Liquor, sometimes also called hard liquor or spirit is a type of alcoholic beverage created through distillation. Distillation removes a percentage of the diluting components such as water, which results in a higher alcohol content (described as alcohol by volume, or ABV).
The category of liquors includes beverages such as vodka, whisky and gin, but not beer and wine, as the latter are only fermented but not distilled afterwards. Distillation may be done in megadistilleries or microdistilleries, which is becoming ever more popular.
UPDATE: Coupon codes for duty-free liquor are at the bottom! Scroll down to get the temporary coupon codes, while they are still valid. New coupon codes are posted regularly.
The difference between liquor and liqueur
Liquor and liqueur are not quite the same, despite the very similar spelling. Liqueurs are alcoholic drinks made from distilled spirits by adding various flavors such as fruits, cream or nuts.
Liquors and liqueurs can be quite difficult to distinguish, as liquors today also come in many variations, such as citrus flavored vodka. The main difference is that liqueurs have a lower alcohol content (15-30% ABV) and are usually rather sweet.
Liqueurs also differ from fruit brandies and eaux-de-vie in their syrupy consistency and added sugar. Some of the most famous liqueur brands include Tia Maria, Baileys and Grand Marnier.
Duty-free liquor – buying cheap liquor online tax-free
Airport duty-free shops are a very popular choice among those looking to buy liquors. They tend to have a wide selection of liquors local to the country they are located in, such as Ouzo or Limoncello.
Also, many believe that buying liquor at duty-free shops is the cheapest option available. Duty-free liquor could, in theory, be cheaper than other kinds of stores, as they are exempt from VAT and other types of taxes.
However, this is often not the case!
Due to the differences in exchange rates and the high profit margins, the prices or liquors at airport duty-frees are often higher than those you can find at regular brick and mortar retailers.
/This is true for cigarettes, for example. See the price comparison of cigarettes here./
Luckily, there are more options from buying cheap duty-free liquor than airport shops. Online duty-free shops selling from bonded warehouses are also exempt from the aforementioned taxes, and can be much cheaper than regular duty-frees and brick and mortar stores.
/Apart from checking the prices themselves, you should also be mindful that buying liquor is not legal in every country. Make sure you are not breaking the law. Also, you must be 18+ to purchase liquor online./
Duty free liquor – price comparison
Liquor prices vary from country to country as well as by brand, but there are recognizable tendencies describing which are the best ways to buy cheap liquors. To illustrate the differences, I chose the prices of 1 litre of Bacardi White Rum.
|$20, subject to exchange rates|
|$ 13.99, but this is only for 0,7 litre, the price of 1 litre is $20.|
As you can see, airport duty-frees are, in this case among the best options. A bottle of liquor can cost the same as a bottle at a local retailer. Online duty-frees are usually somewhat cheaper than their airport counterparts, but that is not the case here.
Temporary promotions can, of course, change the order, and if you can catch a deal (see the coupon codes at the bottom of the page!) or order in bulk, the online duty-free can even prove to be the better option.
This illustrates quite well the importance of comparing prices in each product category (check the price comparison of other product categories as well). There are many product categories, which are indeed the cheapest in online duty-free shops (e.g.: cigarettes, tobacco products, perfumes etc…), you can find them here.
Buying liquor online
Although in this case buying liquor online has not proven to be the cheapest way, there are still several advantages to ordering online.
There are several country- or region-specific, or simply more exotic liquors that are not available at most local liquor stores. By ordering online, you can circumvent this problem, as online liquor stores usually have a wide selection of brands available.
Buying liquor online is also more convenient than buying it in brick and mortar stores, as you can order online, from the comfort of your home. Do note, however, that while the online duty-free liquor store I recommend offers free international shipping, many online liquor stores do not!
Duty-free allowances for liquor
Certain countries may seize your order if it exceeds the limit on duty-free products. The UK and the US are two countries where this happens quite often. In those two countries we definitely do not recommend ordering more than the duty-free allowance.
You can find the duty-free allowances for liquor here: Duty-free, tax-free guide with allowances (sorted by country).
Legal issues with buying liquor online
Buying liquor online from the online duty-free liquor store recommended here or from most other online liquor stores is, in general perfectly legal. However, certain countries and states have regulation that affects whether you may order liquor online or not, and if yes, how much.
If you go against regulations within your country, your shipment may be seized. Should this happen, contact the retailer you bought the liquor from; even if it was uninsured several online duty-free shops offer some form of recompense. It is better, however, to check the local regulation before buying liquor online, especially when buying in bulk.
The shop I use offers a form of insurance to protect buyers. If you decide to pay some extra, your order will be guaranteed to be delivered again if it happens to be seized by customs, free of charge. I strongly suggest using this insurance if you bulk order.
Duty-free liquor coupon codes
Duty-free shops regularly offer discount codes for liquor and other products. You can find the latest coupon codes here.
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Last updated: 2016-09-05
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