Edinburgh & The Lothians
22 Queen Street
Bonhams Whisky Department specialises in the sourcing and global auction sales of Vintage Single Malt and Blended Whisky and is run by Martin Green who has been the whisky specialist at Bonhams since 2008 after a career in whisky auctions stretching back over 30 years.
He is credited with devising and holding the first ever dedicated whisky sale in 1989. Today, Bonhams holds four whisky sales a year in Edinburgh and four sales in Hong Kong (two of which are combined with Fine Wine). These attract buyers from around the world and regularly achieve sale rates of over 90%
Martin is acknowledged as one of the country’s foremost authorities on whisky and has written widely on the subject.
Notable single owner collections: The Willard S. Folsom Collection, sourced from San Francisco comprising of over 3500 bottles offered in Global sales at Bonhams during 2009 and 2010, the largest whisky collection to appear on the auction market.
The Bowmore Trilogy
The Bowmore Trilogy Black Bowmore-42 year old-1964, White Bowmore-43-year old-1964, Gold Bowmore-44 year old-1964 £17,500 Sourced from a private European collector
Johnnie Walker Old Highland Whisky-Early 20th Century £7,500, sourced from within the UK licensed trade
Johnnie Walker Old Highland Whisky-Early 20th Century Ardbeg-1965 £4,375, sourced from a private Scottish collector
Black Bowmore-1964 Lots 26 £11,875, 27 £12,500 , 28 £11,875, the three bottles sourced from a private UK collector
The highest auction results as of June 2017 for Black Bowmore at auction globally
The Dalmore Candella £16,250, sourced from a private Scottish collector
The Dalmore Candella
The Glenfiddich Janet Sheed Roberts Reserve-1955 £46,850, offered for sale by the distillery on behalf of a Global Charity
The Glenfiddich Janet Sheed Roberts Reserve-1955
Glenfiddich-64 year old-1937 £68,500, sourced from a private European collector
Glenfiddich-64 year old-1937 The current UK auction house record for the sale of a bottle of Single Malt Whisky and the highest price paid at auction for a bottle of Glenfiddich
The Macallan Millennium Decanter-40 year old-1949 £21,250, sourced from a private UK collector
The Macallan Millennium Decanter-40 year old-1949 Bonhams Specialist whisky auctions attract International interest and are held in March, June, October and December in Edinburgh and twice each year in Hong Kong from where the bottles are sourced
The shop is very well staffed and just walking around you get the feeling that those working in the shop are as passionate about whisky as those in browsing the shelves. As well as an extensive range of malt, bended and grain whisky, Royal Mile Whiskies also have an assortment of other spirits from around the world including exotic rums, mystical looking liqueurs and premium vodkas.
It really is hard to find an empty square foot in the shop that isn’t housing some intriguing rare concoction and the vast collection of whisky miniatures to choose from shouldn’t see anyone leave disappointed.
Old Pulteney 12 year was the victor and this experience left me feeling that the personal touch is never really far away when it comes to customer service in Whiski. My own experience with the bar staff was in itself very personable. Whiski is the kind of bar you enter and instantly feel welcome. The offer of a drinks list is always a nice introduction to any bar and coupled with a warm and friendly welcome can’t help but leave you feeling appreciated.
Inside the layout is very much that of a bar come café and the varied choice of background music does make for a relaxed and memorable experience. Being mid-afternoon on a Saturday the bar was filled with a mixed array of customers. Families, couples and lads out for a catch up, all adding to the open and welcome feel the bar offers. As far as decoration goes, this is about as varied as those eating and drinking inside. A combination of stag heads and whisky paraphernalia line the walls, mugs and tea cups are displayed in a similar way to your grannies dining room and old fashioned musical instruments intertwined with flashing Christmas tree lights all help to create something akin to the whisky induced abstract dream you had last weekend. The lighting is equally varied and comes from a collection of 30’s style hanging lanterns, traditional table lamps and mounted wall lights. The atmosphere is vibrant, lively and constantly changing and really sums up the younger changing feel that exists in today’s whisky fraternity.
In summing up you have to think about how this compares to other Edinburgh whisky establishments and it would be fair to say that the Whiski really does capture everything you would want a cosmopolitan whisky bar to be. Walking into the bar you instantly feel an air of relaxation and mystique in equal measures. You can’t help but look at the extensive whisky collection on the back bar along with everything else displayed throughout the bar. It is very much a place that combines both old and new and does so very well.
Definitely worth a visit when visiting Scotland’s capital.