Just got back from a trip to Amsterdam. Highlight was supposed to be Cadenheads. Don't have a lot of experience with IB's and was looking forward to Cadenheads and the opportunity to sample before I bought. Did not go to duty free because I was primed to spend some money there.
I went with my husband, my friend and her husband. When I entered the store, there was one salesperson working with one couple. He did not look up or acknowledge we existed. We were happy to entertain ourselves, and actually had made some interesting OB finds, but I wanted to know more about their brand. We waited patiently and watched while he gave the other couple samples.
When the other couple left, he still didn't turn to us. I finally went up and asked if they had versions of some of the whiskys we like (Highland Park, Springbank), and I was met with a sneered, "You like Highland Park?" They didn't have either, so I asked what he would recommend and whether we could sample before we buy. He told me that they don't give samples! He had just doled several out to the other couple. We left without buying anything.
We are not typical loud Americans or newbies, but I think he assumed we were. Either that, or it was because I was the one talking to him, and I'm a woman. Either way it was a really awful experience.
CA Scotch Chick
Sadly, there are idiots everywhere, and miserable people abound. I wouldn't give that rotten gentleman, or experience, a second thought.
I still can't get over the fact that you are a woman and you like scotch. That's just so, well cool.
Also interesting is that they donÂ´t nessecarily like smooth malts from the speyside or lowlands, irish oder sherrycask. I.e. there is a sweet, little redhaired from hannover and if you ask her about her preferences, sheÂ´ll say: "Islay!!! Cask strength!!!"
Never had any bad experioence at Cadenhead (niether in Amsterdam or anywhere else).
i know the shop and staff as being very friendly an knwowledgable.
Also never herad anybody say anything bad about teh Amsterdam shop. And i do know quite some people who go there.
I would highly recommend this shop.
So very surprised you've had this bad expierence. Very sad to hear. No excuse for it.
As for the samples: yes it must be very weird to be told you can't get any if you see others do get some. But it's not allowed by law do serve samples. You're not allowed to serve alcohol and sell bottles of alcohol in teh same place in Holland (so much for being free minded here
I actually think you should forward this comment by e-mail to Cadenhead. I think they would like to know that this happend.
I have no complaints about the service I received, which was informative without being pushy. (jmrl, if that was you behind the counter on the 2nd October, I was the man with the long hair, mutton-chops and umbrella who bought the Balblair 18 after staring at the bottling list for 15 minutes, if you remember me).
I would go regularly, but I live 2 and half hours away.
LeoDLion wrote:Which I find odd because you smoke tobacco and marijuana so they go hand in hand.
Try one of the coffee shops next time. Expresso and sinsemilla, ya gotta love it!
I guess I was most upset because I was desperately hoping to find an IB I liked. I try IB's whenever I see them on whisky menus, and I am often disappointed. Cadenheads is one of the best, so I was really looking forward to the visit. We will definitely be heading to Edinburgh within the next couple of years, and we will stop by.
Good idea about the email. DC Scotch Chick (who was the friend who was with me) is working on one. She is feeling more outraged. I was feeling just plain hurt.
It was also interesting to hear the legalities of tasting and buying in the Netherlands - very interesting. Finally, Elagabalus, thank you for the kind words. Try single malt whisky on your Lady some time. Our experience when we first tried it was definitely a "Where have you been all my life?" moment.
CA Scotch Chick
jmrl wrote: If ever in Scotland pop into the Edinburgh shop anonymously and I hope your experience will be quite different. Please don't write us off, although I'd understand if you did!
I take no offence if I go to a whisky shop and the staff don't offer samples. And I have never (I think) asked for a free sample. Sometimes, after talking to staff about whisky, they will offer samples and sometimes they don't. But I always enjoy the chat anyway.
peat-chaser wrote:is it so unusual that a woman likes whisky in northern america?
No, it's not. Loads of women love scotch in North America. Scotch is not a gender specific passion.
The Scotch Chix wrote:Try single malt whisky on your Lady some time. Our experience when we first tried it was definitely a "Where have you been all my life?" moment.
I did so with my (now ex) wife when we were first married, it got so bad I ended up having to lock up the whisky. The final straw was when I bought 2 bottles Aberlour a'bunadh and she polished them both off in a week while I got none of it (gee thanks honey!). So if for those of you who do introduce your woman to the pleasures of SMS make damn sure she acquires her own stash!
Live and learn brothers and sisters!
did so with my (now ex) wife when we were first married, it got so bad I ended up having to lock up the whisky. The final straw was when I bought 2 bottles Aberlour a'bunadh and she polished them both off in a week while I got none of it (gee thanks honey!). So if for those of you who do introduce your woman to the pleasures of SMS make damn sure she acquires her own stash!
Live and learn brothers and sisters!
My better half just got a bottle of Highland Park 30 from a grateful client. I'm already referring to it as "ours."
CA Scotch Chick
Maybe the 2 couples thing was more than he could bear at first glance ?
When I go to a shop, as a woman all alone, I usually first get the "you wanna buy something for your husband/brother/father ?" look but after a few minutes, they soon realize I'm the basic whisky fan type.
Last time that was TWE in London, very cool guy (Tim was it ?) Very nice and helpful and... great tastings from the barrel btw.
Now, you've done it : you'll have to go back to Caddenhead and "tame" this salesperson
As Mark said there samples are precious to them also as is the nature of the likes of Cadenheads , they are single cask bottlings and sometimes not many available , if they dished them all out to anybody who wanders into the shop or by it , they wouldn't sell any . As Mark said if word got round he wouldn't be able to move for Freeloaders !
It's the same at distilleries , some people expect to taste everything on the shelf where normally it's not possible in fact i know some people have been expected to get took into warehouses and start popping the casks ! I have seen some major freeloaders in action in my time and it's unbelievable what they do expect....
I go into places not expecting anything just a bit of polite conversation but i have found over the years it usually leads to long friendships and good mutual respect . I've also given samples the other way which i find is usually much appreciated as well !!!!
My only defense was that I was there to buy. I have been burned by many a bad IB, so I usually don't buy an entire bottle of one until I have found it on a whisky menu somewhere and tried it. I had never had the opportunity to try Candenheads, and it has both a reputation for being an excellent IB and for letting you try before you buy. Our plan was to purchase four different Cadenheads bottlings so that we could bring them back. However, they had many interesting OB's we can't get here that I would have been happy to scoop up and bring home, so I shouldn't have been so focused on their stuff.
Also, unfortunately, we were treated badly long before I asked for advice and a sample. Since the cold shoulder started long before I spoke with the shop keeper, I suspect that it was the fact that there were four of us and no matter how we comported ourselves, a pair of couples screams "tourists" to a weary shop keeper. My reaction actually says too much about me and about the bubble I live in as a main stream individual. I expect to blend and to be accepted. That expectation was challenged.
I have read of your experience with some interest and I must say, I don't remember ever being treated badly in any whisky shop, anywhere. So you were really unlucky.
Was it the fact that you are female? Maybe.
The only similar thing I have experienced was in another non-whisky shop which I visited with my partner. She wanted information on some products which she wanted to purchase. No matter what she asked the shop attendant, he addressed all replies to her questions to ME! I wasn't even part of the discussion.
She was so upset about this that we just walked out.
Back to whisky, I know it isn't the same environment as a bar sells drams from open bottles, but I treat everyone the same in my bar, whether male, female, casual or very smart. After just a short discussion it is easy to identify whether I am talking to a whisky novice or an experienced connoisseur, or even someone somewhere inbetween.
At that point I can then pitch my own replies, advice and discussion at the right level to help them.
As for samples, I have even been known to offer a free sample to some customers.
So, should you ever get to Munich I would look forward to welcoming you to my pub.
Sorry to hear about your less than acceptable experience. I visited the Amsterdam shop a couple of years back and it was ok but not great if my memory serves me well. That said, I was pretty rushed that day, so maybe I was sending out the wrong signals. Anyway, I would like to re-iterate what Mark (JMRL) has already said above, please do not right off Cadenheads as they are an excellent independent and please do visit the Edinburgh store if you ever get the chance as you will be guaranteed a warm welcome - Mark is a great guy and extremely knowledgeable and trys to treat everyone the same (he is not paying me to write this honest !).
It is no consolation but I suffered a similar fate the other day at World of Whiskies at Edinburgh Airport (on our way out to Paris for a few days). The guy on duty methodically worked his way around several foreign visitors and gave them pretty much his life story along the way and dished out various samples - result - no sales. I was then the only one left in the shop and he completely ignored me. I had been going to buy a Highland Park 18 on sale for £41. I waited for around 5-10mins at this point but he didn't even come near, so I decided against giving him a sale. I was pretty angry and thought about going back to complain but then thought better of it - I was going on holiday after all so why raise the stress levels. That said, you do feel like these people should get to know how you feel when you are treated poorly.
Over the years I've got to know Andries as a very friendly, amicable and knowledgeable person who is doing his very best to serve his customers. Everyone who attended tastings organised by him will say the same. He's very generous with his drams, including the more expensive ones on offer.
What I did not read above is (unless I missed it) is that offering drams is not allowed anymore by EU regulations. You're allowed to sniff, but not taste it. Of course, this is ridiculous when it comes to products like single malt whisky where customers like to make a informed buy. Of course, you're not allowed to drink but Andries can't help it when you sniff it too quickly take a sip
Maybe he thought you were inspectors? I know he had inspectors before. Being punished by law for it is an expensive experience I can assure you. Or maybe indeed he might have gotten the idea you guys were in for a couple of free drams.
Finally everyone can have an off-day. Even people who depend on their customers for their income. I'm sure it was not his intention to pissoff people his income depends on. If you ever get the chance drop by again and have a chat with Andries, he's a great character.
My name is Andries Visser and I am the owner of this shop and would like to react on the article of the Scotch Chix. I was informed about this article by a friend, who was very wondered about the negative tone in this story. It has nothing to do with Cadenhead as a company, only with myself and the shop in Amsterdam.
First I want to apologise if I was incorrect, not polite or rude in any way. This is never a good thing and as somebody who is working in a shop, you have to serve people in the best way possible.
I remember the 4 of you very good; why?, I will tell you later.
This day was an extremely good whisky day for me in point of sales. As the shop entrance is very narrow, you come in one by one. And as I am busy with some customers I will greet the first person to come in and continue with the ones I'm helping on that moment. I think that is very normal. If there had been another sales person, he would helped you immediately, although this would also not be possible as there were more people waiting to be helped.
One of the best things of a good whisky shop is (as you said yourself) the level of self entertaining. Shelves with bottles, books, a table and chairs to sit on etc. So if I have the idea somebody is self entertaining I can give my attention to the current customers. Your husband asked me the price for a special bottling of Highland park, I told him the price, but was also still busy with the other customers. Then you asked me for HP's of Cadenhead.
Well maybe I sneered, but first I still was busy with another customer and second don't forget we are not English speaking, we are Dutch speaking people! So our language is a bit different than yours. I think most Dutch understand and speak the English language reasonably well, but it is not what we speak normally. (the best example is to look on television at our prime minister when he is visiting a prime minister in another country and he is speaking in the English language. LOL!). So sometimes it will not come out as you are used to or as it should be. But as I said, apologies if I sneered, that was unintentional.
As for the sample question. Everyone who is asking if it is possible to sample in the shop: the answer is always NO!
In the Netherlands there are some odd laws and this is one of them. In coffee shops - they are allowed, in Dutch we call it "gedoogd" with other words not allowed but ok it is here, you can buy and smoke cannabis, but it is not allowed to have in possession (I don't use it, so don't know the exact rules). In a specialty liquor shop it is not allowed by law to taste or sample any of the fluids for sale. So if somebody asks for sampling we are very cautious and always saying no, foreigner or Dutch.
As I'm busy with a customer and we are getting more and more exited the sampling will follow almost by itself, although I have to say that it depends on the customer and that it should never be taken for granted and it never should be standard.
I understand that a bottle of whisky is not as cheap or standard as a bread or milk, so sampling is a good way to find out what you like. So if you had stayed, I'm almost sure we had have some nice samples.
But the three things you are really hurting me with are about (one and two) newbies and women.
I think the term newbies is not very nice to use. I think the people, old or young, who are interested in whisky, but are new and do not know a lot, are demanding more attention than people who are already experienced. It is also the group where we (all the people working in the whisky business) should pay the most attention to (no offence and apologies to the more experienced if you feel attacked and don't agree). So when you were in the shop for a few minutes for me it was clear I could put you and your companions in the experienced group. Also I think it is not very polite to leave the shop without saying nothing at all. Not only me but also the customers who still were in the shop found this very strange.
As for the woman and women part: well for you (in your opinion) as exception, I think no one will ever say I have treated a woman or women different then men in my shop and find it really offensive that you are thinking and mentioning it in your article.
The third and last thing is also the reason why I knew so well you were in the shop. As I was closing I found about 10 cards from the Whisky Chix on my counter. I think that is a very strange and bold action. There are more cards from whisky related persons on the counter and I never mind, but they always ask if this is ok.
If you had time to do this you had also could left a message on one of them, like we are not happy with your service, so I had could react and mail or phone you why and how to solve this.
Also why leave the cards in a shop that you don't like? If you had left one it would be more understandable as a protest, but now you leave them as marketing for yourself in a place you feel and speak negative about. I think that's a bit strange.
I know it has become a long story, but for me it is important to tell my point of view. Also I think it is not the best way to use a forum, because you are hurting people (and companies) in a way, maybe not intended, but it will. It is very easy to accuse but we are all human and you never know what happened that morning. Maybe my child was sick (or myself). Never a excuse to be rude or not being polite, but it is possible. Rather send a mail or something and try to work it out first in that kind of way. Maybe you will be very positive surprised. At last I hope you will visit Amsterdam again and would like to invite you to visit the shop again and maybe we can drink a few drams and talk things over about this misunderstanding.
So I apologize.
I am also shocked and appalled that The Scotch Chix would leave her cards on your counter, and then come here and complain about unsatisfactory service. How terribly uncouth. I am not at all surprised she omitted that from her previous posts.
I believe the administration should delete your post Mr Visser. For your own good. You mention that giving samples is clearly against the law and thus your own policy. Then you go on to mention how depending on how the conversation goes with some of your customers, sampling is possible or probable. Not the best thing to admit on a public forum.
Again, Mr Visser I beg your forgiveness.
I went out of my way to find the place and got there at 1.30pm (an hour and a half after advertised opening hour) and it was all locked up.
Fine, someone's had a lie-in, I thought. But when I came back over an hour later after some shopping and it was STILL locked up, I was forced to give up.
There was something in the window about being closed on Thursday of this week, but nothing about closing on Tuesday.
I was on my way home from Paris when Mr. Visser made his reply, and answered as soon as I saw it. Unfortunately, I just went back on and found that my response was on one of the lost days.
So, here I am again. Mr. Visser, thank you very much for your apology and for taking the time to write.
I too agree that people new to whisky should be treated with utmost respect. I apologize is the term "newbie" was offensive. I have used it on myself for many a year (and still consider that I have much to learn).
I did not know that my partner had left business cards when we exited the store. If I had known and had some indication that Mr. Visser would remember me, I might have been more willing to contact him directly. As it was I didn't know where to start ("Hi, I'm the woman who felt like crud today when I left your store.")
Regarding deleting the entire thread. We post on web sites to get a feel for other people's experiences and to get support from the community. I received both. I do not want to permanently damage Cadenhead's reputation or get Mr. Visser in trouble, so if y'all want to delete the entire thread, I am fine with that.
CA Scotch Chick
That said, I've been into Cadenheads in Edinburgh and would happily recommend the store to other women just as much as to men. Although I was with a male customer at the time, the staff member there (Mark?) was very helpful and informative to a couple of women who came in while we were there.
On the other hand I was at another Scottish store where I felt quite overwhelmed by the insistense of a staff member that I try his liqueur. He was definitely pushing it more on women customers than men. It was rather uncomfortable.
The moral of the story? Shoppers, don't ask for free stuff. Storekeepers, remember everyone is a potential customer, even people who don't want to sample liqueur at 11am.
*on second thoughts, this might not be so useful at all .
Calliope wrote:*on second thoughts, this might not be so useful at all .
It would keep them busy, anyway....
Just a few points about traveling abroad. I have spent at least 1-4 months per year for most of the last 18 years working in foreign countries as an American civilian.
Like it or not Americans are preceived badly in most corners of the globe...past bad behavior by Americans (military or civilian), American foreign policy..whatever. It's real and it's nearly universal. I have found that in a lot of cases after a few weeks or a month I can win some people over but that fact is that in many places (even Canada) it would not matter. I am a f*^% American and that's all they see.
I am not saying that this had anything to do with this incident, just that Americans going outside the U.S. should NOT expect good treatment, but should be greatful when they receive courteous treatment.
talisker10 wrote:Like it or not Americans are preceived badly in most corners of the globe...
It's real and it's nearly universal...
I am a f*^% American and that's all they see.
I can imagine if you make sweeping and hostile generalizations like that, you might find people giving you the cold shoulder.
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