London should have been a massive ‘score’ for the Whisky Lady… however we had such a hectic thoroughly engaged time, there was narry a chance for whisky. Yeah… I know.. seriously. No excuse really acceptable but there you have it!
So I did what all folks do… checked out the airport duty-free offerings.
Here is the challenge… for us merry malt samplers, we are always seeking something ‘new’. Particularly when traveling, it is our ‘duty’ to help supply something less accessible for our fellow adventurers back home from the world of whisky. Which means we don’t completely dismiss duty-free options, however they tend to not quite satisfy the craving for something ‘different’.
First stop in London Heathrow Terminal 4 was the standard duty-free store with a rather limited selection.
Next stop was the wee World of Whisky outlet in the same terminal. A quick glance confirmed that while there were a few more options, none jumped out as ‘must have!’
The fellow there tried to be helpful however I must have seemed like a complete ‘bevri‘ (that’s a female drunk for those who don’t speak Hindi)… as most ‘interesting’ whiskies he suggested were all previously tried…
So then he started cracking open the distiller samples to tempt with:
- Mortlach NAS (We’ve tried the 15 before)
- Cragganmore (Ditto for the 12, however he pulled out another one which didn’t make the cut)
- Dalmore cigar whisky (Interesting but not worth the price)
- Aultmore 12 and 21 year (New to our whisky tasting group so a possibility)
- Kilchoman (I simply didn’t have the heart to tell him we had a terrific whisky dinner pairing with Kilchoman‘s master distiller Anthony Wills and his lovely wife in Mumbai)
With triumph, he then said “I know! I guarantee you haven’t tried this one! Though I don’t have a bottle open to try…”
That’s when he drew my attention the KininVie 17 year. He couldn’t believe I bought a bottle last year in Singapore as it was new to their stock. I confessed that I’ve yet to open it… however thanks to Ronald of Whiskyriffic, there is a wee sample sitting in my cupboard awaiting attention.
I was seriously tempted by the Linkwood 1988 however the price was steep. I’ll probably regret that decision, but there you have it.
You will know what I DID pick up from future reviews. However all in all it either proved our wee whisky tasting group in Mumbai has acquired a reasonable range of whiskies over the years or the selection was particularly limited.
We single malt drinkers can truly be a ‘promiscuous‘ lot, always seeking a new and interesting partner to dance with before moving on to the next twirl around the dance floor with another partner…
Would you agree?
Pssst…. Since July I have indeed sampled the KininVie, plus the two I picked up:
- Kilchoman Coull Point Iis now my ‘everyday’ favourite dram and
- We sampled the Aultmore 18 year at our November tasting session!
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Nice blog as always! You’re right about us Whiskovites (I’m trying something different) always looking for something new. Last time I went through Gatwick airport I’d done my research only to throw the list away and buy the new Bowmore Black Rock. I had no idea if it was any good, and they weren’t offering any free tastings but it was all shiny, fresh and unexpected. But I’m not surprised that you struggled to find anything to tempt you. ‘World Duty Free’ and ‘World of Whisky’ seem to be getting more and more NAS releases (Black Rock a case in point) and less and less interesting vintages. It’s like the distilleries are offloading younger spirit on a captive travelling market and selling the good stuff elsewhere. Anything marketed as “exclusive” in UK airports can usually be found in Dutch online whisky shops for less money. Nevertheless you can sometimes find a gems or two. I’m going to Gatwick in a few weeks and I’ve got my sights set on the Glenmorangie Dornoch and Duthac. NAS again but reviews suggest they’re pretty good (and the airports have the best prices, amazingly!).
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Keep me posted on your explorations! I also had a lovely list to hit specialty stores in London… then never had the time/opportunity. I’m still wondering if I should have grabbed the Linkwood… it was the only one that was truly ‘unique’ there. 🙂
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Don’t feel bad about London. I live on the outskirts but I haven’t been there in years! I’m sure you’ll have another opportunity. I’m intending to join the SMWS as a Christmas present, which will force me to visit London next year to drop into their club (also plan to visit their venues in Edinburgh and Leith). Sooo, when in London I will have to visit the Cadenhead and Soho whisky shops (probably two on your list?). I will remember to take my camera!
As a Linkwood fan, I’m sure the 1988 would have tempted me too. But, as a canny Scot, it would have depended on the price. The G&M 25-year-old is about £80-£90 and the Whiskybroker did a fantastic 26-year-old, cask strength Linkwood this year for £65. With so many interesting whiskies in the world to try, you were probably wise to resist.
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Nice Christmas present! And yes – you caught two that were on my list to visit… 🙂
As for the Linkwood, the price was £130 or more? All I know is I went gaaakh!
However my bigger challenge is that prices in Singapore (nearest market to Mumbai with a decent selection) are very steep. So…. my being wise is all relative. 🙂