Lovers of whiskey come to know the treasures of their area. The little secrets that come in the form of pubs, bars or other places where one can find that unique bottle, the special tasting or well-crafted flight.
Liquored up in downtown
Lovers of whiskey come to know the treasures of their area. The little secrets that come in the form of pubs, bars or other places where one can find that unique bottle, the special tasting or well-crafted flight. For those in Downtown Portland, such a gem is the Tenth Avenue State Liquor Store.
It might seem odd for a series based on traversing Portland through its whiskey hangouts to stop by a liquor store. And one with a name so—let’s say basic—at that. But water-of-life enthusiasts must have a place to provide the selections and tastes outside the pub, to cherish at home, and Tenth Avenue is just such a place.
It’s no wonder why. Tenth Avenue boasts one of the best selections in the city, and perhaps the state. Currently the store carries around 190 single malts to choose from. However, their selection can commonly run up to 210 single malt varieties of Irish whiskey, Scotch and more.
Stepping through the door you will most likely encounter Scott, a boisterous salesman reminiscent of old-west peddlers, but the product sells itself, leaving no tasteless pressure on the customer. Offering a wealth of knowledge on the product at hand, if you have questions, Scott will most likely have the answer, from the range of flavor held in each bottle, to the best candidate according to your personal inclinations should you choose to branch out and try new things.
For Scotch lovers, the variety can’t be beat. Though guaranteed to have your bottle of choice, there will just as likely be new tempting territory to explore, taking enthusiasts to broader horizons from which flows an array of whisky. To begin naming the offerings in their entirety would be rather lengthy. They have the usual favorites of Laphroaig, The Glenlivet or Johnnie Walker, along with any number of lines spanning out from each brand.
Rare or otherwise rather distinctive bottles can be found lining the shelves as well—peering across them can be like scanning through a museum’s priceless showings. But these whiskies do indeed have a price, such as the Last Drop, which can be taken home for a humble $2,200. Tenth Avenue is the only store in Oregon currently carrying the brand.
Another interesting item found on a recent visit is the Snow Phoenix from Glennfiddich. In January of 2010, the Scottish distillery turned a tragedy into an opportunity when heavy snowfall collapsed the roofs of a number of buildings storing barrels of aging whisky. The distillers decided to try their hand at salvaging the precious barrels and were able to produce an intriguing non-aged blend. However, only a mere 1,000 bottles were the result of the endeavor, and Tenth Avenue is one of a scarce few stores offering the line.
While Scotch is a main feature of the store, those with American pride can find their bourbons here as well, presented in a significant selection. I was recently impressed by a recommendation of Willett Bourbon, which comes in a bottle mimicking the shape of the pot stills used to make the sprit.
Other appealing bourbons can be found, such as Noah’s Mill, which, you’ve guessed it, Tenth Avenue is the only store in Oregon offering. Fear not though, bottles run somewhere around a non-threatening $50.
When it comes time for to enjoy the fervor for whiskey at home, a stop at this liquor store is a required trip. Whether looking for the same old comforting favorite, or scratching the itch to explore new realms or genres of aged flavor, Tenth Avenue is the only store you need. ?