When you think about Scotch whisky you might think of distilleries in remote corners of the country such as Mull, Skye or Orkney. But the capital of Scotland was once the home to several whisky distilleries and is still a city worth visiting for any whisky enthusiast.
Edinburgh’s last great surviving distillery, the North British Grain Distillery, is still active in the Dalry area of the town. Depending on the day, the scent of the distilling whisky hangs heavy in the air and you know that the drink is still very much in the DNA of the city.
The North British Grain Distillery started in 1888 and still produces millions of gallons of proof spirit per year. The grain whisky spirit that they produce is almost entirely sold to commercial customers for blending purposes, including well-known blended brands. Since they do not produce a specific brand of whisky, the distillery is not open to the public but there are plenty of other places worth visiting around town for any whisky fanatic.
The Scottish Whisky Experience
This five-star tourist attraction opened over 30 years ago and is as popular as ever for those wanting to find out more about Scotch whisky. Located at the top of the Royal Mile, next to Edinburgh Castle, this is a must for anyone with an interest in whisky.
They provide a history of Scotch whisky (which includes a ride in a barrel!) as well as whisky tastings and masterclasses. With the largest collection of Scotch whisky in the world (3,384 bottles) you can visit the room where they are all kept on display, an impressive spectacle. Once you have taken a tour, you can relax in the Amber restaurant and bar, perhaps with a Scotch or two!
For more information and to book tickets click here, https://www.scotchwhiskyexperience.co.uk/the-collection
Join the club
The Scotch Malt Whisky Society is an international members club that bottles the world’s widest selection of rare and unique single cask, single malts for whisky lovers around the globe. Started in Edinburgh in 1983, there are now over 26,000 worldwide members. With two prestigious venues in Edinburgh, open to members and non-members the Society also has a presence in places as far flung as New Zealand, China and USA. Members are able to buy unique, one-off bottles of whisky distilled especially for them (from as low as around £45).
The Kaleidoscope Whisky Bar and Shop (as well as the Dining Room Restaurant) are open to the public so we would recommend paying a visit to try out their wide range of whiskies. They have Members’ Exclusive Lounges on the top floors of the building for those who are really dedicated to their whisky.
For more information and to become a member click here, https://www.smws.com/
New for 2020
The Johnnie Walker Experience is currently being designed on Princes Street, a three-storey immersive space exploring whisky making and the history of the blended Scotch brand. As well as the tour, there are plans for a rooftop bar and whisky shop. The multi-million pound whisky experience is due to open late 2020 but will certainly be worth adding to the ‘to-do’ list for any whisky lover visiting Edinburgh.
After sampling all that whisky, you will need somewhere to put your feet up (and pour yourself a dram from that bottle you picked up)! KM Central is our city centre hotel that boasts modern and stylish rooms, perfect for relaxing after a day of sampling whisky. Next door to KM Central are our Richmond Place Apartments, providing more space, freedom and flexibility than a hotel. With Princes Street, the Royal Mile and the Scotch Whisky Experience a short walk away, and the Holyrood Distillery even closer, our accommodation is in the perfect location for reaching our whisky hotspots.
Alternatively, a stone’s throw from the Holyrood Distillery sits our 4-star Salisbury Green Hotel and Bistro. Located in peaceful landscaped grounds adjoining Holyrood Park (the home of Arthur’s Seat), it is in an ideal location for anyone with an interest in whisky. For other non-whisky related activities, the Royal Mile at the city centre is only a 20-minute walk and well connected to the rest of the city via regular buses.
As you can see, Edinburgh is certainly geared up for any whisky enthusiast and along with our great-value accommodation in great locations, what are you waiting for?