Am saving room for one (....strech to 2) bottles for what I can find in Japan http://www.straightbourbon.com/forums/images/graemlins/smile.gif
Am still looking for a bottle of Stagg http://www.straightbourbon.com/forums/images/graemlins/smile.gif
Well, here's the final tally. Unfortunately, I didn't find any more bourbons after I left London http://www.straightbourbon.com/forums/images/graemlins/frown.gif
I made the mistake of passing on several good bottles in the hope of finding a Stagg or Sezerac and didn't get anything more.
Here's what I did get though ....
Well, I haven't seen the 10 year in the Family Reserve bottle in Ky. That's an interesting find.
That bottle of 10-year 90 Proof ORVW is only sold in the UK & France. It's a 700ml. We don't have that size bottle in our squat bottle so we put it in the cognac style bottle. It's the same whiskey that is sold in the US.
I had the pleasure of opening this bottle on Saturday night with a small group of family who where with us to celebrate our engagement. It was a truly a remarkable bourbon! I can't begin to say enough good things about this http://www.straightbourbon.com/forums/images/graemlins/bowdown.gif Keeping us from drinking the bottle was a big ask!
We drank it neat in tumbler glasses (I couldn't find the brandy glasses...and I'm still not sure where they are..) In my naive and limited tasting ability (I have a nasty habit of drowning my bourbon in Cola,) I found it a little oily and very smooth. The finish gave a small after-burn, not the nasty burn that I sometimes encounter from straight bourbon and had quite a full (?) flavour left on the tongue.
There are definately many charactaristics that I want to explore with future tastings.
It's a true crying shame that this bourbon isn't readily available in Australia http://www.straightbourbon.com/forums/images/graemlins/frown.gif I've heard and read that the Rye is an even better drop, so it will be a treat to open at some future stage http://www.straightbourbon.com/forums/images/graemlins/laugh.gif
Just returned from 10 days in Belize and Guatemala and the american whiskey selection consists of Jim Beam White and JD....that's all I saw. Also, Southern Comfort was everywhere.....sometimes in the old, white labeled, tax-stamped bottles and occasionally in the 100 proof. I suggested to every bar manager I found that he should drop the JB White completely....nobody is going to drink a JB White as a mixer in Belize.....local rum is the choice there. And, nobody is going to drink JB White straight when there are several single malts to choose from. I suggested adding JB Black or Bookers to offer the many americans , et al a premium whiskey to drink in lieu of the single malts. Most bar managers replied that they sell very little JB White and that offering a better bourbon makes sense....and could stil be mixed by those that wanted to. The bar manager for the Copola resorts actually got on the phone with his supplier while we were talking to inquire about availability. When I poured him a sample of a few bourbons I had brought with me, he shook his head and said now he knows why no one drinks the JB White straight.
Belize Duty Free ...... unremarkable except for the WT Wedgewood decanters at the Belize City airport. $225 US. These boxes were very dusty and have been there a long time.
There you have it folks: Randy Blank, International Bourbonian Ambassadeur to Belize.
I've done a bit of research on those Wedgewood crystal decanters I saw in the Belize Duty Free shop. First, I enquired with WT directly and they didn't have a clue but believed they were produced over 20 years ago. I then contacted a decanter shop in KY.....they hadn't seen a Wedgewood crystal decanter either but had most of the other WT decanters in their inventory. I found this same decanter on the Whisky Exchange (UK) website for sale at 400 pounds incl TT&L ...... that's quite a bit more than $225 US. My guess is that this may have been a product for the UK ....... hence some examples showing up in Belize Duty Free (formerly British Honduras). If anybody has any info, please chime in.
Has anyone been to Singapore recently?
If so, what is available over there?
My Fiance' is heading over next week on a business trip and wants to know what she should pick me up whilst she is there (she's an Angel! http://www.straightbourbon.com/forums/images/graemlins/wink.gif)
There is a DSF Galleria duty-free shop in Singapore's airport:
described as 'frighteningly expensive'. Maybe the in-flight duty-free will be better.
Thanks for the link Tim http://www.straightbourbon.com/forums/images/graemlins/toast.gif
I'm actually thinking I might have better luck finding something different if I send Jen to a shop rather than the airport. When we stopped over on the way to the UK, Raffles had plenty of Four Roses behind the bar...so I'm assuming it is sold somewhere over there (it's not sold in Australia) I don't remember seeing it at the airport when we were there - just the standard Beam / Turkey / JD offerings.
I just returned from Tahiti and some other islands in French Polynesia. Selection at bars included Four Roses Yellow label, Early Times Bourbon (not blended whiskey), Jim Beam Black, and WT 101. I also snagged a couple of bottles of WT Freedom at duty free at LAX airport.
I talk to some people at our Singapore Help Desk frequently and will see if they have any knowledge of bourbon and what is available.
Wouldn't you know it? None of the staff at the help desk are drinkers. However they are trying to find me a web site for an online liquor store there so stay tuned just in case.
Well Jen is home safe and sound from her trip & cruise....
5 days in Singapore, cruising on the Superstar Virgo and shopping in Kuala Lumpa (not sure of the spelling there http://www.straightbourbon.com/forums/images/graemlins/confused.gif)
She didn't see any of the Four Roses I asked her to look for http://www.straightbourbon.com/forums/images/graemlins/frown.gif, but she did pick me up a nice bottle of Wild Turkey Freedom http://www.straightbourbon.com/forums/images/graemlins/laugh.gif I couldn't find any tasting notes posted on this, so I'm not sure what to expect.... http://www.straightbourbon.com/forums/images/graemlins/lol.gif
Freedom is a very nice pour, to my taste it is most similar to Kentucky Spirit, which puts it in very nice company.
I might be living in Japan for the next year and if i go I will definitely need directions to any bottling shops you know about that carry bourbon.
Our own forum member Koji operates Sal's Cafe, a bourbon bar in Japan (Tokyo?):
Sal's Cafe (http://www.salscafe.com/)
The website is mostly in Japanese. The pictures are mostly in bourbon.
Jen is off on a 5 day 'work trip' to London in 2 weeks time http://www.straightbourbon.com/forums/images/graemlins/crazy.gif
I've asked her to pick up another bottle of Van Winkle 13yo Rye http://www.straightbourbon.com/forums/images/graemlins/yum.gif from Royal Mile Whiskies http://www.straightbourbon.com/forums/images/graemlins/smile.gif
I was not sure if I should get a 2nd bottle, or try something else in the same price bracket like a Noah Hill 15yo http://www.straightbourbon.com/forums/images/graemlins/confused.gif
Does anyone have any other recommendations from their site? - www.royalmilewhiskies.com (http://www.royalmilewhiskies.com)
Since bourbons are truly a matter of taste I am always hesitant to recommend something that I like but you might not. Interestingly I'll be in London in a couple of weeks myself but looking at the prices I'll wait until I am in the States in a few weeks to buy more bourbon. But that's just the strength of the Pound.
Here are bourbons I'd recommend -- but I don't know what is readily available in Australia (I'd enjoy investigating that in person http://www.straightbourbon.com/forums/images/graemlins/smile.gif )
Eagle Rare 10 Yr Old -- from Distiller of the Year '05, Whisky Magazine, Buffalo Trace Distillery, this is one of my personal favorites
W.L. Weller 12 year old, a wheated bourbon also from BT, very smooth and my favorite wheated
Four Roses Single Barrel (though maybe you can get this in Australia since it has been until recently a bourbon for Japan) -- "Best of the Best '05" Whiskey magazine, and, yes, I like it.
or why not the Old Rip... 10 year old, if you like what Julian put in the bottle for his rye you should like this one, too
Just a few suggestions
Looks like they have a lot of good bourbobs there. I'm especially fond of Blantons, Rock Hill Farms, Eagle Rare 17, Weller 12yo, and the Four Roses Single Barrel. So many choices! Too bad about the VAT, though.
Looks like they have a lot of good bourbobs there.
Make that "bourbons", not "bourbobs"...Damn, this Van Winkle rye is going to my head tonight!
The bourbob, of course, is a rare and endangered species of songbird, native to Kentucky, that lives only in charred oak trees...
^ i really have got to get me some of what youre drinking! http://www.straightbourbon.com/forums/images/graemlins/icon_pidu.gif
Has anyone ever purchased bourbon in New Zealand?
We are off on our honeymoon there in August and I am wanting to bring back a few bourbons.
I know they have Heaven Hill, and several of the Heaven Hill labels, but am not sure where I can purchase them.
My guess is that, other than these, the market is the same as Australia http://www.straightbourbon.com/forums/images/graemlins/crazy.gif
Regarding Heaven Hill in New Zealand, this will answer part of your question:
Heaven Hill -- New Zealand (http://www.heavenhill.co.nz/)
Not a bad lineup.
Thanks for that Tim.
Unfortunatly, they can't tell me where the retailers are....
I'm also wondering what other 'treats' I might find in New Zealand?? http://www.straightbourbon.com/forums/images/graemlins/confused.gif
High on the priority list of purchases are Elijah Craig 18yo, Evan Williams Bourbon Old Time Jug, OLD Fitzgerald Heritage 12Year, & Rittenhouse Rye Whisky.
Drops I'm not sure about are (firstly..which Old Fitzgerald to buy as they have 40%, 43%, 100 proof & 12yo), TW SAmuals 100 proof, Distillers Pride 4yo, Old Heaven Hill BIB, Evan Williams 1783, Evan Williams Green Label & Evan Williams Red Label.
Found a really fine store in the Soho area of London yesterday......Milroy's of Soho...managed by Matt Harris. Of course there is a fine selection of Scotch Whiskys.....but also for bourbon.
Rock Hill Farms
Van Winkle 12yo, Pappy 15 and Pappy 20
Blanton's Reg, Silver, Gold, Cask Strength (now in my possession)
EW 23yo (99 pounds)
Many of the Kulsveen products
The Beam Collection, of course
and Stagg to arrive shortly.
Matt even was familiar with the recent two different proofs of Stagg......thought it quite funny. He always visits with the Van Winkles when they're in London. Good guy.
Anyway, a fine store with a very knowledgeable manager.
Sounds like Milroys is an awesome store - they certainly have an extensive web site. If everything goes to plan, I'm hoping to get to London again next year. But as it's possibly on the tail end of a US trip in September, I doubt there'll be any room in the bags for buying bourbons in the UK http://www.straightbourbon.com/forums/images/graemlins/grin.gif http://www.straightbourbon.com/forums/images/graemlins/wink.gif
I wish I'd known about their price on EW 23yo though http://www.straightbourbon.com/forums/images/graemlins/crazy.gif
On another note entirely, we've got a friend coming back from Japan for our wedding in a few weeks... I'll be asking if he can look for something for me before he comes back.
I found one of those mystery brands called Kentucky Jack on Mykonos yesterday. Kentucky Jack is "At least three years old".....and bottled in Belgium. Labeled as Kentucky Straight Bourbon Whiskey and comes in a square bottle just like that other Jack. Cost was $14 US. Didn't get it as I don't need anymore cats and dogs for the collection. Did grab several bottles of locally made Ouzo. Hoping to find something interesting at Madrid airport late next week.
My latest pick-ups in New Zealand http://www.straightbourbon.com/forums/images/graemlins/laugh.gif
Whilst not rare in the US, none of these are currently available in the Australian market.....
Whilst not rare in the US, none of these are currently available in the Australian market.....
Cameron, don't be so sure. I have not seen any of those in Ohio.... Nice haul!
Not a one of those is available to me, Cameron.
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