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Issue 8 - Jazzin' with the dram

Whisky Magazine Issue 8
February 2000


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Jazzin' with the dram

London's first malt and cigar bar is now the capital's finest Scottish restaurant with a huge selection of whiskies. Jane Slade went to investigate

Coming here is like returning to the womb,” muttered one Boisdale regular into my ear. He had a cigar the diameter of a squash ball jammed between his teeth, and a glass of Scotch clenched in his fist. I knew what he meant. The jazz band was in full swing. The little back bar and garden room were ‘jumping' with animated chatter from City boys and girls, and waiters carrying plates of haggis, steak and wild venison were weaving between the crisp white tablecloths on their way to the right diner. It is in this delicious, aromatic wonderland that Cuba meets Scotland in a welcome exchange of food, tobacco and whisky; namely in London's premier Scottish restaurant.

The owner of Boisdale (pronounced ‘boysdale') is Ranald Macdonald of Clanranald, otherwise known as the Laird of Ecclestone Street, London W1. He comes from a dynasty of whisky drinkers; his favourite dram is Springbank 21 year old and his favourite film is Whisky Galore. He named his restaurant after his homeland – a remote outpost on the south east tip of South Uist in the Outer Hebrides.

In 1988 he opened the smallest bar in London, then in 1996 he bought the room at the back and opened the first malt and cigar joint in the capital. Earlier this year he expanded again and opened the Macdonald bar and restaurant. He reckons he has now put Boisdale on the map as London's number one Scottish restaurant, with the largest range of Cuban cigars in the world and the best selection of malt whiskies.

It is diff...

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