Day drinking, a monogrammed travel flask, a tasting blog dedicated to the world’s finest 40s — they’re all hallmarks of a sophisticated (read “over-indulgent”) gentleman. Now, London is adding one more for the discerning boozehound: a whisky vending machine.
Guests of — or thirsty passers-by near — London’s Napoleon Hotel can now skip the hotel bar if they’re looking for a pour of high-quality Scotch. Through the end of this year, the hotel has installed the city’s first-ever whisky vending machine just outside its front entrance. It’s a fitting location, given the hotel’s unique ratio of three bars to just a single hotel suite.
Unfortunately, because of the pesky “not promoting underage drinking” thing, it’s not just a matter of popping over to the vending machine and swiping your credit card. Buyers will first need to head upstairs to Napoleon Hotel’s Devil’s Darlings bar to purchase a token. The £7.95 (roughly USD $10) token can then be redeemed between 10 a.m. and 2 a.m. for any Scotch whisky pouch in the machine’s inventory. That includes single malts from the Speyside whiskies of Macallan to the Highland whiskies of Aberfeldy and Royal Lochnager. The company even offers a special birthday whisky commemorating their first year in business.
It’s part of a clever marketing stunt from Whisky-Me. For just £7 per month (including shipping), the London-based subscription service delivers samples of the world’s rarest, most exclusive, and best single malt Scotch whiskies to subscribers’ front doors each month. Each whisky is delivered in a tiny, 1.7-ounce pouch just like those found in the hotel’s vending machine.
Whisky-Me was started by Tristan Stephenson and Thomas Aske, owners of Napoleon Hotel’s Black Rock Bar. Since founding the company last year, the duo’s aim has been to “best represent the flavors and diversity of single malt.” However, perhaps more importantly, they’ve endeavored to reboot the traditionally stodgy, buttoned-down image of drinking whisky. The vending machine is a playful, modern twist on doing just that.
The vending machine will be peddling whisky through the end of December 2018. It’s an ideal way to sample the Whisky-Me service without committing to yet another monthly subscription. It’s also a solid backup if you’ve destroyed your hotel room minibar and are desperately in need of a wee late-night dram.