Of all Scotland’s exports, whisky is perhaps the most famous worldwide. With such deep-rooted traditions surrounding its production, visitors can discover the story behind Scottish whisky and gain a true insight into the country’s heritage and culture. Whether sampling whisky in the bars and tasting rooms of Edinburgh or touring Scotland’s oldest working distillery in The Highlands, opportunities abound for those hoping to sample whisky in Scotland.
The Scotch Whisky Heritage Centre is situated at the top of Edinburgh’s Royal Mile, making it easy to seek out during a trip to the capital. Here, visitors can choose between a series of tours and masterclasses, which range from an introduction to the world of whisky with a tasting, to comparative whisky tastings in the McIntyre Gallery, a Taste of Scotland with a Scottish tasting menu in the award-winning Amber restaurant, and masterclasses that take a more in-depth approach.
A selection of Edinburgh’s bars and restaurants have whisky tasting opportunities too. The Whiski Rooms host whisky tasting sessions with the added option of pairing the tastings with cheese or chocolate. Alternatively, people can simply try some of the whiskies on offer with dishes that have been created using Scottish produce, such as Loch Duart salmon, Perthshire lamb, and of course, haggis.
The Whiski Bar & Restaurant is another spot that draws people in for its whisky offering. Here there are more than 300 malt whiskies in the bar’s extensive collection, so visitors might want to ask the barman for their recommendation. The restaurant specialises in Scottish cuisine with a reverence for local produce, which is sourced from award-winning Scottish suppliers, and by visiting in the evening, it’s possible to catch some live music. From here, move on to the Bow Bar, which also places the focus on Scotch whisky, with an impressive collection of 310 single malts from around Scotland.
From Edinburgh, visitors can then set out on a journey through the mountains and glens of the Highlands to reach Scotland’s oldest working whisky distillery. Glenturret Distillery is home to The Glenturret Highland Single Malt and The Famous Grouse. By visiting the distillery, visitors can find out how Glenturret Highland single malt is produced using traditional methods and equipment, and as the home of The Famous Grouse, visitors can see how this whisky is blended. Plus, the distillery experience on offer includes two whisky tastings: one from the Glenturret range and another from The Famous Grouse range.
Back in Edinburgh, it’s worth setting aside enough time to pick up a souvenir from the Royal Mile, where shops like Cadenhead’s Whisky Shop – also a tasting room – and the whisky and fine foods purveyors Cranachan & Crowdie are located. After all, who wouldn’t want to take a souvenir home to remind them of their time tasting whisky in Scotland?