Being a whisky novice, I decided it was time to learn a bit more about my native drink. What better way to learn the fundamentals than by taking a tour at the Scotch Whisky Experience on Edinburgh’s Royal Mile?
I chose The Silver Tour, which begins with a fun ride in a big whisky barrel! Interesting and informative – this is a great way to learn about the process of making whisky.
Next came the aromas, and you can easily lose yourself during this part. Equipped with your ‘nosing card’, you immerse yourself in the regional aromas of the different whiskies and naturally want to visit the special places that produce this liquid gold! The smells are accompanied by a panoramic video showing off the beautiful landscapes of each of Scotland’s five whisky regions.
Moving into the Sample room, I got a chance to try some of the good stuff! Having the choice of Highland, Speyside, Lowland, Campbeltown and Islay, you can sample whichever one appeals to you most, after receiving a clear description from your guide of what to expect from the flavours and aromas.
Last but not least (after taking your wee taster glass with you as a souvenir) comes the most impressive part of the tour – The Collection. This room is wall-to-wall with every type of whisky you could imagine. Heaven for the big fans out there!
The Collection was created by a whisky enthusiast from Brazil called Claive Vidiz. In the 1970’s he started to seek out and purchase Scotch whisky of varying type, cost and rarity. He amassed almost 3,500 bottles over 35 years. It was eventually purchased by Scotch whisky distiller Diageo, who brought it home to Scotland. There is a traditional Brazilian saying ‘the good son returns home’ – so you could say the collection is back with its family now.
Finally, to really take advantage of the largest and rarest collection of whisky to be seen and appreciated by all, it ended up in the hands of the Scotch Whisky Experience – a huge bonus for us, the audience.
The offer of morning, afternoon and evening sessions means that this experience is available to all. You can choose from a variety of tours, depending how much you want to delve into Scotland’s national drink. For something extra special, you can even book The Collection Room for a private event where you can enjoy the mass of bottles in all shapes and sizes whilst dining.
Whisky is certainly an acquired taste and perhaps not for everybody! The contrast in flavours between Scotland’s different whisky regions is huge, and if the smoky, peaty taste of the Islay whiskies isn’t for you – try a smoother Speyside whisky next time. For centuries, whisky has formed part of the Scottish psyche, and learning about how this drink has shaped Scotland (and even the world) is an essential journey in delving deeper into Scottish culture. And the Scotch Whisky Experience in Edinburgh is a fine place to start!
As we say in Scotland, Sláinte Mhath (good health to you)!
P.S. Whether you’re an aficionado or an appreciative novice like me, our self-guided whisky tours offer an unforgettable experience – blending the best of Scottish scenery with the opportunity to sample the finest malt whiskies in the world. Looking for something more adventurous? Discover the world-famous distilleries of Speyside while walking the Speyside Way.