Whisky Wednesday Visits “Hard to Find Whisky” – Scotch Whisky News
On Sunday the 9th November I was invited to Birmingham’s Hard To Find Whisky, the UK’s largest whisky specialist retailer, for a bloggers day.
The new shop is located in the Jewellery Quarter, one of the city’s most historic areas. The frontage exudes style and luxury with a modern glass door and marble steps leading in. The entrance area alone displays some seriously rare Johnnie Walker bottlings and a huge variety of rare Jack Daniel’s bottles.
Once inside, it’s hard not to be impressed. Over 22 units there are displayed 3,500 bottles, from entry level Grants’ blend to their jewel in the crown bottling, the Macallan 1928 50 Year Old, on sale at £35,000. It is clear from spending an afternoon in this shop that this really is a place for real whisky enthusiasts.
During the afternoon we were treated to some lovely food, masterclasses, a tour of the most rare and collectable bottles, and a competition where we had to guess the whisky we were drinking! It turned out to be a rather fantastic 17 Year Old Clynelish bottled by Gordon & MacPhail.
One thing that really sets Hard To Find Whisky apart from other whisky retailers is their huge range of masterclasses. So far they have 14 masterclasses on offer, but owner, Jason Kirby, is already planning to increase this number to offer more and more. During a masterclass in the afternoon I was poured five whiskies without them telling me what they were. The idea behind this is that the experts at the shop pick out flavours and build up your palate without any outside influence from the bottle design/label. I personally think this is a great way of tasting whisky as it challenges you to put aside any preconceptions of what you think you know about a certain bottle/distillery! It’s also perfect for beginners to whisky appreciation. The masterclasses range from £20 for the beginners class to £1000 for the ‘Whiskies Most Wanted’ class. Every single masterclass includes a rare bottle and the Japanese whisky masterclass includes the very much sought after Yamazaki Sherry Cask, which has recently been named the world’s best whisky by Jim Murray. Owner Jason Kirby clearly wants people to drink whisky as well as invest and collect. When he spoke about growing the number of masterclasses he said he wants to put on a masterclass where you get to taste all 14 Port Ellen official releases, the Black Bowmore and maybe even the Macallan 1928 50yo! There is nowhere in the UK where you can experience this level of tasting class at a whisky shop.
Overall I was incredibly impressed with the shop, the vast array of whiskies on offer and the attention to detail given to making it a whisky-lovers paradise. It’s a great addition to the whisky scene of the UK and anyone who loves drinking, collecting, buying or just talking about whisky should pay them a visit. I will definitely be back!