Cadenhead’s Whisky
9 Bolgam Street
PA28 6HZ

What is it? Cadenhead’s is Scotland’s oldest independent whisky bottler. The company was set up in 1842 by William Cadenhead in Netherkirkgate, Aberdeen, to capitalisd on the fact that whisky was growing after the Excise Tax of 1823 essentially legalised its production. Quickly the company got the reputation as the best to go to for quality Scotch and was the first to commercially bottle single malt whisky for sale to the public.

William died in 1904 and the business went to his nephew, Robert Duthie, who was key in developing the business into the independent bottling business we recognise today. After 130 years trading in Netherkirkgate, the company moved to Campbeltown to be ran by J & A Mitchell’s, the family business behind Springbank Distillery. The company now has eight retail locations across Europe, including three in the UK (London, Edinburgh and Campbeltown).

Verdict: For connoisseurs, Cadenhead’s whisky shops are the holy grail when it comes to buying spirit of the highest quality. The word “iconic” is overused, but in the case of Cadenhead’s it’s a worthy title.

The fact that it is still a family-owned business – one that just happens to also own one of my favourite distilleries – just makes them special in my eyes. There is something old school and precious about how they go about their business, and long may it continue.

Drink: The whisky and spirits are always excellent. This is due to four mantras the firm abides by:

1 “Drams that are remarkable, not marketable”. They go for flavour over just picking the big-name distilleries.

2 “They only bottle whiskies when they’re ready”. They are in no rush to bottle a spirit and will always wait till they believe it is at its best before bottling.

3 “Never chill-filtered, never coloured”. The idea is that keeping the spirit in its purest form ensures the best flavour.

4 “Try flavours never tasted before or again”. There is no particular “house style” so you know you will always get something different and interesting.

It’s not just all about whisky, though. Caidenhead’s also bottle gin, Cognac and one of my favourite rums in the shape of the Blended Rum, which is a blend of Caribbean rums bottled at 50% ABV – a delicious drink just over ice.

Interesting fact: The company has no sales targets to hit. It strives to get the best spirits it can to bottle. That is regardless of the whisky’s age, what distillery it’s from or how well the firm thinks it will sell.