Gold Whisky Tour for two, Edinburgh
- Learn about the production and maturation of Scotch whisky
- Introductory tasting tray of 4 single malt Scotch whiskies
- Boxed crystal whisky tasting glass for each visitor
Whisky has been my tipple of choice for years now, so when the chance to visit the Scotch Whisky Experience came up, I immediately put my name forward. When the day rolled around, my four colleagues and I eagerly made our way up to the venue at the top of the Royal Mile near Edinburgh Castle. We were amazed that despite living in Edinburgh none of us had visited this hidden gem in the centre of town!
When we arrived, we were greeted by our tour guide for the day, Thomas. He gave a brief overview of what the tour involved and we could already see his passion for whisky. The tour starts with the Whisky Barrel Ride which is a multi-sensory, high tech look at how whisky is made and its history, done in a fun and educational way. During the ride, we were also introduced to Douglas McIntyre, the resident ghost and master blender who would be assisting Thomas throughout the tour. This immediately set the tone for the day, knowing that it was going to be much more than a traditional distillery experience.
After the barrel ride, we moved to the auditorium where we were seated in front of an impressively large screen and each handed a scratch and sniff card with the 5 Scotch Whisky regions on it. Thomas then began an informative and visually beautiful presentation on the aromas and hallmarks of each region from the peaty, smokier flavours of Islay Malts to the sweeter, fruitier Speyside Malts.
With the regions covered and a better understanding of each, we then moved on to the elegant Whisky Tasting Room. We sat down with a crystal whisky glass in front of us and were given the choice of what types of whisky we would like to sample. Thomas kept us entertained throughout with the help of his virtual assistant Douglas. While here, we witnessed the spectacular visual effects of a bottle being filled, through the magic of 3D projection.
As this part of the tour came to an end, the room darkened and the screen we had been watching turned to a vault door and slowly opened revealing what I found to be the most awe-inspiring part of the tour, The Diageo Claive Vidiz Whisky Collection. Featuring 3,384 bottles of Scotch Whisky, the record-breaking collection was built up over 35 years by Brazilian whisky enthusiast Claive Vidiz. As we browsed the collection, Thomas showed his expert knowledge, dealing with all our queries including showing us the oldest bottle in the collection from 1897 and explaining why some bottles had less whisky in them than they started with due to the ‘angel’s share’!
The tour ends with a trip to the bar that offers fantastic views across Edinburgh as well as an extensive range of whiskies to purchase and enjoy. Make sure you visit the gift shop as you leave and catch a glimpse of a 50-year old Balvenie priced at an astounding £27,500 per bottle! As a memento of our experience, we were given our tasting glass to take home in a protective box to enhance our drinking experience in future. This is an incredible experience for both whisky enthusiasts and those interested in learning about the ‘water of life’!