Whisky's missionary workers look for converts in London

The Whisky Shop puts faith in City move to encourage more 'followers'

The Whisky Shop has opened its first London store. The shop, on Queen's Head Passage, has been designed to hold regular tastings with a large central table and plasma screen.

The store's range is similar to other Whisky Shops, but will have a higher proportion of top-end whiskies - such as £6,000 Balvenie 50

Year Old - to appeal to a well-heeled City clientele.

In a separate move the company has also closed its concessions in branches of the Edinburgh Woollen Mill.

London manager Chris Maclean said he aimed to help shoppers expand their whisky knowledge. "We will try to convert people across from well-known brands to those that are less well-known," he said.

Whisky Shop chairman Ian Bankier, said: "We see ourselves as missionary workers for whisky. So many people are interested in it, but don't know where to begin."

Scotch whiskies are displayed according to geographic region, alphabetically.

The shop will offer a selection of exclusive bottlings and international whiskies from countries such as Japan, America and India . Customers can also choose to have a rare whisky from Glenkeir's Treasures range bottled just for them in the shop.

Staff will fill a bottle from cask, sign and date it for the customer, or offer a ready-bottled sample for convenience.

Tailored events, from introductory sessions to tutored nosings of top-end whiskies with catering will be on offer at the shop, targeted at corporate parties. A large range of whisky and other spirit miniatures will be

on sale, alongside gift boxes .

Bankier said the company had withdrawn from the Edinburgh Woollen Mill partnership after deciding the link-up - announced last year - was not financially viable.

He said the Whisky Shop

will focus on consolidation and organic growth.