Chimek Journal: Whiskey

God, I love scotch. I love the way it hugs my innards after a long day. A slow, pleasant burn travels from my lips to the belly of my throat (I just made that up).

I first got into single malt scotch in Korea. Odd place to get into it, as it is prohibitively expensive to buy at supermarkets, if you can find it at all. While bars are constantly adding it to their inventory, I don’t fancy paying $250 for a bottle when in America I could get it for $50 at my local shop.

Enter Namdaemun: It’s a market known for its “cheap” goods (though it’s pretty much a tourist trap and you can get ripped off if you don’t haggle). Hidden in the midst of chaos of cheap plastic bowls, dresses, and Filipino crackers are a bunch of mini-stores (stalls, really) that sell an assortment of alcohol for very cheap prices. The selection and price will be anything found in the local supermarkets by a long shot.

There’s one store in particular that I’ve gone to consistently. When I first found the place, I compared prices between the stall featured in the video and stalls right next to the owner. And the owner’s prices were consistently the cheapest by $20-$30. Even though they were a few meters apart. I trust her as much as I can trust any shopkeeper.

Production Notes
When I shot this, this was my third visit to the store, and thankfully the owner remembered me. I didn’t get any free stuff; it’s just nice to be noticed.

I deliberately included a shot of the store’s sign because it’s really remarkable that the price for the same bottle of whiskey could be priced so differently at stores right next to each other. I like to value integrity when I see it.

I first found about this place in a random blog post, but I can’t for the life of me find it. It’s been a few years so maybe the site is gone. Thank you, mysterious blogger!


Hoehyeon (Namdaemun Market) Station, Exit 5

Take a right out of the exit and keep walking until you see a dumpling store on the left.

The market is on your right

Go down the ramp and do a u-turn.

Turn right and walk past the various whiskey stalls until you see this sign at the top. [picture]

For that stall, give them a call at: 02-776-9828 (they don’t speak English, though)

Hours: Go there before 4 on the weekdays, before 2pm on the weekends. I’m not sure if they’re open on Sundays.

Tell them the guy with the camera sent you. =D

3 thoughts

    1. Thanks for the comment, Jason! I’m not familiar with Springbank, but I used Jameson and Macallan 12 as my benchmarks. When I was last there, a bottle of Jameson was 25,000 KRW (vs 40,000 at a mart) and 65,000 for the Macallan (vs 95,000 at a mart).

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