What Everyone's Buying in Tasmania: Single Malt Whisky
Welcome to "What Everyone's Buying," a new series on souvenirs, wherein we investigate what tourist trinkets are the hottest selling in hotspots around the world.
Open the duty-free catalog in your seatback pocket. Flip past the cosmetics, watches and cigarettes, and what's left? Booze, and lots of it.
Alcohol and travel have gone hand-in-hand throughout history, from rum runners in the West Indies to the Highland Malt Whisky which was, at times, the only thing keeping Ernest Shackleton's men sane during their expeditions in the Antarctic.
Speaking of Antarctica, Tasmania's location at 42° S latitude puts it into a last-stop-before-Antarctica position, and the climate and terrain is reminiscent of the Scottish highlands. In other words, it's ideal for the production of what's become a Tasmanian mainstay: cask-aged, single malt whisky. Tassie whisky even took the top spot in the World Whiskies Awards 2014, which didn't come as much of a surprise to Tasmanians who've always known they're drinking the highest quality.
Heck, there's even a Whisky Trail to taste at the distilleries themselves, if you're stuck for itinerary ideas around Tasmania.
Where to buy: In the Salamanca neighborhood of central Hobart, we hit up the Cellar Doors (retail/bar) for two Tasmanian whisky producers: Nant and Lark Distillery.
It was at Nant we had the booziest, most educational time with Tassie whisky, and we ended up taking a bottle of the French Oak Port Wood variety to go. A 500ml bottle (from $165) is appropriate for 25 standard drinks, whereas the travel-size 50ml ($20) version will make a good 1.7 (or 2 drinks, if you want to even it out).
If only the flights from Tasmania to mainland Australia counted for duty-free purchases!
[Photos: Cynthia Drescher/Jaunted]