The Bookworm Whisky Wednesday

The Bookworm is opening up its collection of single malt whiskies to the public in a most exciting way. For a limited time, the following three-whisky flights are available by reservation. Tastings will be conducted Wednesdays only, and must be booked at least one day in advance by emailing [email protected] (see bottom for details). Pours are accompanied by explanation and snacks.

Tastings will begin at 8 pm (unless otherwise requested).

For more whisky options, please see our Whisky Flights menu, which is always available at The Bookworm.

(If gin is more your thing, we have you covered.)

Bookworm whiskies 2

AT A GLANCE (numbers in parentheses indicate per-glass price; number in red indicates the flight price, i.e. for all three whiskies)

Introduction to Scotch

Glenfiddich 12 (45rmb), Cragganmore 12 (50rmb), Laphroaig 10 (50rmb) 130 RMB

Indispensable Islay

Laphroaig 10 (50rmb), Caol Ila 12 (50rmb), Bunnahabhain 12 (60rmb) 150 RMB

The Highlands

Old Pulteney 12 (50rmb), Macallan 12 (60rmb), Dalmore 12 (60rmb) 150 RMB

The Highlands 2: The Isles

Talisker 10 (50rmb), Arran 12 (70rmb), Jura Diurachs’ Own 16-yr (70rmb) 165 RMB

The Misfits OUT

Tomintoul with a Peaty Tang (45rmb), Talisker Dark Storm (60rmb), Hellyers Road (85rmb) 165 RMB

For Peat’s Sake OUT

Benriach Curiositas (70rmb), Arran Machrie Moor Peated (80rmb), Benromach Peat Smoke (85rmb) 195 RMB

Taste of Japan

Miyagikyo Non Age (80rmb), Hakushu 12 (70rmb), Yoichi 10 (90rmb) 200 RMB

Journey Through Bruichladdich

The Classic Laddie (75rmb), Bere Barley 2006 (85rmb), The Laddie Ten (85rmb) 210 RMB

Laphroaig Plunge

Laphroaig Q.C. (60rmb), Laphroaig An Cuan Mòr (100rmb), Laphroaig 18 (135rmb) 250 RMB

Weird and Wonderful Campbeltown OUT

Springbank 12 (95rmb), Longrow 10 (90rmb), Longrow 14 (120rmb) 260 RMB

Premium Islay

Bowmore 15 (75rmb), Lagavulin 16 (90rmb), Laphroaig 18 (135rmb) 260 RMB

Glenfiddich Advanced

Glenfiddich 15 (60rmb), Glenfiddich 18 (80rmb), Glenfiddich 21 (170rmb) 260 RMB

The Ardbeg Experience OUT

Ardbeg Ten (75rmb), Uigeadail (120rmb), Corryvreckan (135rmb) 280 RMB

The Bookworm Special OUT

Aberlour A’bunadh (80rmb), Oban Distillers Edition (120rmb), Balblair 89 (170rmb) 300 RMB


Whisky is defined as an alcoholic beverage made from malted grain. The whiskies on our list are all single malts (contrast with “blended whisky”), which means they come from only one grain — in the case of everything below, that grain is barley.

For a whisky to be called a Scotch, it must meet these specifications: be produced in Scotland, contain only three ingredients (water, barley, and yeast [an exception is made for E150A, i.e. caramel coloring, which is an unnecessary though commonly used cosmetic additive]), aged at least three years (plus one day) in an oak cask, and have an alcoholic strength by volume of at least 40%. The Japanese whiskies in our collection (and one Australian) also happen to follow these specifications, with the obvious exception that they are not produced in Scotland.

Scotch comes from five defined regions in Scotland: the Lowlands, Highlands (the largest by area, including all the islands except Islay), Speyside (a small area that’s home to nearly half of all the distilleries in Scotland), Islay (just one island with eight [nine if you count Port Charlotte as separate from Bruichladdich] distillers), and Campbeltown (where there are only three active distilleries). For more info, read on!

Introduction to Scotch 130 RMB

Glenfiddich 12 (45rmb): A Speyside classic and one of the most-importe scotch single malts in the world; floral and distinctively fruity (can you guess which one in particular?). A great introductory Scotch.
Cragganmore 12 (50rmb): Cream, honey, nuts, a bit of smoke, a pinch of spice, consistent and well balanced — the platonic ideal of Scotch?
Laphroaig 10 (50 rmb): Big, brassy, meaty: one of the most distinctive whiskies in the world. Iodine and peat dominate, to the extent that this was imported to America during Prohibition as a tonic.

Indispensable Islay 150 RMB

Laphroaig 10 (50rmb): Big, brassy, meaty: one of the most distinctive whiskies in the world. Iodine and peat dominate, to the extent that this was imported to America during Prohibition as a tonic.
Caol Ila 12 (50rmb):An oily, spicy, and elegant dram, with the warmth of a campfire.
Bunnahabain 12 (60rmb): From the northernmost Islay distillery, “lightly peated” but incredibly flavorful and fresh. Bottled at 46.3%. If you enjoy these Islays, scroll down for the Premium Islay selection.

The Highlands 150 RMB

Old Pulteney 12 (50rmb): Crisp and clean — which just might be a theme for these Highland malts. Nuts, toffee, and spices.
Macallan 12 (60rmb): Even if you think you know Macallan, give this one a try: a special 12-year-old matured in sherry wood from Jerez, Spain.
Dalmore 12 (60rmb): A dram for coffee lovers: rich and warm, with hints of chocolate and orange.

The Highlands 2: The Isles 165 RMB

Talisker 10 (50rmb): Talisker, “the single malt made by the sea,” is the only distillery on the Isle of Skye, and has been there since 1830. An essential dram — one of the true classics — that everyone should try.
Arran 12 (70rmb): From the Isle of Arran, this is a cask strength bottling at 54.1%. Lots of fruit, foremost apricot, followed by a spicy finish.
Jura Diurachs’ Own 16-yr (70rmb): A resinous, rich dram from the Isle of Jura. Won the bronze medal at the 2004 International Wine and Spirits Competition.

The Misfits 165 RMB

Tomintoul with a Peaty Tang (45rmb): Released in 2007 from the Tomintoul distillery, one of Scotland’s highest, drawing water from a nearby spring. It’s no wonder the distillery markets itself as “the easy drinking dram.”
Talisker Dark Storm (60rmb): This one’s very salty, very smoke (more so than the Talisker 10), and quite expressive (explosive?), as befitting a whisky younger than 10 years.
Hellyers Road (85rmb): An Australian single malt distilled from Tasmanian barley and bottled at 46.2% abv. This one requires some patience: the taste is weird at first, almost un-whisky-like, but it settles into its own with a few more sips. You’re unlikely to find another bottle like this in Beijing.

For Peat’s Sake 195 RMB

Benriach Curiositas (70rmb): A Speyside that’s heavily peated; it’s still grassy and floral, but with medicinal and phenol notes.
Arran Machrie Moor Peated (80rmb): The peated Arran malt: a warm, sweet whisky with liberal doses of earthy peat, which stays in the roof of the mouth long after.
Benromach Peat Smoke (85rmb): Another Speyside that’s warm as a summer cookout. Ash smoke lingers.

Taste of Japan 200 RMB

Miyagikyo Non Age (80rmb): An immensely drinkable, well-balanced dram that serves as a perfect introduction to Japanese whiskies, which tend to be smooth and more or less perfect.
Hakushu 12 (70rmb): Smooth of course, very clean, with a good press of sweetness. Hakushu is owned by Suntory, which founded Yamazaki, Japan’s first distillery.
Yoichi 10 (90rmb): An evolved Japanese whisky with somewhat mutant characteristics: unpredictability, smoke, vibrancy. A rambunctious 10-year-old simultaneously in harmony with and trying to escape its personality.

Journey Through Bruichladdich 200 RMB

The Classic Laddie (75rmb): Discover why Bruichladdich — the atypically unpeated Islay — is considered among the best distilleries in the world. The Classic Laddie is matured in American oak, distilled from unpeated all-Scottish barley.
Bere Barley 2006 (85rmb): Made using crops from Kynagarry farm in Islay, fields that saw no agriculture for more than a century; completely organic, the result is highly aromatic and sweet, with Bruichladdich’s characteristic cleanness.
The Laddie Ten (80rmb): Read this feature about Bruichladdich in The New Yorker: “In 2011, the new Bruichladdich turned ten, and so did the oldest batch of new whisky in the warehouse. The distillery finally had a flagship ten-year-old, which it called the Laddie Ten: a definitive name for a definitive dram… Reviews were generally enthusiastic. Whisky Advocate named the Laddie Ten the year’s best Islay whisky, above bottles that sell for more than ten times the price.”

Laphroaig Plunge 250 RMB

Laphroaig Q.C. (60rmb): Matured in smaller casks — Quarter Casks, in fact — to speed up the aging process, the Laphroiag Quarter Cask is a five-year-old whisky that dances on the tongue. Sweet, zesty, and almost irresistibly smoky.
Laphroaig An Cuan Mòr (100rmb): “An Cuan Mòr” means “Big Ocean” in Gaelic, which you can see why after one sniff: a powerful, overflowing scent of Laphroaig is apparent, but it’s smoother and slightly less medicinal than the flagship Laphroaig 10.
Laphroaig 18 (135rmb): All of the power and punch of Laphroaig without the medicinal iodine flavor. Strong, toasty, well rounded, confident without being loud, a little fiery around the edges… simply put, one of our best whiskies.

Weird and Wonderful Campbeltown 260 RMB

Springbank 12 (95rmb): The town of Campbeltown once boasted more than 30 distilleries, earning the nickname “whisky capital of the world”; only three remain in operation: Glen Scotia, Glengyle, and Springbank. The whiskies in this selection all come from the Springbank distillery, which itself only produces three distinct labels (we’re missing the Hazelburn). The Springbank 12 is a 53.2% abv cask strength beauty that tingles till the last drop.
Longrow 10 (90rmb): Double distilled and particularly peated; make sure you give this one a good sniff before you dip in, because the scent is incredibly layered and difficult to place.
Longrow 14 (120rmb): Cereals, barley, smoke — not as explosive and unsettled as the 10-year, but as complex and exciting.

Premium Islay 260 RMB

Bowmore 15 (75rmb): Coastal, briny, and bright.
Lagavulin 16 (90rmb): Rich and very peaty, with a long finish of smoke and fruity sweetness.
Laphroaig 18 (135rmb): All of the power and punch of Laphroaig without the medicinal iodine flavor. Strong, toasty, well rounded, confident without being loud, a little fiery around the edges… simply put, one of our best whiskies.

Glenfiddich Advanced 260 RMB

Glenfiddich 15 (60rmb): Non chill-filtered and bottled at 51% abv, much higher than the typical Glenfiddich. The result is crisp and peppery.
Glenfiddich 18 (80rmb): Fresh and rich with hints of apricot and toffee. Matured in Oloroso sherry and bourbon casks.
Glenfiddich 21 (170rmb): Matured in Caribbean rum casks, which figures into its extremely long finish. Creamy and distinguished.

The Ardbeg Experience 280 RMB

Ardbeg Ten (75rmb): Jim Murray, author of Jim Murray’s Whisky Bible, chose this as his Whisky of the Year in 2008, and ever since it’s been a mainstay in every whisky bar across the world. A dram with a huge personality: smoke, vanilla, peat in perfect combination.
Uigeadail (120rmb): 54% abv; the name is Scottish Gaelic for “dark and mysterious place”; Jim Murray’s 2009 World Whisky of the Year.
Corryvreckan (135rmb): 57.1% abv; the name refers to third largest maelstrom in the world, on the Gulf of Corryvreckan; Malt Advocate’s Top Whisky of the Year for 2009. Yes, Ardbeg is amazing.

The Bookworm Special 300 RMB

Aberlour A’bunadh (Batch 47) (80rmb): No chill-filtering, no coloring, bottled at a stiff 60.7% abv, matured in Spanish Oloroso sherry butts; add water to turn the spice of the malt into a rich chocolate and zesty fruit.
Oban Distillers Edition (120rmb): Be warned, this one goes down easy: tangy fruit, chocolate and nuts fuse in sublime harmony.
Balblair 89 (170rmb): Brought over to The Bookworm from Scotland via suitcase many years back, there’s only a little bit left from this vintage that won a Gold Medal and “best in class” at the 2007 International Wine & Spirits Competition. Ian Buxton featured it in his 101 Whiskies to Try Before You Die.


To make a Whisky Wednesday reservation, email [email protected]. Again, reservations must be made at least one day in advance. Please include your namephone number, whisky selection, and date and time you’d like to attend the tasting. All choices subject to availability.

The Bookworm Download Map

Building 4, Nan Sanlitun Road,

Chaoyang District, Beijing

100027, P.R China

Tel: (010) 6586 9507

Email: [email protected]