CONTRIBUTED BY: EMMA R.
While browsing TripAdvisor for things to do in Scotland, one experience truly jumped out and caught my eye – the Scotch Whisky Experience. It only seemed fair that while we were in Scotland that we would have a go at tasting some of Scotland’s finer wares.
I can’t say that either my husband or myself are a whisky connoisseur, but we had done the Jameson whiskey tour in Dublin and discovered a newfound love of whiskey and ginger ale. Perhaps the same would happen for us in Scotland with whisky? Note that ‘whisky’ is Scottish and ‘whiskey’ is the Irish/American version.
We booked our tickets online in advance and I would recommend that anyone interested should do so to secure the date and time to avoid any disappointment. The location is handy for sightseers in Edinburgh as it is right next to the Edinburgh Castle entrance.
On arrival we were swiftly checked in and escorted straight to the ‘ride’ which was a little unexpected. We were both seated in a two-person barrel for a ‘ride’ through the whisky distillery process, which was narrated by a ghost-like figure. I won’t add too much detail here, but it was just an informative ride rather than a theme-park ride.
At the end of the ride we were ushered into an area to wait for the rest of the group to arrive. It is then that the tasting begun. We were introduced to the four main Scotch whisky regions and their distinctive characteristics. As part of the ‘silver’ tour, one dram of whisky of the participant’s choice was included. It is worth noting that children are allowed on the tour and were given a taste of ‘Irn Bru’ (the Scottish soft drink) at this point. The whisky tasting glass was also included in the tour price.
We had opted for the gold tour, so our tour continued past this point in the bar. Four drams were produced to us both on our own whisky tasting tray. There was one from each of the regions described in the tour and we had an unlimited amount of time to taste them all. A sheet was also provided with the tasting ‘notes’ – such as the smell and flavors that we should experience from each whisky.
The barmen were all locals and stayed close by during the tastings to have some friendly discussion and answer any questions we had about the whiskies offered. When I struggled with one of them, chocolate or mixers were offered up as suggestions, which were both helpful and appreciated.
Tips for your trip:
The Royal Mile
Edinburgh, EH1 2NE
Phone: +44 131 220 0441
First tour: 1020, last tour 1730
Silver tours last for 1 hour
Gold tours last for as long as you stay at the bar!
Open 7 days a week, 364 days a year (closed Christmas day)
Silver tour – Adult £14 (around $22 USD) Child 6-17 £7 ($11) Under 5’s free
Gold tour – Adult £24.50 (around $38 USD)