Yesterday, I was invited to a magnificent event at the newly opened London Bridge branch of Whisky Exchange, one of the most famous whisky shops in London. The event was held in a special room located on the lower floor of the shop, which will serve as a training center in the coming months. This training room has been transformed into a magnificent Pop-up whisky bar just for a few days.

The theme of the pop-up bar is "The Secret Islay Whisky Bar". The bar stocked more than 100 carefully selected whiskies from Scotland's Islay region. The whisky menu has been specially curated by the expert team of the Whisky Exchange and the founder Sukhinder Singh.

The menu has some really unique and special bottles. Older whiskies such as the 1980s Ardbeg or Bowmore 50 were available, along with newer bottles such as Ardbeg Fermutation or Kilchoman Mezcal Cask. With prices from £5 to £250 (per 25ml), there’s was little something for any budget.

After a small welcome speech by Sukhinder Singh, we tasted 5 different whiskies that he chose for us. We've blind tasted all the whiskies. It was really enjoyable to talk about each dram and try to guess which distillery they are coming from. But I must say that it was almost impossible to guess. The fact that each bottle has some special details makes it always difficult to guess. But at the end of the day, it should not be forgotten that the goal is not to guess correct truth, but to enjoy it.

The whiskies we tasted were as follows:

  • Bruichladdich 15 Year Old (1990's, 40%)
  • Bunnahabhain 44 Year Old – Director's Special (The Single Malts of Scotland, 42.4%)
  • Lagavulin 11 Year Old Offerman Edition #2
  • Port Ellen 1974 22 Year Old Silent Stills (59.2%)
  • Ardbeg 19 Year Old – The Secret Islay Whisky Bar Limited Release (51.3%)

I won't be sharing my tasting notes for each bottle, but I want to mention my 2 favorites. Bunnahabhain 44 aged in Refill Sherry Butt was truly magnificent. Despite being a 44-year-old whisky, it was quite aromatic and well balanced. As someone who loves peat and sherry, I really liked the Ardbeg 19, which only 12 bottles were produced for this very event.

Bunnahabhain 44 Year Old – Director's Special

Ardbeg 19 Year Old – The Secret Islay Whisky Bar Limited Release

After the tasting, I also went for three bottles that I've been looking forward to taste. Ardbeg Fermutation, Kilchoman Mezcal Cask and Kilchoman Tequila Cask.

Kilchoman Mezcal Cask and Kilchoman Tequila Cask

The Secret Islay Whisky Bar will host its visitors between May 26-28 and June 2-4. It was truly a wonderful experience to taste these special whiskies along with Sukhinder Singh's storytelling. I really like the concept of this Pop-up whisky bar, hopefully it will be repeated next year. Thanks again to the Whisky Exchange team for their kind invitation!

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