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London Spirits Run


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Hello all,

NYer traveling shortly to London. Am looking for the best selection/priced liquor stores to visit to pick up unusual items. Where do I definitely want to go, please? (Also, any suggested things to purchase? I know I'm looking for not-#1-Pimm's and creme de violette for starters...)

Thank you in advance!

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If you are looking for unusual items and don't mind being slightly overcharged, Harrod's has a methusalem of Dom Pérignon available, which it touts as the only one available in the UK.

Apart from the bottle, your £4500 also buys the metal shipping crate it's encased in but no flunky to help lug it back to the hotel.

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  • 2 weeks later...
Hello all,

NYer traveling shortly to London.  Am looking for the best selection/priced liquor stores to visit to pick up unusual items.  Where do I definitely want to go, please?  (Also, any suggested things to purchase?  I know I'm looking for not-#1-Pimm's and creme de violette for starters...)

Thank you in advance!

Gerry's is certainly the first port of call. The Vintage House also on Old Compton St is worth checking out too.

Soho Wines and Spirits (Percy Street, just off Tottenham Court Rd) is another shop worth a visit, as is the Whisky Shop in Vinopolis (which sells a lot more than whisky - though if you are looking for Gin,you need to ask (Vinopolois is sponsored by Bombay Saphire, so all other gin is hidden under the counter).

Milroys - just south of Soho Square (Greek St) has an unbeatable range of whisky's . Cadenheads just off the Piazza in Covent garden is also good for whisky but also has great rums and Old Raj gin (both strengths).

Both Harrods and Selfridges have interesting, if overpriced wine and spirits depts. (Harvey Nicols has a nice food hall too, but their spirits range is pretty narrow).

Of the supermarkets, Waitrose has the best range ( including Plymouth Gin, plymouth Damson gin, various Pimms and a west country apple brandy whose name i've forgotten).

Other unusual UK spirits to look out for :

Blackwoods Vintage Gin, particularly the 60 degree (120 proof) version - the 2006 bottling should be available soon

Brecon Gin (from Wales)

Whitley Neil gin

Penderyn (single malt from Wales)

Not sure that you'll find creme de violette anywhere though . When are you in London ? I might possibly be able to get a bottle of the Benoit Serres Creme de violette brought over from Toulouse towards the end of next week (current flight disruptions permitting).

gethin

Edited by gethin (log)
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Further to the last posting, I've just been over to Gerry's and they do in fact currently have Monin creme de violette in stocke. I could still try to get a bottle of the Benoit Serres though, if you want , assuming Stanstead to Rodez flights are still running (which looks slightly doubtful at the moment).

gethin

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I bought a fantastic bottle of Grappa from Gerri's, with two blown glass figures inside. Use your imagination..

If price is an issue, then the Whisky shop at Vinopolis is keen. ie, Santa teresa 1796 is almost ten quid cheaper than at Gerri's

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  • 5 years later...

Always happy to abuse my friends willingness to feed my spirits habit! I have a friend who will be passing through London Heathrow soon who is willing to look for desirable additions to my liquor cabinet. They will be there about 9 hours. I have no idea if that is realistically enough time to leave the airport and trek into town (which they are willing to do if it is feasable) or if they will have to limit their search to airport duty free which will likely limit availability of options.

Anybody know if it is in fact practical to go into town to a place like the Whisky Exchange or another similar specialty liquor store close to public transit in that time frame? Nine hours seems like just enough of a layover to be annoying but not long enough to safely go anywhere outside the airport and not risk missing a flight. They will be on BA and presumably operating out of Terminal 5.

I haven't personally been through Heathrow in years but I see from the web that there is a store called World of Whiskies in the airport that appears to mainly focus on scotch but might have some other choices. Anybody with knowledge of what amount of variety beyond the typical duty free inventory that might be available there?

Swedish Punsch remains my top objective presently and based on the recent discussion my interest in aquavit has been revived so maybe some Linie aquavit (although it appears to be available at least via the internet here) or Aalborg akvavit. Might have them look for Kummel as well while I am on a caraway kick! Any other suggestions for unusual items not readily available in the states that might be available in Heathrow duty free?

Perhaps a good quality absinthe like one of the Jade line if it can be found although it can be pretty spendy. I currently have some absinthe and there seem to be some good ones being made in the states these days anyway.

In any case, suggestions are welcome!

If you pick up a starving dog and make him prosperous, he will not bite you. This is the principal difference between a dog and a man. ~Mark Twain

Some people are like a Slinky. They are not really good for anything, but you still can't help but smile when you shove them down the stairs...

~tanstaafl2

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Duty free is pretty crap at the airport itself. However, The Whisky Exchange's HQ is at Park Royal, which is not that far from Heathrow. If your friend takes the piccadilly line from Heathrow to Acton Town and changes trains to the northern branch of the piccadilly it should take less than an hour each way. The warehouse is a good 15 min walk from the station though.

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Linie and Aalborg aquavits are readily available in US. I can get them at almost any South Jersey shop, tho sometimes I may have to place a special order; it's usually filled the next business day.

I'd live to get others. Gilde is nice as is Simmers Taffel, Aalborg's Jubilens., Koitens, and Gamel Opland. Some of the regional Norway aquavits from Arcus (which produces almost all Nowegian spirits), including the Bergens variety. Arcus is Swedish owned but I'm unfamiliar with that output.

I prefer aged varieties with the exception of Simmers which is great with herring and other cured fish.

Here's a link to PDF of spirits list at my fav Oslo bar which lists dozens.

http://www.fyretmatogdrikke.no/Download/FyretDrikke.pdf

Bob Libkind aka "rlibkind"

Robert's Market Report

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Duty free is pretty crap at the airport itself. However, The Whisky Exchange's HQ is at Park Royal, which is not that far from Heathrow. If your friend takes the piccadilly line from Heathrow to Acton Town and changes trains to the northern branch of the piccadilly it should take less than an hour each way. The warehouse is a good 15 min walk from the station though.

Thanks! Will investigate that a bit more. I presume there is a shop and one can buy retail at the HQ with no problem?

If you pick up a starving dog and make him prosperous, he will not bite you. This is the principal difference between a dog and a man. ~Mark Twain

Some people are like a Slinky. They are not really good for anything, but you still can't help but smile when you shove them down the stairs...

~tanstaafl2

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Linie and Aalborg aquavits are readily available in US. I can get them at almost any South Jersey shop, tho sometimes I may have to place a special order; it's usually filled the next business day.

I'd live to get others. Gilde is nice as is Simmers Taffel, Aalborg's Jubilens., Koitens, and Gamel Opland. Some of the regional Norway aquavits from Arcus (which produces almost all Nowegian spirits), including the Bergens variety. Arcus is Swedish owned but I'm unfamiliar with that output.

I prefer aged varieties with the exception of Simmers which is great with herring and other cured fish.

Here's a link to PDF of spirits list at my fav Oslo bar which lists dozens.

http://www.fyretmatogdrikke.no/Download/FyretDrikke.pdf

Thanks! Haven't seen them locally but haven't looked closely of late. Will check a bit again and see what I can find here.

If you pick up a starving dog and make him prosperous, he will not bite you. This is the principal difference between a dog and a man. ~Mark Twain

Some people are like a Slinky. They are not really good for anything, but you still can't help but smile when you shove them down the stairs...

~tanstaafl2

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Hmm, just occured to me that anything they bought outside the airport can't be hand carried and would have to be checked. Since the checked luggage won't be accesible that could be a problem. And even if it was accessible they would have to store it some place or cart it around with them. Hmm, could be a problem.

Damned terrorists! It's all their fault.

If you pick up a starving dog and make him prosperous, he will not bite you. This is the principal difference between a dog and a man. ~Mark Twain

Some people are like a Slinky. They are not really good for anything, but you still can't help but smile when you shove them down the stairs...

~tanstaafl2

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Hmm, just occured to me that anything they bought outside the airport can't be hand carried and would have to be checked. Since the checked luggage won't be accesible that could be a problem. And even if it was accessible they would have to store it some place or cart it around with them. Hmm, could be a problem.

Damned terrorists! It's all their fault.

Or one could purchase a small suitcase at one of the airport shops, fill it with the new purchases (bring a roll of bubble wrap and tape) and check it then to the final destination. It's likelier to arrive than stuff that's getting transferred. Who needs clothes? You'll have booze! :biggrin:

Katie M. Loeb
Booze Muse, Spiritual Advisor

Author: Shake, Stir, Pour:Fresh Homegrown Cocktails

Cheers!
Bartendrix,Intoxicologist, Beverage Consultant, Philadelphia, PA
Captain Liberty of the Good Varietals, Aphrodite of Alcohol

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tanstaafl2 -- you live in America. Your friend is buying liquor in London. If your friend comes back with ANYTHING besides Havana Club rum, you should be very, very, VERY upset.

Who cares how time advances? I am drinking ale today. -- Edgar Allan Poe

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tanstaafl2 -- you live in America. Your friend is buying liquor in London. If your friend comes back with ANYTHING besides Havana Club rum, you should be very, very, VERY upset.

Yeah, that has been considered. They are traveling on government business using an official passport and on the off chance somebody checks and cares I was just concerned it might be embarrassing (or worse) for them. I just don't know how big a deal it would be. If it were me traveling I could take the gamble myself.

Never been truly convinced that Cuban products are as good anymore as the hype and mystic that surrounds them because they are such taboo these days. I think that has been the case for cigars for a long time now. While they may still make good ones few of those see export and other countries now make ones that are as good or better for the same or less money. At least that was my impression of the few very expensive ones I have had in the past ten years or so. All show and no go!

Maybe rum is different. Will have to give it some thought. And although I enjoy rum since I am not a big rum drinker wouldn't know which one to tell them to look for! If I am going to go that route would probably prefer a decent sipper than one for mixing. 7yo? Anejo Especial? Anejo Reserva? The 15yo is probably a little too much to spend on something that might not make it home!

If you pick up a starving dog and make him prosperous, he will not bite you. This is the principal difference between a dog and a man. ~Mark Twain

Some people are like a Slinky. They are not really good for anything, but you still can't help but smile when you shove them down the stairs...

~tanstaafl2

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While I don't know anyone who's ever had anything worse than having the item seized, I'm not sure it's worth it. Would your friend on government business really want to run afoul of something called the Trading with the Enemy Act?

Just the other day I read about an offer where you can shop for duty free liquor on-line and have it waiting for you at an airport in the UK...it's available through this site here. This would have the added benefit (if the pick-up is after security and they don't have a connecting flight once they reach the US) that they don't have to worry about checking the booze.

True rye and true bourbon wake delight like any great wine...dignify man as possessing a palate that responds to them and ennoble his soul as shimmering with the response.

DeVoto, The Hour

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While I don't know anyone who's ever had anything worse than having the item seized, I'm not sure it's worth it. Would your friend on government business really want to run afoul of something called the Trading with the Enemy Act?

Just the other day I read about an offer where you can shop for duty free liquor on-line and have it waiting for you at an airport in the UK...it's available through this site here. This would have the added benefit (if the pick-up is after security and they don't have a connecting flight once they reach the US) that they don't have to worry about checking the booze.

True. And why let the customs officials get to drink all the good rum!

I will be traveling myself to Argentina in January so maybe that will be a chance to start my criminal career assuming they have Havana Club there. I presume they must. Or anything else of interest. Not sure what spirits might be specific to Argentina like cachaça is to Brazil or pisco is to Peru AND that is not readily available here. Certainly many good wines there I am sure.

And then next summer I have a trip to Europe planned already and I have specific plans to spend a couple of extra days in London, part of which will be dedicated to spirits shopping!

I will check out the link you noted. I think I had looked at it before and the options were a bit limited but hopefully I did not dig deep enough and it will be just the thing I need!

If you pick up a starving dog and make him prosperous, he will not bite you. This is the principal difference between a dog and a man. ~Mark Twain

Some people are like a Slinky. They are not really good for anything, but you still can't help but smile when you shove them down the stairs...

~tanstaafl2

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