Rotterdam – Whiskybase
The next leg of our Low Countries journey (catch up on Part 1 and Part 2 in case you missed them) took us to the sprawling, modern metropolis of Rotterdam. Ostensibly a hardscrabble port city dolled up with some futuristic architecture and a healthy dose of modern art installations, the place was admittedly lacking in some of the Old World Dutch charm to which my wife and I have grown so accustomed (blame it on Ze Germans I suppose). The crown jewel in the city for my money however, has got to be Whiskybase, located not far from Rotterdam Centraal station.
The brick and mortar headquarters of whiskybase.com, one of my 10 Excellent Scotch Whisky Resources, the shop was positively bubbling with charm and well-stocked with wonderful whiskies from across the globe. We were warmly greeted by an enthusiastic and knowledgeable staff member (who’s name sadly escapes me), and were soon engaged in some illuminating and engaging whisky banter. After some talk of what is and isn’t available in Canada, we were offered a dram of the newer bottling of Ben Nevis 10, which m’lady and I both quite enjoyed. We found notes of licorice, dark chocolate and espresso, with a complexity that belied the youthful age statement (there is almost certainly some older juice in the bottling, our Whiskybase host informed us). All very dry and austere and characterful and yummy we agreed. While nosing and sipping we were left on our own to explore the shelves, which were stocked with a healthy array of indie and official bottlings, including a pair of releases from the by all accounts excellent Whiskybase Archives range.
When it was all said and done, we were the proud owners of a 1997 Signatory Vintage Glenlossie, which was a steal of a deal at €55. Very fruity and Speyside-y and lovely. All in all we absolutely adored the shop, particularly the level of service and attention. If you find yourself in Rotterdam, do yourself a favour and be sure not to skip Whiskybase (they even have a festival, the Whiskybase Gathering happening this autumn). Sláinte.