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Visit to The Whisky Exchange, Vinopolis Store, London

After I told you in length about my visit to Whisky Live London, I want to tell you about the whisky visit that closed my London whisky activities. Although it has been a month since it happen, I still find it relevant to share my visit to The Whisky Exchange with you, just to give a ‘real’ feel to the shop most of us know only as an online store. Oh, and I’ll try to keep it short this time.

On the Saturday morning, after the visit to Whisky Live, my wife and I, to my request, made a quick stop at Borough Market and then went to the nearby Vinopolis where TEW is located. The plan was to make it a quick visit, as we had other plans for the day, but it ended up as a ‘just over an hour’ stay (meaning I had to make it up).

To enter TWE, one must pass through Laithwaites Wine shop  (where on my first visit to Vinopolis there was a Majestic shop), and after passing crates and shelves filled with wine bottles, the whisky shelves of TWE are revealed. TWE is relatively not very large is size, however, the whisky cabinets placed around the room on every wall, stretch from the floor and up to a height of about three meters. These cabinets are packed with bottles and are organized according to regions (Highlands, Lowlands, Islay and so on). In the middle of the room there are several casks standing with special offer bottles on them, and in one of the corners there are several small casks, each filled with unique expressions of which one can fill a personal bottle (small or large).

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I didn’t purchase any bottles at Whisky Live and was keen on completing the gap at TWE. With the assistant of Chris, a very nice sales person, I started my hunt for the right bottles which will return home with me (limit was three as I didn’t want any issues with Israeli customs). Luckily for me, as it was a rather early hour of the day, the store was practically empty, and Chris’s attention was completely mine.

As I was trying to explain Chris what I was looking for, he started to pour me expressions to try. Usually due to amount of visitors, TWE use small plastic cups to give tastings, but as I asked very nicely Chris poured my tastings in a wine glass borrowed from the next door Vinopolis. One of the thing I was keen of, was getting bottles that were unique to TWE and that I couldn’t purchase other places, on or offline. With that in mind, Chris showed me to the small casks corner, as these were single cask expressions very unique to TWE. Alas, I didn’t take liking to what I tasted, and so we returned to the bottles.

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After another long session of tastings and chatting, decision was made. Three bottles we chosen – Springbank 12YO CS OB, Cragganmore 1985 22YO by Speciality Drinks Ltd (TWE mother company) and an independent bottling of an Islay single malt of which distillery name was not given. However from hints from Chris and after trying it at home I gathered it is an Ardbeg or at least I think it is. This was the only one I didn’t try at the shop, but as I’m an ‘Ileach-holic’, and I like finding interesting Islay IB expressions, and it was the last at the shop, I decided to purchase it.

Before leaving, I had to find out who assisted my father during his visit to London few months back when I sent him to collect two bottles for me (as I wrote about here). I wanted to thank that sales person for the help and also show him the blog posts about those bottles. After I asked Chris about this, Duncan, his colleague recalled it was him, and as by chance another team member was sitting at the computer reading about whiskies, I asked him to go to WhiskyIsrael.co.il and showed them the post. They found this interesting and said they’ll read more late. I do hope they did.

For the finale I asked the guys to stand together for a group shot, as you can see below, with a new batch of Bruichladdie samplers they just received.
From left to right: Hector, Chris, Duncan, Alex and Toby –

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I want to thank Chris and the rest of the guys for excellent service and a good fun hour with them.

As always, thanks to Gal for hosting.

Thanks for reading.

Sláinte,

Shai

5 Comments

  1. I love visits to speciality whisky stores like this. Its a beautiful site to behold. What’s the name of the undisclosed Islay independent bottling you got?

    Thanks for sharing Shai 🙂

  2. Hi Shai,
    Thanks for the praise and lovely post!
    Look forward to seeing you guys next time you’re in London,
    Marc, the bottling is just called Islay Single Malt Whisky (what more do you need to know!??). That’s about all we’re letting you know!
    Chris from TWE

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