This I am sorry to say is another article about a visit I took in the past. A time when you could go to places and they were open, you didn’t need a mask or to sanitize your hands or indeed stay 2 metres from anyone. Those were different times and it seems like they will be distant memories for a while.
Regardless, the time will come when you can go back to tourist attractions and I hope this will be of help to you. At the moment they are taking bookings for after 15th June.
Which brings me on to the first point of this visit, it is a tourist attraction. The Scotch Whisky Experience is a venue funded by 19 different whisky companies to showcase and grow the brand of Scotch Whisky. This place is about promoting Scotland and whisky from people who don’t regularly buy the stuff or visit very often. I was gifted the platinum tour as a birthday present from my brother and I was the only person from the UK. Other participants were from America, Singapore and China and most had little knowledge or experience of whisky but had it on their itinerary to visit.
The platinum tour is the last tour of the day and finishes after the venue has closed. Visitors can pair the tour with a dinner reservation in the downstairs restaurant and I think this is a good option. It is possibly not something well known however because I only found out when half of my group were whisked off to their tables at the end of the tour and I must say I was quite jealous. The other tour options though are:
- Silver Tour – 60 minutes in the venue and a viewing of the whisky collection
- Gold Tour – as above plus 4 single malts
- Platinum Tour – as above plus extended visit to the collection and 6 whiskies
- Morning Tour – visit plus coffee and 4 whiskies
- Various Food and Drink pairing – tour plus a visit to the collection and then food paired with whiskies. A couple of different price points on these ones as well.
So what actually is the venue? Well its an old converted school which has now been transformed into something which is part theme park and part whisky shop. The theme park element includes a roller- coaster based ride through the production of whisky in a kind of artificial distillery setup. You go through the process of how whisky is made and there is a lot of sensory elements to the ride. It is actually pretty good and was the part going in which I thought would be overly gimmicky but it wasn’t really.
From there you go into a series of rooms with whisky tastings and an educational presentation of what brand Scotland is. The large screens and copious amounts of drone footage really lean heavily on the stereotypical imagery you would expect as a visitor to Scotland. The footage is done well and the AV equipment has clearly had some money spent on it. It would be easy to under invest in all these areas and for things to feel tatty and perhaps a bit amateur hour. However, someone got their cheque book out and that was avoided.
I suppose for a lot of people the most interesting part is this part which comes next. The Scotch Whisky Experience is the home of the largest unopened collection of whisky in the world. Apparently.
The collection was owned by a Brazilian millionaire who collected whisky over a long period of time. As the collection grew and his family were not interested in it he started to look for a home where it could be enjoyed by the masses. It does seem fair enough that it ended up in Scotland and the millionaire is still alive and comes to visit his old collection on occasion apparently.
To me though I found it all rather sad. I really enjoy history and did of course find a number of the items really interesting. There is bottles I had never heard of and limited edition sets I had never seen before. However, row and row after row of bottles were all badly damaged from the elements. A number of unopened bottles were nearly empty due to evaporation which makes the whole thing a bit pointless really don’t you think? All that time energy and money spent on finding and procuring these bottles to be left with nothing but an empty husk?
As we perused the collection were had a tutored tasting of whiskies from each region. These were well picked and interesting. I enjoyed them all but wouldn’t buy them from the shop because those prices were a touch too high for my blood. Overall though I enjoyed my evening out in Edinburgh and certainly think the place is worth a visit. Also when you come out into the night air you can get amazing pictures like these.