The first stop on any whiskey tour of Helsinki has to be the city’s only whiskey distillery, The Helsinki Distilling Company, where you can view the entire production process of domestic whiskeys – from distilling to barrel and glass. THDC matures its whiskeys in an old ice cellar at the Teurastamo food hub, where it stores hundreds of oak barrels, while its distillery is housed in an old soap factory. Both facilities can be visited, and you can sample its award-winning rye whiskey on tastings and tours, as well as at its own distillery bar or summer terrace, which is connected to a 100-year-old tram. The distillery bar also serves food and cocktails, and DJs play music on the weekends, so it can easily keep you entertained for the entire evening!
Award-winning single malt whiskeys made from barley malt are also distilled by Teerenpeli in Lahti. Fortunately, Teerenpeli also has its own bar in the Kamppi district in the centre of Helsinki. In addition to Teerenpeli's own whiskeys, the bar offers a selection of over 50 whiskey classics. Even though Finland’s other whiskey distilleries, such as Kyrö Distillery and Valamo Monastery, do not have their own bars in Helsinki, you can sample their whiskeys in well-stocked bars in the Finnish capital; it’s not in every country that you can taste monastery whiskeys matured in a barrel originally made for communion wine – not to mention whiskey by a successful distillery that was conceived while its founders sat naked in a sauna!
Helsinki’s largest selection of whiskeys can be found at the excellent beer restaurant Pikkulintu, which serves around 300 different whiskeys. Pikkulintu’s main location in Kontula in East Helsinki has become a mecca for whiskey lovers, and it recently opened a second location by the Old Church Park (“Ruttopuisto”) in the city centre. Pikkulintu’s whiskey tastings are also highly recommended.
An impressive selection of whiskeys can also be found in the Haven’s hotel bar, where you can sample whiskeys in a classically elegant setting while relaxing next to a log fire. For a completely different and more Germanic atmosphere, Bierhaus München, Bierhaus Berlin and Bierhaus Köln also list 130 whiskeys at their locations throughout the city centre. Other traditional bars with a good selection of whiskeys include Black Door on Iso-Roobertinkatu, Barley & Bait in the Jätkäsaari district, Laiska Karhu in Töölö, Maltainen Riekko in Alppila and both Villi Wäinö and Angleterre in the city centre.
And we must not forget Helsinki’s classic “fish bars” – Punavuoren Ahven, Vastarannan Kiiski, Hilpeä Hauki, Janoinen Lohi, Kaunis Kampela, Leijuva Lahna and Muikea Muikku – all of which are cosy and popular socialising bars that also cater to whiskey lovers. Among Helsinki’s hotel bars, check out the American Bar at the Hotel Torni (which is currently under construction but will open in spring 2022) and the Grand Marina in Katajanokka. Over in Espoo, whiskey lovers should try the Vaappuva Ankka.