We love whisky, and the UK is very lucky to have lots of different ways of getting access to it. Here’s a few of our favourites:
One of the best ranges of any retailer in the UK, they’re one of our go-to sources for interesting bottles. They’re also personal chums of ours and very supportive of what we do at Whisky Squad.
The chaps at Master of Malt are longtime supporters of Whisky Squad and as well as visiting them a while back to select a Whisky Squad branded bottle in one of their niche series of Boutiquey Whisky Company offerings, we’ve tried many of their own-bottlings and specially selected products (e.g. The Reference Series). Very fine folk, indeed.
The oldest wine & spirit merchant in the UK (est. 1698), BBR have a magnificent spirits selection – presided over by their spirits buyer Rob Whitehead – as well as bottling their own incomparable range of whiskies under the Berry’s Own Selection label. We’re very lucky to count them among our list of friends & supporters, and a visit to their magnificent London shop at No. 3 St James’s Street is absolutely essential for anyone who lives in (or has ever visited) London.
Another of the well-known names in whisky retail, Royal Mile stock a huge range of whisky including some of their own bottlings. Many’s the time we’ve popped into the London shop and grabbed bottles from the chaps there to put into a Squad session.
An independent bottler with many years’ history, Cadenhead’s have a generous online store as well as excellent premises in London, Edinburgh, and in Campbeltown near their Springbank Distillery.
A fantastic little independent store with an online shop crammed with delightful whisky. We’ll often look here if a whisky we’re trying to source has sold out from our main suppliers.
The Scotch Malt Whisky Society
A private members’ club dedicated to sourcing and selling the finest single-cask whiskies (its motto: “Leave no nose upturned!”). Many’s the night we’ve descended on the London clubrooms in Farringdon to sample their wonderful products. A must for anyone passionate about whisky.
Eddie and the team at The Whisky Lounge run whisky tastings in London on a fairly regular basis, and far from being in competition with what we do we love to get along when we can because they always put together great sessions and resonate with our sense of laid-back whisky enjoyment.
The Vintage House
Peep in the door at 42 Old Compton Street and you’ll find an Aladdin’s Cave of whisky – the shelves at the back of the shop need to be seen to be believed. A quirky and older-school shop, they don’t do so much of the online thing however a visit in will be rewarded by a wide range of official bottlings and a very wide range of independent bottlings to give the whisky fan plenty to enjoy.
Soho Whisky Club
Upstairs from The Vintage House is another members’ bar – open Mon-Sat and boasting a range of some 500 whiskies it is a fantastic place to sample drams at prices which won’t make you dizzy. Staffed by a knowledgeable team who can help with recommendations, news, and general badinage it’s another excellent place to enjoy whisky. Members also get (usually free) access to the club tastings which take place every couple of weeks.
Recently relaunched with a refreshed incarnation, Milroy’s started in the 1960s as London’s first specialty whisky shop and now Lee and the team have restored that part of the business and expanded to include a whisky bar on the ground floor and cocktail bar in the downstairs basement. They have a great range of official releases, independent bottlings, and whiskies selected under their own label. Definitely worth a look!
Sassenach’s Dram (Woking)
Nigel and the team in Woking have been running tastings for many years now and have a fine selection of guest presenters who visit them from time to time.
Enthusiastic whisky collector Nik – growing weary of travelling in to Central London for whisky tastings – found a selection of likeminded folk in his home locale of Honor Oak.
For some of the folks of south east London, SE23 was too far, so the SE18 Whisky Society appeared. With Simon Burke-Kennedy at the helm and Squad veteran Tom Finnie slinging the whisky, they’re offering an inclusive and fun club out in Woolwich.
KGV Whisky Society (Brompton)
Tony & Clive of KGV are Whisky Squad regulars and have been instrumental in running their own society away down in Brompton, featuring regular club nights and special guest presenters.
Chiltern Whisky Club (Aylesbury)
Joe and the team in Aylesbury started a tasting group back in late 2013 and are going strong.
The rest of the country
Seems cheeky to mention them twice, but as well as their London tastings they also run regular tasting events in Manchester, Leeds, York, Liverpool, Brighton, and a season of festivals around the whole country as well which are always loads of fun and a great way to meet other whisky fans and try some outstanding juice.
Seemingly serendipitously Andy and the crew up in Manchester started up a whisky tasting group which grew along similar lines to Whisky Squad – they’re all huge enthusiasts first and foremost, and their informal sessions are fun & conversational.
Possibly the club that started it all – way back in 2010 Whisky Squad co-founder Andy attended a Malt’n’Copper session and was inspired to find a massive idiot to do the rest of the legwork (and thus, Whisky Squad was born). Malt’n’Copper run regular tastings in Brighton and from our visits down there we’ve found them friendly, passionate about whisky, and very handy for people who live in Brighton.
A very fine gaggle of folk have been running a club in Glasgow for years now and you can always be assured of great company, great chat, and fantastic whisky when you’re at a GWC session.
Amy and the crew in Birmingham run regular tasting sessions as well as a whisky festival in March which they’ve cunningly named “The Birmingham Whisky Festival”.
Other sites and resources
It was the “one-stop shop” for all things Scotch Whisky, this website (launched in October 2015 and closed in October 2019) featured high-quality magazine content, video, factual/encyclopaedia pages, and loads more. The archives are still available.