As some of you may be aware, I’ve spent the entirety of my whisky drinking/writing/speaking/loving career (and my entire life for that matter) in the vast wilds of Canada. As of a week ago, I’ve taken a jump across the pond to settle in the Netherlands for a time, with my new Dutch-born bride in tow. I’m admittedly more or less just relaxing and exploring on my honeymoon for the time being, but whisky has never been far from the back of my mind. I thought I’d document my whisky experiences thus far in the Low Countries for your viewing pleasure.
Leiden – De Druiventuin
My first whisky stop was during a day trip to the charming city of Leiden. In between exploring canals, museums, shops and wacky Dutch pannenkoeken houses, we managed to track down the far flung (by tiny Dutch standards) De Druiventuin specialty shop. The brick and mortar headquarters of the fantastic whiskysite.nl online whisky retail shop, De Druiventuin is unassumingly tucked away at the back end of a strip mall in a residential neighborhood. Inside however, the place is truly a sight to behold.
While not pictured here, their selection of independent bottlings was particularly awe inspiring, with entire walls of shelves devoted to such fine bottlers as Cadenhead, Douglas Laing and Gordon & Macphail, with a smattering of Samaroli, The Whisky Agency, Sansibar and other rarities for good measure. Also proudly on display were some Dutch indie bottlers, Kintra & Van Wees being the most well represented. The shop offered some incredibly competitive prices as well; m’lady and I walked off with a Glendronach 8yr Hielan’ for € 35 and a Kilchoman Sanaig, generously marked down from € 59 to € 39. If you live in or around the Netherlands and have yet to stop by, I’d certainly give De Druiventuin a gander.
The Hague – Huppel The Pub
Our home base in the Netherlands so far has been the beautiful, historic, downright funky and vibrant city of The Hague. The seat of Dutch parliament, and part time home to the Dutch royal family, the city is positively brimming with history and charm. Perhaps the most charming spot of all thus far, has been Huppel The Pub in the heart of downtown. Boasting over a hundred whiskies, as well as a fairly extensive selection of Dutch and Belgian beers, the place was lively and chock full of locals of all ages, shapes and sizes on a Sunday night. We ordered a few cleansing ales and a selection of meats, cheeses and pickled things while we perused the whisky menu. I ended up with a lip-smacking unpeated Van Wees Bunnahabhain, while my wife enjoyed a well-sherried Signatory Vintage Glenlossie. A lively and friendly atmosphere, less than extortionate prices, and a fairly extensive whisky menu all lead me to give Huppel The Pub my highest possible recommendation if you find yourself in Den Haag.