May is Whisky Month and people across Edinburgh, Scotland – and the world – rejoice in a celebration of the ‘water of life.’ As if any further excuse to raise a dram was necessary, there’s also World Whisky Day on the 21st of the month.
Arriving as it does before the summer festivals, it’s the perfect time for both whisky novices and connoisseurs to jump headfirst into Edinburgh’s whisky culture.
Here is how you can join in Edinburgh.
Visit Johnnie Walker Princes Street
Edinburgh’s newest whisky attraction, Johnnie Walker Princes Street, opened in the autumn of 2021 and has astonished visitors with eight floors of immersive exploration through the 200-year old history behind the world’s best-selling Scotch whisky.
There really is something for everyone across the multi-room immersive tour, including personalised drinks, theatre and impressive light shows. Discover Scotland’s national drink as you’ve never seen it before.
Book a Scotch Whisky Experience Tasting Tour
Whether you’re a beginner on your whisky journey, intermediate or advanced, The Scotch Whisky Experience offers a range of tasting tours, which are guaranteed to awaken your senses.
Ideal for those who enjoy whisky (or are ready to give it a go!), love local, seasonal and artisan foods and are keen to hear the real stories, culture and history surrounding Scotch whisky, these tours last from 50 minutes to 3 hours and really convey the breadth and variety of Scotland’s national drink.
Have a dram in one of Edinburgh’s whisky bars
From bars with shelves packed with 400+ whiskies to pubs offering seasonal dishes which perfectly compliment your dram, you’re never far from a warm and welcoming whisky bar in Edinburgh.
Situated next to Holyrood Park, Holyrood Distillery opened in 2019 and the 180-year-old railway goods building has been thoughtfully renovated as both a whisky and gin distillery.
Their hands-on sensory tour shares the secrets of how whisky and gin are made, with opportunities for tasting and nosing throughout.
Discover Edinburgh’s whisky history
You’ll enjoy your dram all the more when you appreciate the heritage behind it. The history of whisky isn’t all about the Highlands and Islands – signs of Edinburgh’s whisky heritage can be found across the city.
To celebrate Whisky Month, a 5-star visitor attraction, The Real Mary King’s Close is offering a dram tasting like no other.
Take a step back in time, follow in the footsteps of a 17th-century resident, explore the secrets of Edinburgh’s illicit stills and discover why Mary King’s Close was at the centre of the city’s thriving and bustling trades.
Casks & Closes Tour runs every Friday and Saturday in May, at 5.15 pm and 5.45 pm.
Buy a bottle to take home
After you’ve nosed and sipped your way through a variety of whiskies and found a favourite, why not buy a bottle to take home. You’ll find an exciting selection of whisky shops in the city, all with the staff you really know their stuff.
Eight times winner of Whisky Magazine’s Retailer of the Year Award, Royal Mile Whiskies has been in business for over 30 years. Their whisky enthusiast staff love sharing their knowledge. A short walk away is Scotland’s oldest independent bottler – Cadenhead’s. Established in 1842, they stock an astonishing range of drams, including bottles from Scottish distilleries that no longer exist.
Stocking both the well-known brands as well as smaller local names, Special Scotch Whisky on Morrison Street have a great selection of unique whisky gifts and is happy to offer advice on that special gift.
As well as offering a range of tours and tasting experiences, The Scotch Whisky Experience shop is a sight to behold. Not only can you choose from a vast selection of whiskies, but you can also pick up whisky-infused food gifts and condiments, glasses and cocktail making essentials.
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