14 November 2014
If you're visiting Edinburgh for pleasure, or even business, there's a significant chance you'll want to try a wee dram or two of Scotch whisky. Recent years have seen interest in the 'Water of Life' become something of a global phenomenon and there's never been a better time to acquaint or re-acquaint yourself with our country's finest export. Luckily for us, the award-winning Scotch Whisky Experience is a mere seven minute walk along the Royal Mile from The Scotsman Hotel and offers an exciting and interactive opportunity to discover each process that goes into producing every bottle. Beginning with a bubbling barrel ride, each visitor is taken on a sensational journey through a replica distillery with stories provided by guides and advisors, before being treated to a tasting.
With such a wealth of knowledge only a stone's throw away, we asked the experts at The Scotch Whisky Experience how best to appreciate this classic spirit during a visit to Edinburgh, and here are their top seven suggestions:
Seeing whisky being produced and matured lends a special appreciation to the final tasting. Glenkinchie Distillery in Pencaitland is the nearest malt whisky distillery to Edinburgh and provides a daily shuttle bus service from Waterloo Place for just £12 per person. They're offering an exclusive two for one adult entry for the Glenkinchie Tour until the 16th of November 2014 in association with #TasteofEdinburgh - simply quote GLKSH241ST. For further information about this offer and the distillery's history click here.
Whisky and food pairing has become a hot trend of late, with flavoursome Scottish specialities like artisan cheese, haggis, and smoked salmon providing the perfect accompaniment to Scotch whisky. Curious? Learn all about it here.
The Scotsman Hotel's North Bridge Brasserie offers a chance to taste some of Scotland's finest whiskies with sweet and savoury accompaniments for just £18.00 per person. Smoked Dunlop cheese is served alongside the Caol Ila 12 Year, while tangy lemon meringue pie fudge complements the flowery palate of the Glenkinchie 12 Year during an evening to remember!
The Scotch Whisky Experience contains the Diageo Claive Vidiz Scotch Whisky Collection - the largest in the world consisting of almost 3,500 individual bottles. Its beautifully lit whisky vault is where visitors to The Experience sample what is often their first taste of Scotch whisky. It has been scientifically proven that our environment can affect sensory perception, so this isn't a location to miss!
Whether your prefer yours sweet, smoky or a little more spicy, each whisky offers an exclusive set of flavours that can work well on their own or accompanied by complementary ingredients. Cocktails offer a delicious way to find new ways to enjoy your favourite dram or to even discover taste sensations that perhaps you weren't expecting.
From the classic to the contemporary, North Bridge Brasserie's resident mixologists certainly know how to create a refined concoction that'll leave you wanting more. We recommend the 'Highland Iced Tea', which blends Isle of Jura Superstition single malt whisky with Earl Grey tea as well as fig and peach liqueurs for the sweeter toothed. While, the 'Burnt Islay Old Fashioned' takes the classic tipple famously championed by Kentucky colonel James E Pepper and gives it a Scotsman twist with Lagavulin single malt, Makers Mark bourbon, homemade brown sugar syrup, bitters and a dash of Cherry Marnier ...finished with a twist of orange. Yum.
The specially designed Glencairn glass has a hand-friendly base, a rounded bowl to highlight aromas, and a nicely flared rim for ease of tasting. To ensure visitors to The Experience can continue on their whisky tasting journey at home, some of our events and tours include a complimentary Glencairn whisky tasting glass.
Edinburgh is home to a wealth of wonderful whisky bars, with an environment and whisky menu to suit every taste. Check out Whisky Bars of Edinburgh's Facebook page for all the latest news, and look out for the new 'Whisky Adventure' app from The Scotch Whisky Experience, which will take you around all of Edinburgh's historic whisky sites!
And here's how you do it...
Whisky is best viewed held up against a white background - this will allow you to make an educated guess at the type of barrel in which the whisky had been matured. Light - bourbon, dark - sherry.
However, colour could also give an indication of the age of the whisky. Younger whiskies tend to be lighter with older whiskies being slightly darker.
Swirl the whisky around the glass, coating the side of the glass. Watch as the droplets' 'legs' form. If the legs are thin and run quickly down the side of the glass then the whisky is light-bodied. If they are thicker and slower this indicates that the whisky is full-bodied and oilier. If lots of beads form at the top of the glass, the whisky may have a higher alcohol content (cask strength).
Remember, never trust your eyes! You must confirm your assumptions on the nose and palate.
Whisky nosing should be done by adding water to the product, but if you only have a few whiskies then you could nose and taste first before adding water. Remember to keep your mouth open slightly when nosing the whisky and nose it two or three times. Identify as many aromas as possible.
Identify further aromas and tastes. Consider the mouthfeel of the whisky.
How long after you drink the whisky can you still taste it? Does the taste disappear quickly or are you left with a long lingering finish?
We would like to thank The Scottish Whisky Experience for their inspirational ideas and wise words when it comes to all things whisky. Find out more about The Experience and the different tours they have on offer here, or alternatively keep up with their latest news on Facebook or Twitter.
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