Don’t think you like whisky? I wasn’t crazy about it, either, until after our first visit to Scotland. Drinking the national drink in the place that it was made gave me a new appreciation for the wide range of subtle flavors in good whisky.
Since then, my love of whiskey has expanded to other types of whiskey from countries all over the world.
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The shops listed below are great places to dip your feet into the world of good whisky or to dive right in if you are already a whisky lover.
Cadenhead’s Whiskey; Royal Mile, Edinburgh, Scotland: This little shop on Edinburgh’s Royal Mile was our first stop on the road to loving Scotch whisky. When we went in, we were whisky virgins. We had no idea what we liked or where to start.
The staff here took us under their wing and got us started in the right direction, with a few sample bottles to try and see what we liked.
We have been back here on a number of occasions since then, and the staff is always just as helpful and friendly as they were on that first visit. When you walk into the store, you get the feeling that you are among old friends (and indeed, many of the patrons seem to be on a quite familiar basis).
Make sure to take home a bottle of one of their cask strength whisky blends (bottled right from the cask in the store!) It makes a great and unique souvenir or gift.
Royal Mile Whiskies; Edinburgh and London: This whisky shop has a stellar collection of whisky from all over the world! We love coming here because we love to buy whisky that we can’t purchase in the US, and they have a great selection of some of the more rare whisky finds from smaller, lesser known distilleries.
The staff are very knowledgeable about what they sell (they seem to be fond of whisky themselves) and they are happy to make recommendations based on your tastes and preferences.
When we stopped into the Edinburgh location on our last trip to Scotland, they were extremely helpful in arranging to ship our four bottles back to the US which saved us from having to pack them in our suitcase AND saved us from paying the VAT tax (which more than made up for the cost of the shipping!)
The Whiskey Exchange; London: We stopped here on a whim on a recent visit to London (because we happened to be in the vicinity, on the South side of the Thames, not far from London Bridge) and I was quite surprised with their vast selection.
While it doesn’t quite have the atmosphere of the first two suggestions that I made, they do have an impressive selection of not only Scotch whisky, but a vast plethora of good whisky from countries all over the world (ever think of drinking French whiskey…it is actually pretty good!)