Merchant House – Bow Lane, London

A couple of days ago we had the opportunity to visit Merchant House in London, who claim to have one of the largest collections of Rum (and Gin) in the World. As you can imagine, we were excited when a friend suggested it to us. It has been on the to-do list recently and we jumped at the opportunity.

The bar is downstairs with the entrance and small shop upstairs. The shop has a few bottles of spirits for sale including the St Nicholas Abbey 10 year which can be difficult to get hold of. The cocktail bar is downstairs and has a variety of bottles along the walls and in cabinets throughout to entice those who even have a passing care in them.

After speaking to the bartender we decided to start with a Botran 12 year (made in Guatemala) and have a look through their collection on the shelves and cabinets to see if they had anything we hadn’t seen before or anything they would recommend to an enthusiast like myself. A quick look round left us a tad disappointed with the selection. They had a large collection indeed, but nothing we didn’t own or hadn’t tried before. Nothing rare or unique jumped out at the team.

After a quick chat with the lovely and very knowledgeable Welsh waitress Daisy, she asked if we had seen their special cabinet at the back of the bar. It contained their rarest and most expensive spirit selection and had quite a few unique rums and she was sure there would be a few we hadn’t seen or tried. She was right.

The cabinet contained quite a few rare rums including Uitvlugt 1997 ULR (59.7%) from the Demerara distillers in Guyana (also home to El Dorado), a selection of Samaroli rum (This company is originally from Italy and the rum is matured in Scotland), Damoiseau Rhum Vieux Millesime 1991 from Guadalupe and Black Tot last Consignment. A proud selection indeed!

We decided to try the Uitvlugt 1997 ULR (review here), and then enjoyed a cocktail of the bartenders choosing which was his personal twist on a Dark ‘n’ Stormy (n.b. wasn’t called a dark ‘n’ stormy). We also decided to try the Empire Old Fashioned with different bases of rums and under guidance used Botran 12 and Diplomatico Reserva Exclusiva.

Overall it’s an excellent bar with a superb variety of rums available. If you are in London we highly recommend a visit. Great atmosphere, great location and great rum, what more do you need?

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