Gujarat in Scotland, and Malt Whisky..
A holiday to Scotland with Dee was on the cards, the only problem was that we had no hotel bookings and being August, it was difficult to find something. Dee suddenly remembered Ashok & Bhupendra who had re-located to southwest Scotland six years ago, where, “they`re running a store”
Whilst we were staying in a 900 year old house in Monk Fryston, outside Leeds, Dee called Ashok, who as it happened was in London, who invited us to carry on and stay with Bhupendra at Scotland.
It was Friday, 6th August, around 3 PM, when we walked into the News Agent cum grocery store in South West Scotland and met Bhupendra.
Bhupendra was standing behind the counter, a short man with a Gujarati infused belly. ‘Come , come inside’, said Bhupendra and so we stepped behind the counter into the kitchen area with the living room to the right where resided an ancient “aga” to the left and large TV staring straight at us.
On the wall on right stood an antique cabinet, over flowing with crystal decanters. Beneath the cabinet there were several whisky bottles which we were duly informed belonged, “to Ashok”.
Ashok became the mysterious guy, he does this & he does not do that, and became the person I missed in Scotland and had to meet in London.
Bhupinder came, and took us upstairs, the Scots always entertain upstairs he said. There were three bedrooms upstairs, & true to form the largest room was the, “Scottish” living room. It was more like a room filled with quaint antiques.
The room was surrounded by clocks, in all shapes and sizes. One complete wall was devoted to postage stamps collections which were mounted on large picture frames.
The wall on the right had two glass cabinets which were full of Whisky. The shelves on the left were full of whisky. There was a very large wooden chest in the middle of the room which was full of whisky.
I was totally aghast, I had never seen so much choice whisky`s ever. Do you drink I asked Bhupinder, no he said, I just collect whisky !
So here I was literally surrounded by whisky, collected by a man who did not drink whisky, a News Agent and Grocer in South West Scotland , in a small town, all of 600 people about 90 minutes drive from Dumfries, in the Scottish lowlands, a beautiful small Scottish town.
Bells Scotch Whisky brought out commemorative bottles of whisky, covering important events, like Queen Elizabeth Jubilee celebrations, Prince Charles & Princess Diana`s wedding & Prince Andrew & Princess Ferguson`s wedding, Bhupinder told me, the bottles were shaped like bells. There was even a Bell bottle with the Queen Mother, now quite priceless.
Bhupinder took out one Bell shaped bottle of whisky, “see this” he said. How many do you have I asked, “eight” he said, I almost fell down. I was staring down into the wooden chest, full of expensive collector Malt Whisky bottles.
Bunnahabhain – 22 years, Ben Bracken – 22 years, Talisker – 18 years, The Macallan – 25 years in a Crystal decanter, The Macallan – 30 years – Rare Cask, Glenlivet – 25 years, Speyside – 30 years, Glen Orrin – 30 years, Glenfiddich – 19 years, Glen Marnoch – 24 Years, Tobermory – 15 years, Balvenie – 25 years, Highland Park – 25 years. The wooden chest was large, Bhupinder kept dipping in and pulling out one exquisite Malt whisky bottle after the other. All the bottles were in their original boxes, fully intact with all labels.
Then there were blended whisky`s, such as Bell 21 years rare whisky. Famous Grouse in a “Grouse” bottle and American Wild Turkey in a “Turkey” Bottle, and Jack Daniel`s No 7 Whiskey. Then there was also a 21 years, Royal Salute, Diamond Jubilee bottle !
Bhupinder has been collecting Whisky for the last 30 years. I just buy whatever I see and keep it. Along with Whisky Bhupinder collects Crystal decanters, Clocks, and stamps. See my clocks collections said Bhupinder, & out came about 15 boxes of clocks. British Post Box, Clock, British Telephone Box Clock, & the list went on.
In my entire life I have never ever come across anything like this. Here was this most unassuming man, with a private Malt & Scotch Whisky collection I have ever seen.
I started drinking Malt Whisky in the mid 1990`s, and built up a mean collection myself, & took great pride in showing it to my friends, but Bhipinder simply blew me away.
I would put Bhupinder`s Whisky collection at a very tidy figure if he ever chose to sell it, well in excess of GBP 100,000.
This article is for Bhupinder……..may your Malt collection forever grow & fester. You have left me in total awe and wonder.