Review of our visit to The Scotch Whisky Experience:
an Edinburgh, Scotland, icon
Are you a fan of Scotland? How about Whisky? Better yet, Scotch Whisky? Maybe you are curious and want to learn about it or extend your knowledge of this magnificent spirit. Many resources are online, but that’s not as fun as a hands-on approach. What if that hands-on experience is in stunning Scotland and next to the beautiful Edinburgh castle? Would you be tempted? Ryan was, and what an incredible experience it was.
Welcome to The Scotch Whisky Experience.
So what is the Scotch Whisky Experience? It is a five-star visitor attraction that has inspired guests for over 30 years and is located in a beautiful historic building that was once a primary school. It sits on the hill a few doors down from the Edinburgh Castle entry gate on the Royal Mile. There is much to see and learn here. Stop by and visit their whisky shop to find a nice bottle of whisky from their vast collection. The knowledgeable staff will guide you to find the perfect bottle of whisky. Enjoy lunch or dinner at their delicious and well-reviewed restaurant Amber, but the best thing they have to offer is their tours.
Traveling to Scotland soon? Check out Scotland Travel Guide
The Tours Offered at The Scotch Whisky Experience
The whisky tours are the perfect journey through the world of Scotch whisky. They are storytellers, passionate about sharing their love for Scotch whisky and Scotland. Because of this, the tours will widen your knowledge, explore flavors and create unforgettable whisky memories. There are five levels of tours, Silver, Platinum, Gold, Tasting Tales, and a Taste of Scotland, with prices ranging from 21-95 pounds. It is an impressive experience that is very visually stimulating. You learn so much as you move from room to room. After the tour, you can visit the tasting room and experience even more whiskies at the bar. The knowledgeable and engaging staff will guide you all the way.
Joelle took a silver tour, the lowest cost one, where several tastings were offered. It was exceptional on every level, you get to keep the glass too. She then added to the tour with several more tastings at the tasting room and had lunch at Amber. Previously she had not been a big fan of whisky but now has a new perspective and appreciation after her experience. The tours are excellent, but if you have a passion for whisky and you really want to treat yourself, may we suggest The Scotch Whisky Training School?
A List of Tours Available
What is Included in a Scotch Whisky Tour
Info from the Scotch Whisky Website
The Silver Tour
Ideal for first-timers and families
A guided tour plus a nosing and tasting of single malt or blended Scotch whisky in one of The World’s Largest Collections of Scotch Whisky.
Duration 50 minutes for £21 per adult
The Gold Tour
Get a real taste for whiskies
After enjoying a full Silver Tour, you’ll enjoy an introductory tasting tray of 4 contrasting regional single malts. Assisted by their experienced guides and provided with tasting notes, you’ll be able to compare the regions to find your perfect dram.
Duration 70-90 minutes for £34 per adult
The Platinum Tour
A whisky lover’s dream
An early evening tour, which includes a tutored nosing & tasting of 4 single malts & 1 deluxe blended Scotch whisky.
Duration 90 minutes once or twice a day for £45.00 per adult.
Scotch whisky paired with Scottish food *Likely to sell out.
Savour a fully tutored tasting of four Scotch whiskies paired with canapé-sized tasters. LIMITED AVAILABILITY Only offered on selected dates
Duration 60 minutes for £45 per adult.
A Taste of Scotland
A Scottish blend of whisky and cuisine
Enjoy a Platinum whisky tour, followed by our renowned Taste of Scotland tasting menu in their Amber Restaurant. The meal is three courses with a paired dram of whisky with dessert.
Duration 3 hours for £90 per adult.
What languages does Scotch Experience offer?
The Scotch Whisky Experience offers British Sign Language and American Sign Language on the Silver tour, as well as subtitles in the following languages: Dutch, English, French, German, Italian, Spanish, and Swedish.
To learn more or to purchase tickets, click this link
The Scotch Whisky Experience
Scotch Whisky Training School
During our first visit to Edinburgh years ago, Ryan had read about the school. The class is offered monthly, and we lucked out because it was scheduled the day before our arrival on our next trip. We adjusted our dates and landed two days earlier than planned so Ryan could attend. That was the best decision he could have made!
The all-day class is offered for 250 pounds and is conducted with a small group. The immersion course gives you a fun-filled day of learning, eating, and drinking in a relaxing environment. The class combines hands-on activities and different learning styles to make the day entertaining, highly educational, and informative.
Our day in class
Your day begins in a room filled with the most fantastic and extensive whisky collection you will ever see while having tea, coffee, and shortbread. You then go upstairs to the classroom and learn about whiskey production. Before you know it, you have your first break with more tea, coffee, and a tasty assortment of pastries. Next, you will learn whisky differences and history to understand how they vary from each country and region and why they are the way. After that, you will take a quiz with your group.
Now that you are halfway done with your day, you will go downstairs to the award-winning Amber restaurant for lunch; the food is fantastic. After lunch, you go back to class, where you test your senses, do a few whisky tastings, and learn how to decipher the whisky notes from each region of Scotland. Now comes the extra fun part; with this new knowledge, your instructor gives you a 10cl bottle you will use to blend whisky from each region or Scotland. Once you are done, you get to label it with the blend percentages, name it, and put it in a little package to take home to drink or gift it. You will also get to take home a tasting glass from class.
Finally, you will finish the day learning about the sales and marketing of whisky before taking a 40-minute test. You will get a nice “Certificate of Expertise” if you pass the exam. The Scotch whisky industry recognizes the certificate. It is a fantastic and fun souvenir you won’t want to miss out on; take it home and frame it. Remember to take notes and pay close attention throughout the day.
Whisky School Itinerary
9.00 am Welcome & coffee in the World’s Largest Collection of Scotch
9.30 am Malt & Grain whisky production
10.45 am Coffee
11.00 am Spirit of deception: The difference between Scotch whisky and
come of its competitors
11.30 am A History of the Origins & Development of Scotch Whisky
12.00 pm Team Quiz
12.30 pm Lunch in our award-winning restaurant, Amber
1.30 pm Tutored tasting & sensory perception
2.45 pm The Art of Blending – introduction to Blending and opportunity to blend your own 100 ml blended Scotch Whisky.
3.45 pm Selling and serving Scotch Whisky.
4.15 pm “Certificate of Expertise in the Sales & Service of Scotch Whisky.”
A 40-minute exam to ensure that candidates leave with the
knowledge & skill required to help them sell Scotch Whisky.
5.00 pm Close
To learn more about the class or register, click the link below
The Scotch Whisky Training School page
Ryan’s instructor Lenka was an incredible host and made the experience exceptional. She has been doing this for decades, and her passion and enthusiasm for Scotch whisky made Ryan an even bigger fan. The training will impart an advanced level of whisky knowledge, enabling enthusiasts to speak with authority and professionals to sell and upsell confidently. If you are a professional, it will help you sell and upsell confidently.
Before you leave, you will receive their extensive training materials to keep for your reference. They include your test handouts and notes, an excellent training manual, a copy of your schedule, questions and answer booklet, and a poster of the Scotland regions of whisky; Ryan will likely frame.
Amber Restaurant & Whisky Bar is the perfect place to discover Scotland’s offerings. Ryan had lunch with his class, and Joelle had lunch at the bar. Both meals were delicious and plentiful. The presentation was well done with some flair. The servers make great suggestions on what whisky to pair with your food.
The restaurant has won many awards in the two decades they have been open. Choose from over 450 drams in Amber’s whisky bar, from well-known favorites to hidden gems ready to discover. It is very popular so we suggest a reservation.
To check out all the fun activities and info about
The Scotch Whisky Experience, click here for their home page.
Full transparency: We paid the full advertised cost for both the class and the tour, as any guest would. The school and tour were done with the public and we were not given any special access. We were simply that impressed.
Where to stay when visiting Edinburgh
There are vast choices for accommodation in Edinburgh. Prices do not need to be outrageous. We strongly suggest staying in the city, as it is an intricate part of the experience. You will want to eat most of your meals out, so a place with a kitchenette is not a necessity.
On our two visits, we stayed near Edinburgh Castle and the next time near Calton Hill, both great locations.
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If you love whisky, want to expand your knowledge, or try something new, go to The Scotch Whisky Experience, take one of the several tours they offer, and become amazed at the knowledge you will gain. If you really want to advance your understanding, book the whisky school. Even novice whisky drinkers can become connoisseurs in a day. Ryan thinks it is more than worth it. Below are the class links and the Scotch Whisky Experience home page. Check them out for an experience you will never forget! Add to that you have time in Edinburgh, a magical and vibrant cultural treasure. It is a living Harry Potter world full of enchantment and charm, oh, and whisky. What more can you ask for?
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Since you are steps away from Edinburgh Castle when at The Scotch Whisky Experience, why not pay a visit? Check out our article “Edinburgh Castle: The Crown of Edinburgh.“
The Scotch Whisky Experience Photo Gallery
with some Edinburgh pics for fun
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