Entertainment,  Food

Ancient Reserves Whisky Boutique Pop-UP



The Ancient Reserves ‘Whisky Boutique’ pop up is brought to you by William Grant & Sons, of Balvenie and Glenfiddich, but also Hendricks and Sailor Jerry fame. In their continuing mission to bring us spirits that taste nice and take the edge off our hectic lives, Ancient Reserves has taken over a period corner shop a swift jaunt from Upper Street.IMG_7783

The interior is light and airy whilst also cosy, and well furnished with serried ranks of amber whisky bottles and seasonal vegetation. The tone is open, welcoming and inclusive. Alongside whisky tastings the Whisky Boutique has a number of specialist events, such as whisky and chocolate pairings, a sensory evening for getting more out of whisky, and whisky and tea pairings.


However: you’re there for the drinks. There’s 4 whiskies for you to sample in a varied collection, ably and knowledgeably curated by Alwynne Gwilt (@themisswhisky on Twitter and Instagram). These rarer, older whiskies are from smaller, less known distilleries and therefore not available on the mass market. The pop up brings within easier reach the joys of:

–          Ailsa Bay: strong but not challenging, smoky campfire peat. Sweet, almond, oatmeal and maple flavours.

–          Ghosted 21 Year Old Rare Cask Reserve: spicy, moderate peat, little fire. This is a blend from distilleries that are now closed so when it’s gone you’ll never see it again.

–          Girvan 4apps: toffied, spiced enough to balance out the sweetness, strong coriander notes

–          Kininvie 23 Year Old: our favourite, astringent and spicy, notes of cucumber, almost herbal complexity


The whole collection is very, very smooth, with minimal burn. There’s no need to add water to bring out the flavour or make them more sippable, which is surprising given their strength (the Ailsa Bay is 48.9%). I’ll level with you: my friend and I’s preferences tend towards the extreme oily and peaty. Based on the age statement we were expecting at least one very aggressively flavoured dram in there, but that’s not for everyone and all four were exceedingly drinkable. Dangerously drinkable, even.


For more information @Ancient_ReservesWS on Instagram or the hashtag #WhiskyBoutique on Twitter to find out more.

WHERE: 53 Barnsbury Street, London, N1 1TP

WHEN: Monday 12nd December – Friday 23rd December

Daytime Opening – 12pm to 7:30pm

Evening Events – 8pm to 10pm

COST: FREE during daytime opening, Evening events between £15 & £20



Reporter: David Brown

Instagram: @Salomebloke