As my friends and relatives can you tell you, I cant pass a liquor store without going in and checking out its selection. Usually, its just a quick scan of the shelves and Im on my way but every once in a while, Ill find something special nestled between old favorites. Its those rare discoveries that drive me to keep searching. (Who knows what dusty and unique bottles are still out there?) And one of my favorite places to find unusual spirits is while Im abroad. Foreign liquor stores and duty free shops are stocked with an interesting array of bottles that arent sold in the U.S. Here are seven to look out for this summer if youre traveling internationally. Theyre so good you just might want to save room in your suitcase and pack some bubble wrap.
Havana Club Rum 7-Year-Old Rum $30
Adventurous drinkers and bartenders used to smuggle home bottles of Cuban Havana Club Rum in their luggage from outside U.S. borders. But thanks to the loosening restrictions surrounding Cuba, you can now legally bring home Havana Club from Cuba as well as any foreign airport. The 7-year-old is a steal at $30 or less. The rich and complex is delicious on its own or in a classic Daiquiri.
Patrn Cask Collection Sherry Anejo Tequila $90
Love tequila? Than you need to keep an eye out for this special limited-edition bottling from Patrn. The tequila, which is right now only available in duty free, is aged for two years in former oloroso sherry casks. The resulting spirit is very smooth and features dried fruit notes that Scotch drinkers will certainly recognize and appreciate.
Teeling Single Cask Irish Whiskey $88
Its hard to leave Dublin without bring home some whiskey. If youre flying out of Dublin or Cork airport be sure to pick up a bottle of the Teeling Single Cask. The whiskey is sold exclusively at the airport and changes every couple of months. This summer youll find a 14-year-old that was aged completely in old port barrels. Just dont delay: The brand expects the 700 bottles to sell out by mid-August.
Highland Park Harald Single Malt Scotch $100
Highland Park, which is one Scotlands most northern distilleries, has extended its duty-free Warrior Series collection with the release of Harald. The single malt whisky has been aged in American oak and European oak barrels that have both previously held sherry. The unique maturation process creates a Scotch with a range of baking spice notes.
Plantation Rum Guyana 2005 $67
If youll be in Europe and Asia its worth checking liquor stores for this special pot still rum from Plantation. The brand starts by aging it for seven years in old bourbon barrels in Guyana. Its then sent to France and finished for two years in Cognac barrels. At 90-proof its big enough to stand up to mixers but is complex enough to be sipped neat or on the rocks.
Hendricks Orbium Gin
A couple of months ago, Hendricks Gin shocked the cocktail world by announcing the introduction of its first brand extension: Orbium. The gin, which comes in a stunning cobalt blue bottle, adds the essence of wormwood, quinine and blue lotus flower to its standard recipe that famously features cucumber and rose petals. Right now, Orbium can only be found in UK bars and restaurants, which is an added bonus for any travelers crossing the pond.