Specialist Whisky Shops
Specialist Whisky Shops
“The Whisky Exchange” in Covent Garden, (nearest tube stations: Leicester Square or Charing Cross),
Whenever I am in London I make a point of visiting my two favourite specialist UK whisky shops outside of Scotland. The first is “The Whisky Exchange” in Covent Garden, where they stock almost everything on the whisky market today. They also have one of the best Whisky Internet sites on the Web and there is always someone available online to chat for advice. It is well worth a visit to the shop if only to see the rare Port Ellens and Broras sitting in the glass cases at price tags that look like telephone numbers. Generally, their prices seem to be the cheapest in London but it is worth checking as there are exceptions.
The most notable bottling I bought there was the excellent and very rare "Caol Ila Natural Cask Strength" which I have been unable to find anywhere else.
“The Grapevine”, 90 Oldhill Street, Stamford Hill.
The second specialist shop I frequent is “The Grapevine”, the Kosher wine store at 90 Oldhill Street, Stamford Hill in the heart of the old Chasidishe London community shopping parade. There you will find a truly excellent stock of single malts, sometimes cheaper than The Whisky Exchange and often stocking bottles which have long since sold out everywhere else. It can be worth phoning about 24 hours ahead if you are after something specific as they don’t stock the entire range in the store and keep rarer expressions in their machsan. They also have an excellent Internet site. Speaking Yiddish could be an advantage but certainly not a necessity. The owner, Dovid when not swept off his feet on Erev Shabbos or Erev Yom Tov is very friendly and always willing to answer questions.
The most notable bottling which I bought there was the Bruichladdich Octomore 6.1 which was not only £20 cheaper than the distillery itself but the only shop in London which had this slightly older expression in stock.
“Yeinot VeTaamim” (“Wine& Flavors”) at 4 Derech Jabotinsky, Ramat Gan.
Here in Israel, the only truly specialist whisky shop I am aware of is “Yeinot VeTaamim” where you will find single malts that you will not be able to find anywhere else in Israel.
יינות וטעמים “Yeinot VeTaamim” (“Wine & Flavors”) at 4 Derech Jabotinsky, Ramat Gan. It is quite easy to get there, just off of the Ayalon highway inside a petrol station. Coming from Yerushalayim, (traveling north) you set your GPS/Waize to the above address and after turning off at the Arlozorov turnoff, keeping to the far right hand lane the whole time, at about 300 metres up you will see a petrol station on your right. You drive into the petrol station and park either on the left, before the petrol pumps or on the right, outside the shop entrance.
They have a good Internet site but it doesn’t seem to be updated very often so will show whiskies long since out of stock and won’t show whiskies they do have in stock. My advice is if you are looking for something particular, phone beforehand or go there with a certain amount of money to spend in mind and see what goodies they happen to have in stock on that day. The owner, Osher, orders whisky from all over the world, sometimes only one or two bottles so it’s always worth popping in while in the area just to see what is new.
Prices for these specialist whiskies are on average some 25% more expensive compared to London prices but there are exceptions. It is worth taking your time and checking prices on the Whisky Exchange or KosherWineuk sites on your smart phone. Sometimes I have not bought even something I really wanted to try as the price was far more than in London. On the other hand, I have found real bargains at very similar prices to that in the UK.
Good Advice: Buyer Beware, Buyer take care.
For some reason though, the prices at “Yeinot VeTaamim” for more popular and widely found whiskies such as the Tomintouls and The Glenlivets etc, tend to be much more expensive than many regular wine shops so please always check prices before buying.
Just some whiskies I have purchased there and could not find anywhere else in Israel have been:
Glencadam 21 Year Old, 46% abv, NCF, NC.
Tamnavulin 12 Year Old, rare bottling from 1994. 40% abv.
Lagavulin 12 Year Old 2013, Special Limited Release, Cask Strength 56.1% abv. NCF, NC.
Lagavulin 8 Year Old Limited Edition 200th Anniversary, 48% abv.
Caol Ila 25 Year Old, 43% abv.
Deanston 18 Year Old Kentucky Bourbon Finish, 46.3% abv. NCF, NC.
BenRiach 16 Year Old, 43% abv.
Last week I reviewed the Deanston 18 so this week it is the turn of the BenRiach 16. Be’ezrat Hashem I’ll get round to reviewing them all, time permitting.