Whisky is Scotland’s national drink and it wouldn’t be right to visit the Scottish capital, Edinburgh and not try some whisky! The venue for the ultimate Scottish whisky experience is The Scotch Whisky Experience which is located on the historic Royal Mile in the heart of the city. The Scotch Whisky Experience has been educating, inspiring and creating Whisky lovers from all over the world. We signed up for their Gold Tour which took us on a guided visual, interactive and sensory experience from learning about the history and production of whisky to discovering the ins and outs of whisky tasting and finally tasting whiskies from the main whisky producing regions in Scotland. It was the perfect welcome to Edinburgh and introduction to Scottish Whisky!
The first part of the tour involved a 10 minute ride in a giant Whisky Barrel which took us on an interactive tour of a virtual whisky distillery where we learnt all about the production of Scotch whisky! It was such a unique tour and we loved the way the presentation was given! We learnt way more about Scottish whisky on this tour than if we had just been reading information about whisky. It was a really unique, informative and fun way to learn all about Whisky.
Once we disembarked from our barrel we were guided through to a presentation where once we were all seated we were given an introduction to the Scottish whisky regions, whisky aromas and the art of whisky blending. The presentation was interesting, concise and involved both a video and a presentation from our passionate guide. We were each given a ‘scratch and sniff card’ which had four different coloured sections that reflected the four main whisky producing regions which are the Lowlands, Highlands, Speyside and Islay. We really enjoyed learning about the different regions and how their environments influence both the smell and taste of the whisky. It was a really interesting, interactive sensory experience that allowed us to learn about different types of whiskies. We then were able to choose a whisky from the four and we were each given a dram (whisky tasting glass) of it by the guide and told to try and not drink it straight away!
Whisky in hand we then headed into the famous Whisky Collection, which is the largest whisky collection in the world! The Whisky Collection comprises 3,384 bottles of Scotch Whisky, which makes it a priceless record of the history of Scottish whisky. Whilst standing amongst the mesmerising whisky collection we were taught the key steps to appreciating Scottish whisky by our guide, before being allowed to stroll around and admire the incredibly impressive collection!
The collection was originally begun by Claive Vidiz, a whisky enthusiast in Brazil. Over a period of thirty five years he collected over 3,500 bottles of Scotch whisky of various type, cost and rarity. In 2006 the collection was purchased by a Scotch whisky distiller, Diageo and he brought the collection home to Scotland with the commitment to preserve and honour the legacy and share it with an international audience. In May 2009 the Diageo Claive Vidiz Whisky Collection found its now home at The Scotch Whisky Experience in Edinburgh, the heart of Scotland.
I love the quote from Claive Vidiz after the collection had returned to Scotland:
“We have an expression in Brazil – ‘the good son returns home’ – and in my view the collection is back with its family now.”
The Silver Tour finishes in the beautiful McIntyre Gallery and Bar and this is also where our Gold Tour continued! In addition to everything that the full Silver Tour offered, by upgrading to the Gold Tour you are given membership to the Scotch Whisky Appreciation Society which also comes with four single malt whiskies to compare and contrast with tasting notes whilst relaxing in the McIntyre Gallery. We were given a whisky from each of the four regions and over the next hour we inspected, smelt and tasted using the skills we had learnt during our tour. Dan’s favourite was the Speyside Benromach 10 year old whisky which smelt of fruit, spice and smoke and had a flavour of forest fruits and creamy malt with wisps of smoke and sherry. I preferred the lighter Highland Deanston 12 year old whisky which smelt of fresh florals, citrus and malt, and had tasted of orange, barley sugar and creamy toffee with hints of ginger.
We had a great afternoon at the Scotch Whisky Experience and loved learning about the history of Scotland’s national drink as well as learning how to drink whisky and of course, we enjoyed the tastings. It is well worth upgrading to the gold tour for an extra £10 so you can taste all four types of whisky and relax in the beautiful bar area. Dan enjoys whisky more than I do but I really enjoyed learning all about the different types of whiskies and learning how to appreciate them properly! We left with a new appreciation for the drink after having a great time on our tour.
Whisky is a big part of Scottish culture and a whisky tour is a must when visiting Scotland! Whether you are a whisky fan or not, we’re sure you will still enjoy this tour and we’d highly recommend The Scotch Whisky Experience!
The Scotch Whisky Experience
0131 220 0441
The Aussie Flashpacker experienced our Gold Tour as a guest of The Scotch Whisky Experience.
Our opinions are as always, our own.