Whisky Magazine Issue 13
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Martin Betts visits a veritable whisky paradise well hidden in the extreme north-west of England.
Nestled in between the seaside kitsch of Blackpool and the historic industrial town of Preston, St Annes on Sea is found in the eminently northern county of Lancashire. This quaint little seaside town on England's north-west coast stares out over the Irish Sea towards the emerald isle, a land of triple distilled single malts, with bourbon country far distant over the western horizon. To the north is Scotland, for many the spiritual home of whisky. One may be forgiven for cruelly thinking that this is something of a whisky no-man's land.
Not so. For if you take the time to visit the town and stroll along Wood Street you will find The Whisky Chaser a small independent retailer that can boast a vast range of whisky, fine wines and beers in one location. Any wealthy, spendthrift enthusiast of all things alcoholic risks leaving the store a pauper.
The Whisky Chaser is owned and run, hands-on, by the ever affable Andy Cornwall. He and his Assistant Manager, Ian Cairns, toil seven days a week to make the store one of the best in the country, not just the north-west. Andy is relaxed and knowledgeable, always willing to help customers find the whisky that will most suit their palate amongst the myriad available.
His knowledge stems from when his parents would allow the young Andy to enjoy a glass of wine with his main meal. As he grew older his palate became more refined, leading him to visit many differing wine merchants in an attempt to find new pleasures of the vine that would a...