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The Scotch Whisky Experience in Edinburgh

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Scotch Whisky Bottles shaped as Scottish characters

Step into the delicious world of Scotch whisky with a visit to the Scotch Whisky Experience in Edinburgh, Scotland. One of the best things to do in Edinburgh, the Scotch Whisky Experience invites you to take a journey through the history and creation of the spirit by climbing aboard a barrel ride and listening to tales told by the ghost of Douglas McIntyre about how to make Scotch Whisky.

What is it like taking a tour with the Scotch Whisky Experience in Edinburgh?

Much more than a standard whisky tasting, the Scotch Whisky Experience in Edinburgh is like being on an episode of the Magic School Bus. Instead of a school bus accompanied by Ms. Frizzle, your mode of transport is a barrel of whisky!

If you haven’t seen the Magic School Bus, the TV show follows a science class as they go on unusual field trips. Shrinking down and experiencing the whisky distilling process firsthand would have fit into the show perfectly. I mean, if it wasn’t a kids’ show!

During the Scotch Whisky Experience, the barrel ride was totally unexpected and definitely my favourite part of the tour. It’s not just a boring walk — you become the Scotch Whisky!

As you move along the ride, you’re taken through the various stages of whisky production while the ghost of Douglas McIntyre follows and tells you about each phase of the creation process. You’ll get to see how the colours and stages of whisky change over the years in wooden casks and learn why time is the best way to make quality whisky.

Learning about Scotch Whisky around Scotland

After experiencing life as whisky in a barrel, you’ll learn about the aromas in whiskies found all around Scotland. Scotch Whisky is Scotland’s national drink and there are distilleries all over the country. The whisky in each part of Scotland offers a unique taste and aroma.

As you spend time with a knowledgeable guide, you’ll learn about the complex fragrances, tastes, colours, body, nose, palette and finish of whiskies produced from the Lowlands, Highlands, Speyside and Islay regions of Scotland.

You’ll be welcomed to touch and smell the barley throughout the different steps of the distillery process and you’ll receive a scratch and sniff card to help you become an expert at differentiating between the types of whisky.

Most of the casks in Scotland were previously used to mature bourbon (American whiskey). Over time, this seasons the cask, giving it a sweet or wood-like flavour.

During the Scotch Whiskey Experience, you get to select the flavour you’d like to try. Here’s a breakdown to help you choose a whisky which will suit your palate:

  • Lowland – Citrus elements and recommended for people new to Scotch whisky
  • Highland – Vanilla and floral notes
  • Speyside – Tropical banana and pear notes also recommended for beginners
  • Islay – Strong smoky taste and smell

Taste-testing inside the world’s largest collection of Scotch Whisky

If you take the silver tour, you’ll go to the tasting room which also houses the world’s largest private collection of Scotch Whisky! Surrounded by almost 3500 bottles, you’ll get a sample of the whisky you picked. You’ll learn how to properly view, swirl, sniff and finally taste the whisky. If you’ve ever been to a wine tasting, a whisky tasting is very similar.

The whisky sample was just too strong for me. I’m not ashamed to admit that I let my friend drink my sample while I relished that I got a really cool whisky glass out of the experience! The entire tour was a lot of fun, educational and I absolutely loved shrinking down and taking a barrel ride tour.

The tasting room was incredible. Walking around while surrounded by the collection of scotch whisky was a unique experience all on its own. There were so many different flavours, ages and styles of whisky – many of which are contained in unusually shaped bottles.

Is it whisky or whiskey?

You might have seen this Edinburgh attraction written as “The Scotch Whiskey Experience” instead of “The Scotch Whisky Experience”. There is a difference between the two, other than just the spelling.

To be considered Scotch Whisky, alcohol needs to be produced and matured in Scotland for a minimum of three years. Whiskey is generally from other parts of the world, such as Ireland and the USA. Whiskey is produced and manufactured differently than Scotch Whisky.

Golf ball shaped whisky bottle and normal bottles of whisky
The golf ball is also whisky!

Should you take a tour at the Scotch Whisky Experience in Edinburgh if you don’t drink?

I’m not a big drinker and I loved the Scotch Whisky Experience. Although the Edinburgh attraction seems fancy and sophisticated, it’s actually a ton of fun even for those who are more interested in the experience rather than the Scotch Whisky tasting.

Buy your own Scotch Whisky at the Scotch Whisky Experience in Edinburgh

Once the tour is over, you’ll exit into a bar where you can try other types of whisky. Many of the whiskies on display are kept in really unusual bottles, like a chessboard, or a grandfather clock, or Scottie dogs. They do have regular bottles of Scotch Whisky for sale, so you can take home a taste of Scotland with you.

The outside of the Scotch Whisky Experience in Edinburgh Scotland

Which tour at the Scotch Whisky Experience in Edinburgh should you go on?

The Scotch Whisky Experience in Edinburgh has several different tours you can take. As I’m not much of a whisky drinker, I took the silver tour which included all the above.

If you want to taste more types of whisky or have a more intimate experience which includes masterclasses, private tours and Scottish foods, be sure to check out the Scotch Whisky Experience website and pick the tour that best suits your needs.

If you want to book the silver tour I went on, book here and skip the lines: Book here for the Guided Tour and Whisky Tasting

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Comments 8

  1. I would totally do this just for the barrel ride. That looks so fun! What a cool place. I’d also like to see all the different kinds of bottles especially the Scottie dogs.😍 I’d be like you, I’m not sure if I’d want to taste test it. I’d need it mixed with something which is probably not possible. I’m intrigued by the beginner options though. Sounds tasty in theory but I have a feeling I wouldn’t taste the banana. 🤔

    I love learning more about what you can do in Scotland from your blog. Until your posts, I’ve just vaguely known I’d like to visit but didn’t exactly know what’s out there. Thanks for sharing!

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      Author

      Yay! I am so happy I am spreading the word on how great Scotland is! I feel like I am totally biased since I lived there for a while, but it really is a great country full of so much history and beautiful landscapes.

      I am with you on the banana taste! I feel like the overall strong alcoholic taste of the Scotch Whisky might mask the taste! If you ever visit, you will have to let me know which one you went with! Also, they do have a bar you can visit after the tour that (I assume) will mix something else with the whisky..I could totally be wrong though!

      The barrel ride was definitely the best!

  2. I love how you said you shrunk down for the barrel ride, it sounds like it would be a lot of fun.I dont drink but I would still go for the experience.

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  3. OH MMMM GGGG!!!! lol

    I got this message in my inbox and did a happy dance. Scotland is on our short-term to-travel-to-soon list, and I am ALL about the whiskey. Full disclosure: as I get deeper into my old lady blogger’s 30s, I am noticing that I have a more refined taste for booze. Lately, I’ve been all about the whiskey and gin. How sophisticated am I?! (Total sarcasm there. Hehe. But seriously, I feel like I should drink my gin in a red bathrobe in an old Victorian chair.)

    This whiskey experience is like Disney for adults. I LOVE that you ride in a whiskey barrel. I’m totally into fun boozy places. I’ll add this to my Scotland bucket list, for sure.

    1. Also, I realized that I probably insulted the Scotch whisky but saying just ‘whiskey’–which is the dumb American in me! Ekk… Sorry, whisky! I blame Grammarly…

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        That’s okay! I didn’t know either. It seems weird to spell it without the e. I loved what you said on twitter about this post – The Scotch Whisky Experience in Edinburgh really is an adult Disney!

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      Author

      OKAY! Finally, someone else that wants to drink alcohol in a red bathrobe and old Victorian chair! Hello Masterpiece Theatre – here we come! I love that as you get older your taste for alcohol is changing and you are enjoying the harder alcohols (or I think they are harder!). Disney for adults for sure! I love that! I also think that all places that serve alcohol should start with a ride!

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