Page updated 13/12/15
A guide to all the best places to buy Whisky, in person and online - well that's the plan - if I've missed anywhere out, please let me know and I'll give you a mention.
The best places to buy Whisky, of course, but if you're not near one then at least you can buy on line, postage is generally not too bad if you're buying multiple bottles. In most places other then London or Edinburgh you're limited to a single shop, though Glasgow now has more of a choice. But what exactly qualifies as a Specialist? Certainly needs to sell more than the normal supermarket range, but there are some grey areas, so some shops may be a little limited, but possibly get a mention beacuse of their location - if there's nowhere else nearby to buy malt whisky. I will try to give a better idea of what you can expect from each retailer as the site is developed.
With regard to Glasgow, I've reproduced an article from Glasgow Whisky and Ale blog dated 6 October 2010 reviewing the Whisky shops in Glasgow at that time - the changes mentioned at the end of the article relate to the establishment of the Good Spirits Company, which is now open for business.
I've listed all that I can think of here with links to their websites and intend to give many of them a separate page - where the name of the shop is highlighted and underlined, the page has already been created and clicking on the name will take you to it.
Whisky Marketplace is a price comparison site for whisky - but it's not comprehensive - eg it doesn't seem to include Loch Fine Whiskies and Royal Mile Whiskies. It has a subscription service to notify special offers for the sites it covers.
^Shops with this marking are not primarily in the business of whisky or other drinks, but they carry a good range of whiskies and are therefore worthy of inclusion.
%Shops with this marking are primarily wine shops with a limited range of whiskies, but are included due to the lack of a nearby alternative.
Clicking on picture links to shop page where available - or direct to the shop's website otherwise.
(Irrespective of opening hours, alcohol can only be sold between 10.00am and 10.00pm).
Aberdeen Whisky Shop - aberdeenwhiskyshop.co.uk/ 01224 647433
Wine Raks% - wineraks.com/ 01224 467404/630496
Aboyne George Strachan - georgestrachanltd.co.uk/ 013398 86121/2
Ayr Robbie's Drams - robbieswhiskymerchants.com 01292 262135
Ballater George Strachan - georgestrachanltd.co.uk/ 013397 55452
Banchory Deeside Drinks Emporium - facebook page 01330 822650 @
(Banff Parkers - CLOSED - read this)
Bankfoot Perthshire Visitor Centre - perthshirevisitorcentre.co.uk 01738 787696
Braemar George Strachan - georgestrachanltd.co.uk/ 013397 41245
Bridge of Allan WoodWinters Wines & Whiskies - woodwinters.com 01786 834894
Bowmore The Islay Whisky Shop (Spar)^ - islaywhiskyshop.com/ 01496 810684
Campeltown Cadenhead - wmcadenhead.com/ 01586 551710
Coupar Luvians Bottleshop - luvians.com/ 01334 654820
Crieff JL Gill Whisky Shop - facebook.com/pages/J-L-Gill-Whisky-Shop/ 01764 653011
Drymen Ealain Gallery - ealaingallery.co.uk/whisky 01360 660 996
Dumfries TB Watson - drambusters.com/ 01387 256601
Dufftown The Whisky Shop Dufftown - whiskyshopdufftown.co.uk/ 01340 821097
Dyce S.R and E Barron - Maltman (Costcutter)^ - maltman.co.uk/ 01224 722208
Cadenhead - wmcadenhead.com/ 0131 556 5864
Drinkmonger - drinkmonger.com 0131 229 2205
Great Grog% - greatgrog.co.uk/shop.html 0131 667 2855
Robert Graham - whisky-cigars.co.uk/ 0113 226 1874
Royal Mile Whiskies - royalmilewhiskies.com/ 0131 524 9380
Special Scotch Whisky - specialscotchwhisky.co.uk/ 0131 229 8188
The Scotch Whisky Experience - scotchwhiskyexperience.co.uk/ 0131 220 0441
Treasurer 1874 (Robert Graham) - globalwhiskyshop.com/ 0131 556 2791
The Whisky Trail - no website. +++
Valvona & Crolla^ valvonacrolla-online.co.uk/ 0131 556 6066
Whiski Rooms www.whiskishop.com/ 0131 225 1532 @
Whisky & Wine +++
Whisky World - whiskyworld.webs.com/ - Miniature specialists 0131 226 2134
WoodWinters Wines & Whiskies - woodwinters.com/Home.aspx 0131 667 2760
Elgin Gordon & MacPhail - gordonandmacphail.com/ 01343 545110
Global Whisky Shop (Robert Graham) - globalwhiskyshop.com/ 0141 248 7283
The Good Spirits Company - thegoodspiritsco.com/ 0141 258 8427
Hector Russell^ - hector-russell.com/index.aspx 0141 221 0217
(Tam's Drams - tamsdrams.com/ 0141 334 3280 Closed 21/04/12)
Haddington Villeneuve Wines% - villeneuvewines.com/shop.html 01620 822224
Helensburgh Clyde Whiskies - clydewhiskies.co.uk/ 01436 673816
Huntly Whiskies of Scotland - singlemaltsdirect.com/ 0845 606 6145
Inverness Hector Russell^ - hector-russell.com/index.aspx 01463 713083
Inverary Loch Fyne Whiskies - lfw.co.uk/ 01499 302219
Kilmarnock Sinforiani Bros - whiskiesandmaltsayrshire.co.uk 01563 523659
Kirkoswald AD Rattray's Whisky Experience - adrattray.com 01655 760308
Kirkwall John Scott & Miller^ - jsmorkney.co.uk/ 01856 873146
Lochgilphead Fyne Wines% - fynewines.co.uk 01546 605372
North Berwick Lockett Bros - lockettbros.co.uk 01620 890799
The Kitchen Garden^ - kitchengardenoban.co.uk/ 01631 566332
Whisky Fix - whiskyfix.com 01631 570586
Peebles Villeneuve Wines% - villeneuvewines.com/shop.html 01721 722500
Perth Exel Wines - exelwines.co.uk/ 01738 493535
Robertsons - robertsonsofpitlochry.co.uk/ 01796 472011
Drinkmonger - drinkmonger.com 01796 470133
St Andrews Luvians Bottleshop - luvians.com/ 01334 477752
Stirling Stirling Whisky Shop - stirlingwhiskyshop.com/ 01786 449152
Stonehaven Dunnottar Wnes and Spirits - facebook page 01569 760060
Strathpeffer Celtic Spirits - celticspirits.co.uk 01997 421166
Thurso JA Mackay^ - getwhisky.com/ 01847 892811
Tomintoul The Whisky Castle - whiskycastle.com/ 01807 580213
Troon The Jar - thejartroon.com/ 01292 319877
Tyndrum The Green Welly Stop^ - thegreenwellystop.co.uk/ 01301 702084
+++ Take care with these shops. I did have an avoid tag on them, but while their pices are generally higher than other local shops, they are no longer as outrageous as they used to be - for example (2012) :Tomintoul 21yo £89 at Whisky Trail; £43.50 at Cadenheads at the bottom of the Royal Mile. December 2013: £67 at Whisky Trail; £49 at Cadenheads, but this is a particularly good price at Cadenheads - other shops are nearer the mid £60s.
I've not listed the Gretna Green shop, where whisky can be bought, but apply for a mortgage first.
ENGLAND & WALES
Ampthill Cambridge Wine Merchants% - cambridgewine.com/ 01525 405929
Ashby de la Zouch La Zouch Cellars - lazouch.co.uk/ 01530 412536
Bakewell The Wee Dram - weedram.co.uk/ 01629 812235
Bawtry Mainly Wine & Whisky - whisky-malts-shop.com/ 01302 714700
Belper Liquid Treasure - liquidtreasure.co.uk 01773 825754
Beverley The Spirit Safe - Not sure if this is still open, if it is read this first
Birmingham Hard to Find Whisky - www.htfw.com 08456 803489
Cambridge Cambridge Wine Merchants* - cambridgewine.com/ 01223 568993
(Chester Chester Whisky & Liqueur - CLOSED see Facebook Page)
Clitheroe D Byrne & Co - dbyrne-finewines.co.uk/ 01200 423152
Falmouth Constantine Stores - drinkfinder.co.uk 01326 340226
Grassington The Wine Shop% - grassington.uk.com/shops/shops.htm 01756 752468
Highworth Arkwrights - whiskyandwines.com/ 01793 765071
Jesmond Rehills (no web site) 0191 2811 4499
Keswick Cornerwise - cornerwise-keswick.com/ 017687 73874
King's Lynn Beers of Europe% - beersofeurope.co.uk/ 01553 812000
Kinver Pure Spirit Drinks - purespiritdrinks.co.uk/ 01584 878999
Leek The Wine Shop% - wineandwhisky.com 01538 382408
Lincoln Lincoln Whisky Shop - lincolnwhiskyshop.co.uk/ 01522 537834
Berry Bros & Rudd - bbr.com/ 0800 280 2440
Cadenheads - whiskytastingroom.com/ 020 7935 6999
Gerry's Wines and Spirits - gerrys.uk.com/index.aspx 020 7734 2053 /4215
Hedonism Wines - hedonism.co.uk/ 020 7290 7870 @
Milroys - milroys.co.uk/ 020 7437 2385
Royal Mile Whiskies - royalmilewhiskies.com/ 020 7436 4763
Soho Wine Supply - sohowine.co.uk/ 020 7636 8490
Vintage House - freespace.virgin.net/vintagehouse.co/ 020 7437 2592/5112
Whisky & Cigars (Robert Graham) - globalwhiskyshop.com/ 020 7624 3351
The Whisky Exchange - thewhiskyexchange.com/ 020 7403 8688/020 7100 0088
Newcastle - Fenwicks^ - fenwick.co.uk 0191 232 5100
Newbury - The Dram Room^ - t4cameras.co.uk/ 01635 528788 (in a camera shop!)
Gauntleys% - gauntley-wine.co.uk 0115 911 0555
Weavers% - weaverswines.com 0115 958 0922
Ramsbottom - fishermansretreat.com/whisky 01706 852314
Royston Cambridge Wine Merchants% - cambridgewine.com/ 01763 247076
Salisbury Cambridge Wine Merchants% - cambridgewine.com/ 01722 324486
Sheffield The Dram Shop - offlicencesheffield.com/ 0800 048 8469
Skipton Wright Wine Company - wineandwhisky.co.uk/ 01756 700886
Stamford Bridge The Specialist Whisky Shop - whiskys.co.uk/ 01759 371356
(The associated site whiskymerchants.co.uk is a mine of information on all things Whisky).
Stourbridge Nickolls & Perks - nickollsandperks.co.uk 01384 394518
Stratford-upon-Avon Vinology% - vinology.co.uk 01789 264586
York Field & Fawcett - fieldandfawcett.co.uk/ 01904 489073
* Cambridge Wine Merchants - 4 branches in Cambridge, as well as others listed above. As well as wine they stock up to 300 whiskies - free local delivery by bike! And they organised a whisky festival in 2012.
Many (probably most) of the shops listed above also provide an online mail order service. Gordon & MacPhail DO NOT, but you can order from them by phone - details on their site. Listed below are some online only retailers.
htfw.com/ - Hard to Find Whisky
masterofmalt.com - also supply 3cl samples of many of the whiskies they stock
sohowhisky.com/ - linked to Vintage House, London
whiskyshack.com - Lombard Whiskies
whisky-shop-online.webeden.co.uk/ - also linked to Specialist Whisky Shop, Stamford Bridge
Distilleries with visitor centres sell their own malt and others from their parent company where appropriate, but get an idea of what you might pay elsewhere, as some can be quite expensive, though some will give a discount against the price of the tour if you've taken one. Tours of Diageo Distilleries open to the public (known as the Classic Malts) are free to Friends of the Classic Malts (which in turn is free to join), but you still get £3 off (70cl) bottles bought in the Distillery shop.
The most obvious place to but whisky these days, but the range of malts you'll get is severely limited, particularly outside Scotland. You will get some good offers from time to time, particualrly in the run up to the Winter Solstice (or Xmas for you religious types).
Special mention for their range and some very good offers go to Waitrose and Booths, though in both cases their normal prices tend to be higher than others. You may not have heard of Booths, as it's confined to the North West of England (mainly), but well worth a visit for their very extensive range of bottled beer if nothing else! (Not really off subject - as beer is just undistilled whisky). Links to the supermarkets are to their store locator pages: Asda, Booths, Co-Op, Morrison, Sainsbury's, Tesco, Waitrose.
Spar are franchised stores rather than a supermarket chain (the world's largest independent voluntary retail trading chain according to Wikipedia), and therefore there's even more variation between stores in terms of what Malts they stock. Costcutter, Nisa and Keystore are similar ventures - there may be some that carry a good range of whiskies The Dufftown, Huntly and Dyce Costcutters and Bowmore Spar have particularly good ranges and describe themselves as Whisky Specialists.
The chains generally have a fairly limited range of Malt Whisky, though again that can improve north of the border. Some other independent offies that couldn't be classed as Whisky Specialists, do carry a reasonable range of whisky - again much more likely in Scotland.
Drinkmonger - a new chain of stores being opened by Royal Mile Whiskies - so far in Pitlochry and Bruntsfield, Edinburgh. The website drinkmonger.com currently re-directs to the RMW site, which has a drinkmonger tab covering all non-whisky drinks.
Edinburgh Woollen Mill in Scotland are often licensed and carry a reasonable range of Whisky.
Oddbins used to carry a good range of malts before they went into administration - 35 branches have now re-opened, and some other sites may re-open under different ownership and the new website is now up and running. Half of the stores are in London, and most of the rest are in Glasgow, Edinburgh or Aberdeen, but there are 7 dotted around England.
Peckham's are a licensed delicatessen with stores in Aberdeen, Edinburgh and Glasgow - plenty of Malt Whiskies - not the cheapest though.
Spirited Wines - don't know much about them, but the website only lists 31 whiskies (including 2 bourbons and 2 blends). Maybe worth a look if you're not near a proper specialist.
The Whisky Shop (not to be confused with the The Whisky Shop, Dufftown) is a chain of whisky shops mainly in tourist areas, whose range is large, but so are their prices. If you're desparate for a Malt that you can't get in the supermarket, and you're not near another whisky specialist, and you're a banker with a big bonus, they have their uses. Their own bottling Glenkeir Treasures range has been known to produce some ... er treausres.