Wednesday, 5 September 2012

Looking forward to the Duty Free - amongst other things!


This is likely to be the last you hear from me for a couple of weeks. I got married at the end of August, but of course I fully intend to tell you all about it later, so keep an eye out for it.

After the wedding of course, comes the honeymoon. My wife and I will be spending ten days driving around the beautiful island of Ibiza. Aside from all the usual things people look forward to about their honeymoons, I am also particular excited about hitting the booze shops and the duty free – though of course I’m aware that ‘duty free’ doesn’t really exist within the European Union anymore.

I have learned from 101 Whiskies To Try Before You Die – a book Brenda bought me that I’ll provide a full report on in due course – that Duty Free isn’t just a place to pick up slightly cheaper litre bottles of standard supermarket fare. Sure, I’ve seen the presentation boxes of Johnny Walker Blue Label selling for hundreds of pounds, but what I didn’t realise was that there are some whiskies that are most commonly found, or only available in Duty Free. With that in mind, I have been saving a small fund for buying a special bottle of whisky on my return. I’ve saved £50, and I think I’ll be prepared to add a further £30 to that if necessary. That should buy something pretty special.

I know £50 doesn’t sound like a lot for a working guy to save, but be reasonable! Yes, I could afford to spend £100 on a bottle of whisky if I wanted, but you have to maintain some perspective – that would probably the first step towards the end of my marriage. It’s only 70cl of whisky, and if it’s good, I would drink it in a month or less. I don’t know how people justify spending large sums on single bottles of booze, but I can’t reconcile those sums with what you’re actually getting and with the expenses and responsibilities you have in every day life. £100 can buy lots of other things. Therefore my solution is to slowly save a fund that isn’t ever intended to buy anything else. Then, eventually I can buy a special (expensive) bottle of booze, guilt-free.

Some Duty Free shops are obviously better than others, and I can’t recall what the one at Ibiza airport is like, but I’m looking forward to having a good root around. It will be the first time I’ve gone Duty Free shopping with a budget to spend – usually it’s the end of the holiday and you might have a few euros left, but nothing’s as cheap as you’d like it to be.

My primary target is to be the Highland Park 21 years old. It is exclusive to Duty Free, is described in the book as the best of all the Highland Park expressions ( I did enjoy the 12 year old), and is an impressive 47.5% ABV - if you can get the right one. Supposedly it was produced at 40% for a bit, but should be available at the full 47.5% again by now.

If they don’t have the full strength version, I’ve got back ups. There’s the Dewar’s 12 Year Old and Cutty Sark, which aren’t exclusive to Duty Free, but apparently aren’t so easy to find in shops in the UK. If there’s nothing on my shortlist available, I’ll just take a chance. I’m sure I’ll be able to find something to get excited about. Just don’t drop it.

Outside of Duty Free, there’s the prospect of picking up some nice Spanish stuff. You never really know what of the local booze is going to be available in Duty Free, so I’m thinking of hitting the shops around the island and getting perhaps something for drinking during the holiday, and some things to bring back. It would be nice to get another bottle of Licor 43 or Cardinal Mendoza brandy, or maybe something else entirely.

Being a fan of grappa, I’d be interested in picking up some orujo, which is similar, I’ve read. Then there’s the Hierbas Ibicencas, which is an aniseedy drink that comes with twigs in the bottle. Brenda brought  a bottle of that back for me last time she went, and I wouldn’t mind getting another one.

Outside of booze, it might be time to get another football shirt, too. I’m just not sure my budget will stretch that far - £50 on booze or £50 on a football shirt? I’m starting to lean towards the booze.

Of course, booze is only a small part of the honeymoon experience. I’m very much looking forward to spending all my time with Brenda, lazing on beaches, eating in restaurants and doing all the things newlyweds do - whatever they are…

Sooo… I’ll see you on my return, hopefully with a nice tan and plenty of stories. Try not to miss me too much.

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