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Pete Lingen, manager of the Canadian PX, tucked away near NATO Army headquarters on Campbell Barracks, is proud of his fine selection of scotch whiskey and reasonable prices.

Pete Lingen, manager of the Canadian PX, tucked away near NATO Army headquarters on Campbell Barracks, is proud of his fine selection of scotch whiskey and reasonable prices. (Nancy Montgomery)

Tucked away near NATO’s Army Headquarters on Campbell Barracks, under the red maple leaf sign and down a flight of steps, is a small store with friendly people and some unbelievably friendly prices.

ID and ration-card holders, welcome to the Canadian post exchange, which specializes in a wide array of liquor.

“Especially scotch,” said PX manager Pete Lingen. “We have quite a scotch selection compared to the Class 6, eh?”

The PX has everything from bar scotch to 30-year-old Glenfiddich, which sells for 92 euros, or $120.50. In Canada, the same bottle would cost upwards of $300 (Canadian), or about $267 (U.S.), Lingen said.

On a visit to compare prices, the Class 6 store in Heidelberg didn’t have the 30-year-old scotch in stock; but the 18-year-old Glenfiddich was selling for $99.75.

Another big seller is good old American Jack Daniels, at 14.10 euros ($18.47) for 1.14 liters and 19.75 euros ($25.87) for 1.75 liters. Once again, the Class 6 is higher: $23 for the smaller bottle, $34.50 for the larger.

Then there’s the Beefeater’s, the British gin that won a New York Times taste test a couple of years ago, beating out Tanqueray, Bombay and Boodles. It’s just 10.50 euros ($13.75) for the same liter that would cost $17.99 in the States, and $17.10 at the Class 6.

Why the Canadian PX prices are so good isn’t really clear. Lingen said he believed that part of the reason was that the liquor at the U.S. Class 6 stores all came from the U.S., while his store got some of its inventory from Europe and Canada, and was untaxed.

Some things are best left unpondered, such as the fact that cigarettes here cost 1.60 euros ($2.04) a pack and that one can also buy Cuban cigars here.

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Nancy is an Italy-based reporter for Stars and Stripes who writes about military health, legal and social issues. An upstate New York native who served three years in the U.S. Army before graduating from the University of Arizona, she previously worked at The Anchorage Daily News and The Seattle Times. Over her nearly 40-year journalism career she’s won several regional and national awards for her stories and was part of a newsroom-wide team at the Anchorage Daily News that was awarded the 1989 Pulitzer Prize for Public Service.

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