Whisky connoisseurs, you’ve come to the right place. The capital of a country known for its whisky, Edinburgh is where whisky lovers go to try it all.
While Edinburgh has its own city centre whisky museum, numerous whisky bars and plenty of whisky shops, its whisky culture is very much an amalgamation of Scotland’s various regional traditions. It’s the ideal place to try whisky from the country’s five main whisky-producing regions: the Highlands, the Lowlands, Islay, Speyside and Campbeltown.
Whisky from Scotland is revered across the globe for its excellence. While it’s known to those in other parts of the world as ‘scotch’, to us locals it’s simply ‘whisky’.
Scotch whisky is often characterised by a smoky flavour, brought on by the peat smoke used to treat the malt during the distilling process. All Scotch whiskies fall into one of five main categories: single malt Scotch whisky, single grain Scotch whisky, blended malt Scotch whisky, blended grain Scotch whisky, and blended Scotch whisky.
In order to have ‘Scotch’ on its label, a whisky must meet several requirements. Primarily, it must be: distilled and matured in Scotland, produced from water and malted barley, and aged in oak barrels for at least three years.
While nearly every bar and pub in Edinburgh has a few bottles of whisky behind the counter, certain establishments are known for their impressive – and delicious – selection. Here are a few of the best bars for whisky in Edinburgh:
Serious about whisky? Join the Scotch Malt Whisky Society and enjoy exclusive access to these venues:
A bottle of the finest Scotch whisky makes for a great souvenir of your time in Edinburgh. There are whisky shops dotted across the city, but here are a few of the best:
There are a number of whisky distilleries near Edinburgh that offer guided tours and tastings. Several tour companies based in Edinburgh also offer day trips or multi-day trips to various distilleries in the region.
If you’re looking to learn more about the distilling process and, of course, taste some of Scotland’s best varieties, pay a visit to one or more of the following:
While not itself a distillery, the Scotch Whisky Experience offers a fascinating insight into the distilling process. It’s also a family-friendly tour, with an Irn Bru tasting for the under 18s.
Whisky image by cyclonebill via Wikimedia Commons