Whisky and whiskey are beloved spirits that have been enjoyed for centuries around the world. In London, you can find a plethora of options when it comes to whisky tastings and masterclasses, from intimate, cosy bars to grand, luxurious venues. Whether you're a seasoned whisky connoisseur or a curious newcomer who's unsure of the difference between whiskies and whiskeys, our guide to the best whiskey tastings in London will help you navigate the best places in London to enjoy a whisky tasting experience.
Guide to the best whiskey tastings in London
In this guide
The best whiskey tastings in London
- Map Maison – Mac and cheese
- Soho Whisky Club – Private exclusivity
- The Melody Whisky Bar – Weekly introductions
- Milroy's – London's oldest whisky specialists
- Black Rock – Blend your own bottle
- Bimber Distillery – Behind the scenes
- Merchant House – Pick your poison
- Salt Bar – From India to Scotland
- The Bar at The Athenaeum – Dramatic views
- The Scotch Malt Whisky Society – Can't drink on an empty stomach
- East London Liquor Company – New-age whiskies
- Cadenhead's – Finely aged
- The Distillery – Gin experts turn to whiskey
- The Whisky Exchange – Welcome to the show
- The New York Bar – Perfect for couples
The best whiskey tastings in London
Mac and cheese
At the buzzy Map Maison cocktail bar in Hackney, you can try a flight of the renowned Double Cask Series of 12, 15 and 18-year-old Macallan whiskies, paired perfectly with different cheeses. The experience includes a detailed explanation of the whiskies and the pairings, as well as Macallan cocktails and a selection of tapas. During the two hours, you can also try other rare Macallans at exclusive prices.
Convening above The Vintage House, a specialist whisky retailer in the West End, the Soho Whisky Club is a private members' club for whisky and cigar aficionados. You need to be a member to take full advantage of the club benefits, which include free tastings, but anyone can book a private tasting. Different themed tasting menus are available, from an introductory one to an ultra-deluxe experience of some of the finest whiskies available, all set in the distinguished club surroundings.
The laidback Melody Whisky Bar hosts guided tastings every Saturday, where you'll learn about the history of whisky, how it's made, and how best to enjoy it, tasting a varied selection of whiskies along the way. In addition to the weekly events, you can order themed whisky flights here, as well as tasting trios to sample the works of some of the most acclaimed distilleries in the world. Throughout the year, The Melody Whisky Bar also holds whisky dinners.
London's oldest whisky specialists
Dating back to 1964, Milroy's of Soho is an acclaimed whisky specialist that now operates a location in Spitalfields as well. In addition to public tasting events, held each month and usually highlighting legendary Scotch whisky distilleries, you can also book private tastings here. You can customise your tasting experience according to your expertise or preferred region, with food available as an add-on. Corporate packages are offered too.
Blend your own bottle
Black Rock, the UK's Best Specialist Bar, provides a unique whisky tasting experience in its purpose-built Blending Room, an interactive educational space. During the three-hour event, you'll start with a welcome drink and a tour through the history and production of whisky. Then it's time for a structured tasting of six whiskies, before the grand finale – the opportunity to blend your own 250ml bottle of whisky to take home. They'll even record your blend, so you can order more of your very own whisky at any time.
Behind the scenes
The Bimber Distillery in North Acton produces craft single malts with a handcrafted approach that incorporates rarely seen traditional methods. You can learn more about their production process during a tour of their unique facility, complete with a welcome whisky cocktail and a tasting of some of Bimber's artisanal whiskies. If you like what you try, you can stock up in their shop as well.
Pick your poison
Stocking around 600 whiskies, 400 rums and 400 gins, the Merchant House bar is a sure-fire hit regardless of your preferred spirit. Staffed by knowledgeable industry-renowned experts, the venue hosts gin, whisky and rum masterclasses, enabling you to discover more about your chosen spirit. The one-hour event includes a welcome drink, four tasters, and finally “something fine and rare” from the Merchant House's private collection. Private masterclasses are available as well.
From India to Scotland
Salt Whisky Bar and Dining Room has a collection of more than 180 whiskies from around the world, blending them with a refined take on Indian cuisine in a bespoke interior. The establishment offers different guided tasting sessions, exploring the different regions of Scotland dram after dram. Trained staff explain each whisky's history and character, making the experience suitable and interesting for both novices and experts.
The luxurious Bar at The Athenaeum is housed in a former whisky room and has a collection of more than 100 grain spirits on the menu. It hosts different whisky tastings, with the absolute pinnacle being The View Whisky Experience. While enjoying a selection of four unique whiskies, paired with a delicious cheese board, you can take in the London skyline from The Bar's panoramic lounge on the tenth floor. Lower – in price as well as height – tastings are offered as well.
Can't drink on an empty stomach
The Scotch Malt Whisky Society is a high-end private members' club with glass cabinets filled with intriguing bottles from around the world. Non-members are welcome to attend events in the plush on-site tasting room. An assortment of themed whisky tasting experiences is available to choose from, including all sorts of food and whisky pairings – burgers, curries, steaks, Sunday roasts and more.
The East London Liquor Company is a trendy distillery based in the East End. They craft their own range of whiskies, gins, and vodkas, and you're welcome to tour their gleaming production facility, with a tasting of their whiskies included in the price. Alternatively, you can go on a quick tour of the distillery, then sit down with the resident experts and build your own blend to take home.
One of London's oldest whisky shops, Cadenhead's has been providing spirit enthusiasts with Scotland's finest for over 150 years. Their signature tasting room was renovated during lockdown and now hosts daily tasting experiences, with a choice of introductory or deluxe courses. Both versions come with detailed information on each of the six whiskies you're sampling, with the deluxe version also including canapes.
Gin experts turn to whiskey
Though The Distillery is renowned mainly for its Portobello Road gin and accompanying experiences such as The Ginstitute, this four-floor drinking palace also offers an educatory experience for those who prefer whiskey. The Whiskey Thing takes an in-depth look at the history, production, and flavour profiles of whiskey, complete with ten curated spirit tastings and the chance to blend your own 70cl bottle. An extra batch of your blend is also used in a specially crafted cocktail at the end.
Welcome to the show
One of the largest specialist online whisky retailers in the world, The Whisky Exchange operates several shops around London, where thousands of different spirits are available, including old, rare or discontinued bottles. The shops also organise public and private tastings of whiskies and other spirits, flying in some of the biggest names in the industry for exclusive events. Monthly barrel-top tastings are also available. The Whisky Exchange also puts on the annual Whisky Show, the biggest whisky festival in the UK.
Perfect for couples
The New York Bar at the Rubens Hotel combines a striking setting with warm service, a vibrant atmosphere, and showstopping presentation. They offer premium whisky tasting sessions for two every day, with the resident experts taking your senses on a journey from fruity single malts to deep peat flavours. Each session is accompanied by a sharing stand with delicious options such as lobster roll, ham & cheese croquettes, or barbecue jackfruit bao buns.