Who are you and where can we find you?
I’m David Miller and I manage the Birmingham branch of The Whisky Shop, a small national chain of whisky specialists (I’m pretty sure it’s the only high street chain of specialist whisky shops).
Having worked here since the shop opened back in 2011, and manager since 2015 I’ve gained a lot of experience in tasting whiskies, hosting whisky tastings and advising customers. For me the magic of whisky is the amazing variety of flavours and aromas that come about through a simple combination of ingredients (grain, water, yeast and oak). Along with science and artistry, there is a degree of chance and nature at play over the years of ageing.
Tell us a bit about your whisky selection?
Being a Scottish owned shop, we have largely focused on Scottish whisky, offering an excellent range of single malts and single cask bottles, as well a few blends. However we are currently diversifying and now stock a wider range of whiskies from America, Ireland, Wales, India and of course Japan, as well as gins and rum.
What’s your personal pick of the bunch?
I very rarely buy the same whisky twice as I want to try as many as possible, so ‘favourite’ is a very transient thing! However, one of my current favourites would have to be Glenfarclas 15. I love when a whisky is truly distinctive and tastes somehow unlike any other, and this does that! The nose it rich and textured, with a bready/ doughy aspect that is curiously unique to Glenfarclas. This reminds me of chocolate chip brioche, fresh butter croissants, followed by the dark dried fruits and sweet Christmas spices you might expect from a sherry cask aged whisky. I have a lot of respect for Glenfarclas, one of the last remaining distilleries still in long term family ownership. In a market where many distilleries are trying to make whiskies for every pallet (peated, unpeated, every type of barrel you can think of…) they have so far kept to their traditions of making great quality, age statemented, sherry cask malts.
Also worth a try if you call in to the shop is our ‘Secret Single Grain’ whisky, bottled straight from the cask in-store. I am becoming a fan of single grain whiskies; I would describe them as the Scots making a Bourbon- usually made from corn (maize) and distilled in a similar way to Bourbon, the main difference is the use of refill barrels instead of new, and the climate the spirit is ageing in. The flavour is clean, vibrant, sweet and sappy, with something faintly reminiscent of boot-polish, butter toffee and vanilla.
How much does it cost?
Glenfarclas 15 is available at the Whisky Shop for £60, and the Secret Single Grain is £39 for 50cl.