I love Edinburgh, probably in my top three cities in the world; great heritage, great friends live there and great whisky is never far. With that in mind I recently visited The Scotch Whisky Experience on the Royal Mile for a private look around and dinner.
In case you were unaware:
Located at the top of Edinburgh’s famous Royal Mile, The Scotch Whisky Experience has been educating visitors about Scotland’s national drink for more than a quarter of a century, with more than 300,000 people passing through its doors each year.
After a long day of meetings and chatting with lovely whisky folk in Glasgow I headed to Edinburgh to meet James and Georgia, old friends of mind from when James and I worked together… that was until he sacked off the service design world and became a true craft gin distiller. What a guy.
We arrived and were ushered into the Amber Restaurant, so named after the colour of the famous whisky you will see all around you, and on to our table to experience the Taste of Scotland tasting menu where you get to sample a lot the delightful food that Scotland has to offer in one sitting.
The first course was a brilliant medley including salmon tartare and delicious venison which was lovely; just enough to get you excited about the varied tastes, but not to fill you up and not leave space for the main course, dessert or, more importantly, the whisky.
The main course is where I started getting geeky with my pairings.
Again this was a trio, this time: cullen skink, a gorgeous bit of beef and a lovely roast chicken stuffed with vegetarian haggis, not quite sure why veggie and not ‘regular’ unless the age old ‘I’m a veggie… apart from chicken’ card was expected?
Because of the diversity of flavours, I paired this one with The Dalmore 18, a stunning dram which adds a complex chocolate orange note to proceedings that allows the food to sing. We all seemed to enjoy the matched flavours, win.
Immediately after we finished our main we were whisked up to the biggest whisky collection in the world.
Owned by Diageo, the collection is incredible. Lots of chatter on the GreatDrams Facebook page after I posted photos nodded to how most of the bottles are likely dead of flavour now after being illuminated from beneath for a few years and how some had a weird mould growing on them. As try as that likely is, it is still mightily impressive.
As both a brand geek and a packaging geek, I was cooing for AGES at all the old branding examples, the brands that no longer exist, the way that single malt whiskies were sold back in the day and the relatively amusing names of some of the blends that no longer exist.
Words can only do this so much justice, see below for some of my 106 photos taken in the space of 20 minutes.
After I had finished my incessant photography of as many bottles as I could, we headed back down for dessert; a Scottish raspberry cranachan pastry paired with The Balvenie Double Wood. Delightful, maybe a tad over-creamed but lovely nonetheless.
Once the meal was done we had a few more whiskies and headed into the Edinburgh night…
Thanks to The Scotch Whisky Experience, Edinburgh for their hospitality, greatly appreciated and thoroughly enjoyed.