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Scotch Whisky Experience, Johnnie Walker, or something else?

Discovering Scotch Whisky in Edinburgh

· 3 min read

A trip to Edinburgh isn’t complete without a captivating journey into the heart of Scotland's most iconic beverage - the Scotch Whisky, or also often referred to as “Scotch”. Whether you are a whisky drinker or someone who is just interested to find out more about the drink, Edinburgh has many whisky experiences waiting for you to discover. With so many different options available, let’s find out which one is for you.

1. The Scotch Whisky Experience

Perched on the Royal Mile, near the iconic Edinburgh Castle, The Scotch Whisky Experience is a fantastic starting point for anyone interested in understanding Scotch whisky. This attraction offers an educational journey through the whisky-making process, from barley to bottle.

Source: The Scotch Whisky Experience

The Scotch Whisky Experience is a good one-stop experience for those who are new to whisky and want to learn more about the process. The experience begins with a ride in a whisky barrel that takes visitors through a replica distillery, showcasing the production process with engaging visuals and sounds.

The Scotch Whisky Experience offers a few different tiers, with most of them having a tasting session included. However, what you get at these tasting sessions may not always be the best nor the most value-for-money.

If you are a whisky drinker who also wants to have a go at the Scotch Whisky Experience, you might enjoy it more by going on the Silver Tour and heading to the bar after the tour for a better selection of drinks. Reservations for the Amber Restaurant & Whisky Bar is essential.

It is recommended to get your tickets to the Scotch Whisky Experience in advance, and you can get the tickets directly from their website. However, tickets upon purchase cannot be changed. If you are still unsure about your visit, you can consider getting the tickets from Tiqets.com - prices are slightly higher, but it provides you with the flexibility of free cancellation up till the day before.

2. Johnnie Walker Princes Street

A recent and welcome addition to Edinburgh’s whisky landscape is Johnnie Walker Princes Street. This multi-sensory visitor experience is located in the heart of the city and is dedicated to one of the world’s most famous whisky brands.

Source: Johnnie Walker

The Johnnie Walker Experience at Princes Street is also a good option for someone who is new to whisky, providing a more entertaining experience. However, whisky drinkers seeking out a good variety of drinks might not enjoy the experience as much.

Of course, there is also the option of simply heading to the rooftop bar without going the tour - the bar provides a great view of the Edinburgh castle. And while the selection of whisky might not be as extensive, they do feature a number of cocktails that might be suitable for those who are just getting started with whisky.

Johnnie Walker Princes Street also regularly hosts whisky-related events. Do check out their event calendar for more information.

3. Distillery Tours

For the more serious whisky drinkers, perhaps a distillery tour would be of greater interest to you. Distillery tours provide you with the experience of seeing an actual distillery and a more immersive experience in general. And, drinking whisky right at the distillery it is made at is almost always much better than if you were to drink it somewhere else.

There are a number of distilleries that you can visit around Edinburgh, but it might require a bit of research and planning - as most of these distilleries aren’t exactly in Edinburgh.

Source: Hollyrood Distillery

If you are short of time, you could consider visiting include the Holyrood Distillery or the Port of Leith Distillery. These two distilleries are the two most accessible distilleries - but they are both relatively new, so there isn’t much for you to choose from. Holyrood Distillery only launched their inaugural whisky in 2023, and Port of Leith currently doesn’t have their own whisky yet.

If you do have some time, consider taking a trip out to Glenkinchie Distillery. It is not the easiest to get to, but it is a good option if you want to explore an actual production distillery.

It is highly recommended to book your distillery tour in advance.

4. Whisky Bars, Pubs, and Tastings

Of course, there are plenty of whisky bars and pubs throughout Edinburgh that are waiting for you to discover.

Some of the notable mentions include The Bow Bar, located in the Old Town and a favourite among locals and tourists alike, as well as The Scotch Malt Whisky Society, a members’ club which has a bar that is open to public.

Source: Tipsy Midgie Facebook Page

There are plenty of other bars and pubs around the Edinburgh Castle that you could check out, some of which also host tasting events occasionally. Tasting events are a great way for you to explore and try out new whisky flavours. Consider heading to Tipsy Midgie or the Jolly Topper Whisky Tasting for some rather interesting tasting events.

Slots for tasting events tend to be filled out, so it is recommended to make a reservation in advance.