Join me and my friend the Whisky Ghost on a fantastic journey as we discover the history and science behind every old mans favorite pastime. It’s touristy, it cheesy, and it’s maybe the best thing I’ve ever done with my life (of course, that could be the scotch talking 😉 )
See that look of wonderment on his face? You can already tell you’re in for a real treat, can’t you? I’m going to start this story off by saying that I don’t love scotch… at least I didn’t love scotch. But, “when in Rome” right? So I did many a scotch tasting, and now it turns out I kind of like scotch. I did not have a tremendous amount of time in Scotland and when planning the trip I thought I didn’t like scotch, so I did not make it to any of the distilleries. I’m already in the process of planning a remedy to that, but what I did make it to, was The Scotch Whisky Experience in Edinburgh.
The Scotch Whisky Experience called to me from the moment I walked by it’s glorious revolving doors. I don’t care if it’s the most hokey tourist attraction in the world, it has everything I’ve ever wanted in an attraction. A Disney World-esque omni-mover, hosted by the ghost of whiskys past, that culminates in a liquor tasting? Am I dreaming?
As we wait in the queue we meet our Whisky Ghost as he appeared in his corruptible mortal state. Then it’s time to board your whisky barrel and head into the distillery.
Everyone knows that great scotch starts of with great Scottish water (at least everyone that’s been on The Scotch Whisky Experience). This is where our whisky ghost friend rejoins us.
This starts our whirlwind ride of becoming scotch whisky. Once we are done with the rain, we spend some time in a container of yeast.
Look! I’m yeast!
Then we get put in a barrel and aged for a long, long time.
Seriously, we have to wait on the slowest clock ever!
Then…. yay! We’re delicious scotch whisky! I may have skipped a few steps, but in my defense, a ride like this really should have a theme song. We’ve got to get Richard Sherman on this!
The end of the ride is unfortunately where our ghost friend leaves us, but the fun continues. Now that we’ve learned how scotch is made, we move on to the real fun, the taste test.
Here we are lead into a room where we learn about the different flavor profiles in the different whisky making regions of Scotland, with the help of a handy scratch and sniff card (yes, scratch and sniff!). After selecting your favorite smell you are given a hefty sample. My favorite was the peaty scotch from Islay. I’ve been informed that it taste like burning band-aids, but I like it, so be nice.
After learning about our palates and the different whisky making regions we get to see the largest amount of scotch accumulated by a private collector. Dream big kids.
Yes, this glorious collection all belonged to one man, Claive Vidiz, and he’s not even Scottish, he’s Brazilian (I smell a challenge, Scots).
Watch out Claive, I’m on your heels.
The collection took Claive over 35 years and boasts an impressive 3384 bottles. As impressive as the Mini-Bottle Gallery in Oslo is, (it was my first bottle museum after all, you never forget your first!) these bottles are mostly full sized, so I think they win by a hair.
After gawking at all of the scotch in the entire world, the official tour is over, but of course it finishes in a bar! (followed by, in true tourist fashion, a gift shop.)
Here at the bar you are given your official Scotch Whisky Appreciation cards that entitle you to a flight of four samples of malt whisky, 10% off whiskys at the bar, 2.00GBP off of bottles in the shop, and two for one admittance into The Scotch Whiskey Experience for a year. Also, it sometimes entitles you to happy hour pricing at your local pub once you get home if you’re really nice to the bartender.
As an added bonus, The Scotch Whisky Experience’s central location on the Royal Mile in Edinburgh gives it some of the best views of the city.
Maybe this is the scotch talking, but one a scale of 1-10, I give The Scotch Whisky Experience in Edinburgh an 800!
I was helped in the planning of this trip by Colin Mairs of Excursion Scotland. As well as guided tours in 4 languages, Excursion Scotland offers a travel consulting service to help you plan your perfect self-guided tour of Scotland. Learn more at www.ExcursionScotland.com and on Facebook at www.facebook.com/ExcursionScotland .