An Exploration in Scotch

The Scotch Whisky Experience

The world of whisky has always been unchartered territory for me.  I stick to my wine, tequila, and gin on most occasions but when in Scotland, or Rome as they say, you experiment. After doing some research leading up to our trip I thought The Scotch Whisky Experience was going to be the best option for me to learn but also have fun at the same time.  I contacted the company and booked Michael and myself on the Silver tour the first afternoon we arrived in Edinburgh.

The Locale

The Scotch Whisky Experience is located on the Royal Mile, just a few hundred feet from the entrance to Edinburgh Castle.  Its really a great area to be in because it definitely has the most tourists I saw our entire trip.  The Royal Mile is beautiful though and I really love that The Scotch Whisky Experience is at one and after a tour you can just work your way straight on down to see everything. 

The Tour

You start by boarding a whisky barrel that tours you through Whisky’s early beginnings. The “ghost” of Douglas McIntyre, a fictitious distiller, leads you through the process of whisky production. Its a really cool little ride, which has no hills or anything just wheels you through this interactive experience.  You can see the yeast bubbling, learn about peat and even catch the smoky smell of it before watching the Angel’s Share evaporate from the barrels.

From the ride, which lasts about 10 minutes, you move on to a waiting area for the next part of the tour.  This includes a video detailing each region that makes scotch and the differences between them.  Our guide was Catherine and she was absolutely wonderful!

The Tasting

When we met Catherine after the ride she gave us all a scratch & sniff card.  This let you smell the aromas you can find in the whisky from each region. I’ve been working on expanding my aroma palate this year and loved having this card as a guide for our tasting.  It really broke down the smells and actually helped me find some scotch that I enjoyed!

After the video, move along to the tasting room.  They offer scotch from each region and you can select which you would like a “wee dram” of. I opted for Campbeltown, offering aromas of citrus, honey, and oatmeal, while Michael went for an Islay with more smokiness from the peat.

We got to taste these in a room filled with the most incredible Scotch collection you will ever see!  Diageo acquired a 4,000 bottle collection from Claive Vidiz, who spent 4 decades collecting the most unique bottles of scotch.  Get this – he never drank them!   It was really cool to walk through and look at all of the crazy bottles.  My personal favorites were the chest set and the line for the royal family!

Overall, I truly enjoyed our experience here.  I think starting with the Silver Tour to get a base knowledge was perfect but will probably try something a bit more advanced the next time I’m in town!

Leave a Reply