Visit Edinburgh, Scotland and you’ll discover one of the world’s most amazing castles, the lavish royal palace of Holyrood and of course, an abundance of many of the world’s finest whiskys. Scotland has a rich history of quality whisky production, with loads of great distilleries scattered across the country. So not surprisingly, the largest collection of whisky in the world can be found at the Scotch Whisky Experience in Edinburgh!
Conveniently located near Edinburgh Castle, the Scotch Whisky Experience is a multi-faceted whisky journey. The tour begins with a whisky barrel ride, with the ghost of a famous distiller guiding you through the process of whisky making. For anybody that ever rode the old Haunted Mansion ride at Disney World, this will remind you a little of that journey- except that this isn’t about a haunted house filled with ghastly ghouls, but about the magic and history of Scotch whisky.
Scotch whisky is categorized under 6 regions of Scotland- The Highlands, Lowlands, Speyside, Islay, Campbeltown and the islands. Speyside has the most distilleries and a visit there is akin to visiting a densely populated wine region. All have varying flavors that cater to different tastes, especially when you account for how long they have aged in varying types of casks. After learning about the different types and regions of Scotch whisky, general admission to the tour includes 1 sample from a selection of 4 of the regions. For an extra fee, you can sample an additional 4 types of whisky.
The highlight of the tour was being led into a magnificent showroom of whiskys, some dating back a hundred years. The room actually houses the largest whisky collection on record- a staggering 3,384 bottles purchased by Diageo from a Brazilian man named Claive Vidiz, who amassed his incredible collection over a period of 35 years. Upon selling his collection to Diageo in 2008, Vidiz said “It is also wonderful to see it safely back in Scotland. We have an expression in Brazil, ‘the good son returns home’, and in my view the collection is back with its family now.” Suffice to say, we could not have asked for a more fitting place to enjoy our drinks, as we were truly in a whisky lovers paradise.
The Scotch Whisky experience also has a massive gift shop with a huge selection of whiskys and whiskey related memorabilia to purchase. They also have a restaurant downstairs called Amber Restaurant. Unfortunately, Bell and I were on a tight schedule and did not have the opportunity to try any additional whiskys or eat at the Amber restaurant. But if you take the time to visit Edinburgh, and have even the most remote interest in whisky, we highly recommend visiting the Scotch Whisky experience. To visit any active distillery you need to leave Edinburgh, and for many that requires time you might not have. Bell and I were only in Edinburgh for 3 days, so this was perfect for us.
Scotch Whiskey Experience
Address: 354 Castlehill, Edinburgh
Times: First tour 10:20am, last tour 5:00pm (5:30pm Saturday and Sunday)
(Approximately 1 hour)
Cost of Silver Tour: Adult £12.75, Concession £10.25, Child (6-17years): £6.50,
Family (2 adults and 2 children): £31
Disclaimer: Through the VisitScotland tourism board we received free admission to the Scotch Whiskey Experience. But we did not receive any financial benefit from writing this and this is our honest and genuine take on the experience.