The Scotch Whisky Experience, sited on Castlehill at the heart of the Old Town, offers whisky tours and whisky tastings like no other.
The Scotch Whisky Experience
This ever-popular Edinburgh whisky experience, a five star visitor attraction, is home to the world’s largest collection of Scotch whisky and is fully accessible for wheelchair users.
There is also additional help for hard of hearing and visually impaired visitors.
Additionally, there is an audio commentary, available in 20 languages and support for users of British Sign Language (BSL) and American Sign Language (ASL).
You will find all this whisky magic a short stroll from Edinburgh Castle, St Giles’ Cathedral, the Real Mary King’s Close and many of the other most popular Royal Mile tourist sites.
Originally created by a number of Scotch whisky companies to showcase the industry to overseas visitors, the Scotch Whisky Experience first opened its doors in 1988.
In what is best described as an interactive exhibition, not a distillery, there are tours, masterclasses, whisky tasting sessions and more run by expert members of staff.
It’s an exciting place to explore whether you’re a whisky aficionado or would just like to know more about Scotland’s Uisge Beatha – ‘the water of life’’.
The Scotch Whisky Experience works hard to help its visitors to understand the history and heritage behind Scotland’s national drink.
The Scotch Whisky Experience Tours
Although tours lie at the heart of the experience you can visit the shop and the Amber Bar & Restaurant without joining a tour.
They are a perfect opportunity to try regional whiskies. There are five Scotch whisky regions:
There is a range of tours including, platinum, gold and silver which vary in length and cost.
The Silver Tour, for example, includes:
- A fun whisky barrel ride through the production of Scotch whisky.
- An introduction to the aromas in whisky.
- A dram of Scotch malt whisky (Irn Bru for under 18s).
- Viewing of the world’s largest collection of Scotch whisky.
- A gift of a crystal whisky tasting glass (adults and concessions).
The Tasting Tales experience includes a tutored pairing of traditional Scottish food and Scotch whisky.
Set in an exquisite private room, away from the crowds. It’s an opportunity not only to try a number of whiskies but also to sample some delicious canapés including smoked salmon, venison and smoked cheese.
Virtual whisky tastings
Virtual whisky tastings have become increasingly popular and more practical in recent years.
They are suitable for many occasions, private and corporate and are carried out over Zoom.
Participants receive tasting kits that have a selection of whiskies, some delicious artisan chocolates and several other items.
This includes an engraved crystal glass which is a lovely reminder of the event.
Diageo Claive Vidiz Collection
For many visitors, the highlight of every tour is the chance to marvel at the extraordinary Diageo Claive Vidiz Collection which comprises an impressive 3,384 bottles of Scotch whisky.
Lovingly assembled over many years by Brazilian Claive Vidiz, it was purchased by distiller Diageo and brought, with Vidiz’s blessing, to Edinburgh.
Whisky Advocate said, “This public display of nearly 4,000 bottles makes your head spin when first encountered – one of the 7 wonders of the Scotch whisky world.”
Amber Restaurant and Whisky Bar
The Amber Restaurant serves traditional cuisine. Often on the menu are haggis, cullen skink, lamb and the humble Scottish raspberry. “It’s Scottish food at its best.”
The Whisky Bar has nearly 500 whiskies on offer. There are single malts, grains, blends and whisky liqueurs.
There are experienced staff on hand to help you make your choice.
There is also a wide range of whisky flights, grouped by region, that you can match with indulgent chocolate, tasty tapas or a great selection of Scottish artisan cheeses.
The shop has an extensive range of whisky gifts for all occasions. You’ll find special editions, new releases, gift sets and other whisky-related items.
Whisky and chocolate are the perfect couple so unsurprisingly the shop stocks a wonderful range of chocolate – milk, dark, haggis, spice, Iron Bru and popping candy.
Don’t be surprised if you find a bar or two of tartan chocolate for sale.
While many of the items are available online, exploring the Scotch Whisky Experience shop is one of life’s great pleasures.
Edinburgh’s best-known whisky attraction also caters for private events whether that’s a corporate meeting or a special family occasion.
The Scotch Whisky Experience Training School
The company has its own training school and their whisky courses are recognised by the Scotch whisky industry. They are not just for people working in the industry but also for those who just want to increase their understanding of the product.
For whisky aficionados, the Scotch Whisky Training School offers full day courses led by knowledgeable staff.
On the itinerary are:
- an introduction to malt and grain whisky production
- the origins and history of Scotch whisky
- the art of blending
- selling and serving Scotch whisky
- tutored tastings
- lunch is held in the Amber restaurant.
At the end of the course, there’s a 40-minute exam. For those that pass there’s a certificate in the Sales & Service of Scotch Whisky.
The Scotch Whisky Experience: opening times and other visitor information
For information on opening hours, cost of entry and other tips to help you plan your visit, go to the official whisky experience website.