What can’t I find anywhere else?


This may come as a shock to some of you but writing for Edinburgh Whisky Blog is not what I do to pay to the bills. Sadly due to the pressures of the capitalist society we live in I also have to hold down a regular job. Luckily the way things are going financially in the world right now means that money might soon be meaningless and then I can simply trade my way through life ,living like a king, with copies of the Beano that I’ve been keeping since I was seven years old. I knew, even then, that I couldn’t trust the banks. Until that happens I will just have to continue with my life as it is. By day I’ll be the unassuming assistant manager of a whisky retailer within the beautiful city of Edinburgh. By night, a masked whisky warlock, whose only weapons are a laptop and the ability to use the spell check facility to a near satisfactory level. I don’t have to wear a mask. I just like to. I sometimes wear a cape too…

There is a reason I mention my job. Honestly. Working in a whisky shop here in Edinburgh you get a bit of a mix when it comes to clientele. You’ll see your fair share of locals and collectors but your bread and butter comes from tourists visiting Scotland’s capital city. Whisky is an export product and the people coming to Scotland want to know all about it. There is one question I get asked more than any other. A fair question that really doesn’t have a simple answer.

“What whisky can I get here that I can’t get anywhere else?”

They don’t mean products in my shop in particular. People want a whisky that is only sold in Scotland. Tough times if you’ve then got to work through your whisky memory banks and grasp at what you can only half guarantee is the right product for them. I’ll try my best. I’ll get you something but if you really want to get hold of something you won’t get elsewhere you’re going to have to travel a bit further afield. You’re going to have to pack up your travel sacks and head off to a distillery.

That is exactly what myself and the young, but wise, Mr. Graeme Gardiner did a few weeks ago. We headed west on a journey that made ‘The Lord of the Rings’ look like a trip to the shops. Our destination was the beautiful Glengoyne distillery set in the rolling hills of the southern Highlands. We’ve had adventures here before. Let Chris tell you about that here.

This time Glengoyne wanted to show off their shiny new shop and updates to their visitor centre. If you ever get a chance to visit I’d recommend it. Such a nice place, lovely staff and everyone really knows their stuff. The shop is now much bigger and better lit. I loved it before but now it really is something of a showpiece as well. They also showed us their new film about the distillery. Highlights included subtitles being used so that the visitors from elsewhere in the world could understand some of what was being said through the thick accent of the west coast of Scotland. Speaking pure ‘west-coast-scots-like-pal’ through years of having friends here it proved no problem to me. I do struggle with well spoken English though.

What jumped out at me were the range of distillery only whiskies we got to try; four different whiskies, only available at the Glengoyne distillery. One of these was the ‘Tea Pot Dram’. This whisky was a throwback to the whiskies distillery workers were given at different times of the day. It was fantastic! There will be a full review of that online soon. We also tried single cask 14 and 24 year olds. Again, excellent quality. Always nice to try a whisky the same age as yourself (I’ve since turned 25. Sad times.)


The thing that really got me though was the whisky we tried in the shop. At Glengoyne distillery you have a chance to bottle your own whisky. In the shop they have a cask that you can then bottle, label and cork yourself. Pretty darn awesome I think! When we visited, the cask was an American Oak first fill hogshead from June 2000. Ex sherry of course, this is Glengoyne we’re talking about here. It was cask number 1016, fact fans! For 75 of your British pounds you can honestly own a whisky that there will only be a few hundred bottles of. In fact it’s better than that- your name is on the bottle! Whip that out a dinner party and it’s going to take some fickle friends not to feel impressed. As I said, me and Graeme got the chance to try it and here’s what we thought:


Glengoyne Shop cask 1016
£75.00 available at distillery only

Nose: Extremely rich with loads of treacle and toffee notes. Reminds of Werthers’s original sweets and rum fudge.

Palate: Sticky toffee pudding! Although it’s an angry sticky toffee pudding. One that will knock you flat on your ass.

Finish: Surprisingly short. Rich and warm but fading away quickly.

Thanks to Graeme for jotting down those tasting notes. We didn’t have long to try it. Sadly no chance to add water either… oh well! Really nice dram though and I honestly think it is worth the money, if only for the fact of getting to bottle it yourself. A rare chance indeed.

It is always too soon to leave a nice place like Glengoyne. Really is some of the best scenery around. We did have to go though and then we made our way back to Edinburgh. Back to reality. Back to work.

In a nutshell, if you really, really want a whisky you can’t find elsewhere there are brilliant whisky shops out there. They have great staff and they will give you great service and do everything they can to make you happy. However, sometimes the odds are against them. Official small batch whisky only sold in Scotland is honestly hard to come by. If you find it in a shop there is nothing to stop someone buying a couple of bottles and then selling it back where they’re from anyway. Something like what Glengoyne are doing is catering to your needs and you need to make an effort to visit places like it if what you came here simply to get is a whisky you won’t find elsewhere. Otherwise you’re just going to have to put your trust in someone like me. Scary- I know!


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