As previously mentioned Norway isn’t the cheapest country for whisky in the world. It’s due to this the duty free prices in Norway are among the cheapest – but one or two deals are also available on the domestic marked, if you can afford them.
First a bit about taxes. A quick round up reveals the following taxes for spirits in five European countries for a 46%-bottle – (conversion rates are from october 2007):
- Germany (€4.20)
- Denmark(€6.48 )
- UK (€9.86)
- Sweden (€17.56)
- Norway (€24.54)
Add to this Norway, Sweden and Denmark’s VAT of 25% while Germany has 19% and the UK only 17,5%. Almost six times highes taxes in Norway than Germany for a normal bottle of whisky.
The high taxes tend to make the standard stuff rather expensive, and the cheaper a whisky is to produce the more expensive it will be in Norway compared to many others (UK (RMW) – DEN (Juuls) – NOR (Vinmonopolet):
- Ardbeg TEN: €35.18 – €48,68 – €62.46
- Glenmorangie 10: €34.62 – €38.01 – €49.96
- Highland Park 12: €35.18 – €35.34 – €51.21
Enter one of the advantages of having a monopoly running the alcohol sales – mark up. The government run alcohol monopoly isn’t really allowed to make much money so the mark up tend to be on the small side. Last time I checked the Vinmonopolet’s highest allowed margin was around 30% or €12 (which ever is lower). So awhile taxes take a huge toll on what normally is categorized a reasonable priced whisky, the expensive stuff benefits from the limitations put on the margins. While a whisky shop in Europe might take €100-200 in margin on a bottle that retails for €300-400, Vinmonopolet only can add their €12. If I’d written this one year ago, the Norwegian prices would have been 10-20% lower. The last the NOK has strengthened itself against most currencies, making Norwegian prices higher compared to those from abroad (UK (RMW) – DEN (ass) – NOR (Vinmonopolet):
- Highland Park 30: €232.87 – €263.41 – €236.67
- Glenmorangie Margaux Finish: €245.46 – €266.07 – €249.75
- Johnnie Walker Blue Label: €202.59 – €184.32 – €149.80
The belief that there are huge saving to be made abroad tend to leave some of the more expensive whiskies hanging around a bit longer in Norway than else where. These whiskies include:
- Laphroaig 30
- Springbank 25
- Springbank 32
- Ardbeg 1974 (for Norway, AFAIK)
- Brora 30
- Laphroaig 25
So looking for a bottle of long gone whisky? Try Norway.