La Maison du Whisky archives feature this article from France Soir, dated December 5, 1967. A genuine piece of history, it says a lot about how much people knew about whisky in France at the time:
« After warning you of the banality of «scotch», we are now more than happy to tell you the opposite. As long as you choose […] a very, very good whisky – a divine whisky. By that, we mean old – Johnny Walker Black Label (ed. note: the spelling mistake appears in the original!), Haig’s, Dimple, Antiquary, Chivas Regal, Ballantine’s 12 Year Old, etc. And very old – Chivas Regal Royal Salute (21 year old); Ballantines 30 Year Old and Royal Sovereign 15 Year Old – which make excellent after-dinner drinks. And then there are the new arrivals in Paris, which are sweeter and to be enjoyed without ice, with just a drop of still water. These are the clear and white “pure malt” whiskies, created from malted not dried barley, all from the Glenlivet region. Still little known, these delightful personalities are not easy to find. Only La Maison du Whisky has six different brands of them. At the head is the «Glenlivet» – the only allowed to bear the name of the area – followed by Glen Grant, Strathisla, Milton Duff, Cardhu, and lastly Glendfiddich. »
The boutique at 20 rue d’Anjou in the 1980s…
… and today
We have to remember that whisky only really became popular in the 1980s, when it first began being sold by large retailers. Before then, it was only found in bars and most often served with ice or sparkling water…
In 1968, a year after this article was published, La Maison du Whisky opened a store on 20 Rue d’Anjou in Paris. Of the 100 whiskies on offer at the time, most where blends, including the star products Johnnie Walker, Ballantine’s and Chivas Regal, a few big-name bourbons, some Irish and Canadian whiskeys, and the very first single malts imported into France by La Maison du Whisky, Glen Grant 5 Year Old and 12 Year Old, Cardhu, Glenfiddich 8 Year Old, Glenlivet, Miltonduff, and Strathisla.
La Maison du Whisky catalogs from the 60s and 70s also pay witness to the era and, amongst the ceramic jugs, bottles in the shape of books, and other accessories designed to be given as business gifts, we find some real gems, including the first Lagavaluns, Springbanks and Laphroaigs to have been distributed on the French mainland.
Many years have passed and France is now the top consumer of single malt in the world. Loyal to its vocation as a pioneer, the store was the first to offer French consumers independent bottlings, then cask strength single malts, small batches, single barrel bourbons, Irish Pot Stills and Japanese whiskies…
Throughout its existence, 20 Rue d’Anjou has undergone many changes, to its size, décor, colors and spaces. But it is in the last decade that it has undergone the most important. In 2014, the store was extended and it opened an entire room dedicated to rare and old bottlings. To celebrate its 50th anniversary, the historic La Maison du Whisky store had a makeover. In May 2018, it opened the Islay Room, dedicated to the whiskies of Islay, and in September it will open the Lab, a space dedicated to experiences and encounters.
For the first time in its existence, it will also have its very own range, 20 Rue d’Anjou.
20 rue d’anjou
Highland Single Malt – 53.6%, 70cl
Single Cask #8680 – Sherry Butt
Limited Edition of 570 bottles
20 rue d’anjou
Speyside Single Malt – 55.6%, 70cl
Single Cask #6542 – Bourbon Barrel
Limited Edition of 221 bottles
20 rue d’anjou
Highland Single Malt – 59.9%, 70cl
Single Cask #312 – Bourbon Barrel
Limited Edition of 218 bottles
Caol Ila 2009
20 rue d’anjou
Islay Single Malt – 46%, 70cl
Single Cask #319398 – Hogshead
Limited Edition of 385 bottles
The 20 rue d’Anjou boutique team.
From left to right: Raphaël BECAUD, Marion ATTARDI, Florian FERE,
Hugo GARGAUD, Adrien GASTECLOU, Jean-Marc BELLIER,
Des MC CAGHERTY (Signatory Vintage) and Salvatore MANNINO.
”" When I first started, customers under 30 were rare. I’ve noticed that today lots of enthusiasts are really passionate, for them whisky is a serious thing. You just need to look at all the blogs on the subject... "Jean-Marc BellierDirector of the 20 rue d'Anjou boutique
La Maison du Whisky’s catalogs