If you’ve been into whisky for any length of time you will have noticed single malts being items of luxury. In a world where whisky is more often than not sold at a premium in fancy, shiny boxes due to people going crazy for old, aged whisky, we maltheads must take care not to pay way over the odds. One of the best names in the independently bottled whisky market is Cadenhead’s. Established in 1842 it is the oldest independent bottler in Scotland – and one of the biggest. Size is important – if you’ve got the stock you can afford to buy casks of whisky young and cheap(ish) and wait years and decades before bottling instead of having to sell it quickly. Add to that their no-frills packaging (to quote Mark Watt, Director of sales: “You can’t drink packaging”) and a reasonable price and you’ve got a winner.
The only trouble is getting access to their wares. Cadenhead’s offers two different product lines: Their “international range” (mostly vattings of two or three casks) is available, well, internationally through a network of retailers while their rarer, single cask “Authentic collection” is only available at Cadenhead’s branded stores – of which there are only nine spread throughout Western Europe. Up until the end of 2017, when they stopped operating under the Cadenhead’s brand, we Austrians were lucky enough to have a shop in Salzburg. After eight long months of absence (though my wallet quite liked the reduced whisky spending…), on Tuesday, the 14th of August 2018, a new Cadenhead’s shop opened its doors in Austria. Did I rush to be there for the opening day (and night)? You can bet on it!
The new “mecca for whisky enthusiasts”, as I like to call it, is conveniently located in Austria’s capital, Vienna. It is not a heartless, faceless store, but a charming enterprise, run by two enthusiastic whisky experts, Florian and Manfred, who took it upon themselves to bring the Cadenhead’s brand and products back to Austria. Florian has managed the Salzburg shop in the past – which is where we first met. To mark the importance of this new shop not only did Cadenhead’s Jenna McIntosh fly there to conduct a tasting, Director Neil Clapperton also made a surprise appearance, accompanied by Alan, who runs the brand’s Edinburgh store. If you ever find yourself talking to any of these people you’ll soon notice that these people don’t only sell whisky – they live whisky!
If you like whisky and happen to live in or visit Vienna, a visit to the new Cadenhead’s store at the Döblinger Hauptstraße 32 (click for map) is mandatory! Florian and Manfred currently carry a selection of Cadenhead’s whiskies (plus Gin and Cognac!) with Rum to follow. You’ll also find a selection of official distillery bottlings and I believe I also spotted a wee fridge with beer. They are currently busy building their website, which will be available soon at https://www.cadenhead-vienna.at/ – in the meantime, go “like” their facebook page at https://www.facebook.com/CadenheadVienna/
Watch the video from the opening day including a shop walkthrough:
No compensation has been provided for this article; However, for the sake of transparency, it should be noted that both proprietors are friends of the author.