I’m going to start this post by saying I’m not a whisky drinker. I don’t like the smell, and the one time I tasted it I thought it tasting like I was eating a tree. I just don’t like whisky. However, Jack is. And whilst killing time in Edinburgh before we saw An Act Of Kindness, we popped into The Scotch Whisky Experience. I wasn’t really sure what to expect, but boy am I glad we took the trip.
Located just down from Edinburgh Castle on the Royal Mile, it’s possibly easy to miss. It was peeing it down with rain, and our choice was either a trip to Camera Obscura or the more adult Whisky Experience. We clearly opted for the boozy latter, at £13 per head (or £15 full price, but we managed to pay concessions fee). The wait was around 20 minutes to get in, but you can book in advance to skip the queue.
The tour starts by entering a whisky barrel and riding around a digital distillery. I know the basics of alcohol distillation as I have to set up alcohol distillation lab practicals at work, but I’d never considered how whisky is distilled. Similar to a ghost train, with a semi-scary projection of a man, this ride takes around 10 minutes. Each step of whisky manufacturing is explained in great depth and I was surprised at how interested I was.
After your move through the distillery, you find yourself into a mini cinema room with a guide. Our guide talked us through the five regions that affect the taste of Scotch whisky and what makes each type special. I assumed there was only one, but I was obviously wrong! Lowlands, Highlands, Speyside (my tipple of choice…sort of), Islay and Campbelltown. And here’s me thinking a single malt was simply a single malt!
After a scratch and sniff of these different flavours, we were taken to a mock whisky tasting room, as it would’ve been in the 1800s. We learnt more of how whisky is blended and even got to choose between one of the 5 regions or a blend to taste. I opted for a Speyside, a slightly fruitier malt, and headed into the next room to taste.
The room that followed houses the largest collection of single malt whisky in the world. With thousands of bottles, it’s really something that has to be seen to believed! None of the bottles have ever been opened and we got to taste our little drams surrounded by this collection. On the tour you are taught how to appreciate whisky, and whilst I’m still not a convert, it was a fun little thing to do in the country that a good single malt hails.
Yes, I am still a vodka, gin and wine fan and probably won’t choose to drink whisky again. However, it was a really fun experience and really good value for money! If you are a whisky drinker, there are more in depth tours or options to try more than just the one type of whisky. Whilst I don’t feel the need to go back, the Scotch Whisky Experience would make the perfect gift for someone in your life if they are a big fan of a malt.