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Review: The Scotch Whisky Experience

Attraction - Exhibition

Castlehill, Edinburgh, Scotland, EH1 2NE, United Kingdom

Super, interesting attraction accessible to all!

  • By SilverTraveller PamWNorth

    154 reviews

    Ribbon Ribbon Ribbon Ribbon

  • March 2017
  • Husband

A day out in Edinburgh provided the opportunity to revisit The Scotch Whisky Experience. We were keen to view new additions to the tour, to see recent refurbishments and as I have some mobility issues to see what was now in place for the less able.

The Scotch Whisky Experience is in the heart of Edinburgh, on Castlehiill, just footsteps from Edinburgh Castle on The Royal Mile. This five star, multi sensory visitor attraction is all about Scotch Whisky. It is not a working distillery but an interactive exhibition with guided tours. There is also a spacious shop, restaurant and whisky bar.

It is open seven days a week, 10am – 5pm (closing times vary according to season)

Visitors can be dropped off outside (part of the road is cobbled with paving either side). There is no car parking outside. Metred parking can be found in nearby streets. There is a small multi storey car park at Castle Terrace, 0.4miles away.

It is within easy walking distance of transport routes and hotels. The walk is uphill, so for the less mobile like me I recommend arriving by taxi. We took a taxi from Market Street (0.6 miles away) beside Waverley Station. Within minutes the taxi whisked us to the door, the fare was less than £4.

Level entry through automatic doors led us inside to the ground floor Ticket Office. The Scotch Whisky Experience is set out over several floors – there is a wheelchair accessible lift to all floors.

There is a choice of tours depending on your interest level. They are all different prices. Our standard Silver Tour included a 50 minute guided tour and tasting our selected whisky. Various tickets are available for this tour, family to single adult etc. The adult ticket being £15, Concession £13. Carers for disabled people are admitted free.

Guide dogs are welcome, printed information is available, hearing loop technology and for non English speakers there are audio guides available in many languages. There is seating throughout the tour except in The Collection Room, but it can be provided here on request.

The tour starts on the ground floor, we waited just ten minutes in a comfortable seated area for our tour to begin. Our Tour Guide was Gary.

The Barrel Ride started the tour, staff warned us the seat was a bit low, but we did not find it a problem. For wheelchair users there is one wheelchair adapted barrel.

The Barrel Ride lasts ten minutes. I found it a fun start to the tour. It is multi sensory involving smell, vision and hearing. Visitors take a journey through Scotch whisky production. I think it is worth mentioning there are flashing lights involved in the Barrel Ride.

On the next floor is the Sense of Scotland Room, my favourite part of the tour. Seated on benches in front of an enormous screen we watched 180 degree cinema, enjoying a birds eye view of stunning landscapes as we visited the five whisky regions of Scotland. We learnt how combinations of geography and weather creates regional differences in whisky. The quality of the film was absolutely superb. To assist selecting a whisky to taste later, we were given a palette card identifying each whisky region with a different colour, scratching off the colour produced the aroma of the whisky of that region.

We moved on to a recreated 19th century Blenders Sample Room where we were seated. Gary’s talk took us back to 1870 and the birth of blending in Edinburgh. We learnt more about whisky producing regions, about single malts, grain whisky and blends. Using our palette card we selected a whisky to taste. There was also the option of Scotland’s soft drink Irn Bru. We took our whisky through to the next part of the tour – The Collection Room.

The Collection Room has to be seen to be believed!. It houses the world’s largest collection of Scotch Whisky -3,384 bottles. This amazing display is housed in a marble and glass vault. We were given time to view. Gary talked about the Collection room, then whisky appreciation – colour, body, nose, palate and finish. After finishing our drink we were given a gift box for our whisky glass.

We ended the tour in the top floor McIntyre Gallery and Bar which has views over Edinburgh.

We decided to visit the ground floor shop which we entered through wide doors. With 477 types of whisky and produce – whisky fudge, biscuits, marmalades for sale we were spoilt for choice!. A whisky flavour map helps visitors make choices, small sample bottles can be purchased.

The lower ground floor houses The Amber Restaurant and Whisky Bar. The Amber Restaurant is known as the perfect place to sample Scotland’s larder. We didn’t eat at the restaurant but have bookmarked it for the future!. The Whisky Bar adjoins the restaurant, it has 450 single malts, blends and liqueurs. It’s touch screen distillery information enhances the educational experience.

W.C’s including a wheelchair accessible disabled toilet are on the lower ground floor.

An interesting, enjoyable visit, our Guide was knowledgeable and my husband was delighted to discover a new blend to put amongst his favourites!. I was pleased to see the needs of the less mobile and disabled visitor were catered for. I also liked the fact the tour was multi sensory and felt the excellent descriptions by our Guide, the aromas and the nosing and tasting element of the tour would be of assistance to the visually impaired visitor.

Near the Scotch Whisky Experience are all the attractions of the Royal Mile with Edinburgh Castle at one end and the Palace of Holyrood House at the other end with a host of specialist shops, museums, cafes, restaurants, galleries and hotels in between.

Their website can be found at https://www.scotchwhiskyexperience.co.uk
Their accessibility statement can be found at
https://scotchwhiskyexperience.co.uk/about-the-site/accessibility.

This review is solely based on the opinion of a Silver Travel Advisor member and not of Silver Travel Advisor Ltd.

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