Currently stationed abroad & doing a lot of travel! We are about to take a cruise & explore Edinburgh & are looking for a great place to taste & buy whiskey. Any other great local places that we would miss on a self guided tour much appreciated...we like to enjoy beyond the normal tourism. Thanks & kind regards!
The Whisky (no e in the Scottish spelling) Experience at the top of the Royal Mile near the castle will give you a good bit of information about whisky making and history. At the end of the tour you get a free taste of a wee dram of that day's featured whisky (usually a single malt). I think they sometimes have samples of others also available. There a quite a few whisky stores on the Royal Mile. And they will often have samples of a particular brand out. But the best whisky tasting I ever had was at a pub. Friends had taken us out for dinner and asked the barman to do a tasting for us. He ed 3 different single malts (one from Islay, one Speyside and a lowland malt). He explained each and had us taste them. I learned alot that night. (By the way, I learned that I like Speyside malts- especially Belvinnie 12 year double wood and any Dalhwhinnie- they are not too heavily peated, but do have a smokey, and flowery or fruity tone).
You can buy whisky all over the place. The largest selection is at The Whisky Experience towards the upper end of the Royal Mile. Its part museum, part spirits shop, part cafe, lots of fun. Another historic place in Cadenhead towards the lower end of the Royal Mile. We use a Rough Guide to Scotland which lists both places as well as many others.
Absolutely the best place to taste and learn about Whisky is at Cadenhead's Whisky Shop, 172 Canongate, right on the Royal Mile. If your lucky, your visit may coinside with one of their evening whisky tastings that will give you more education and information than you ever knew existed. Last fall we attended their tasting that featured 8 different peaty whiskies, which are my husbands' favorite. Rick mentions them in his guidebook, but check out their website.
I will second the Edinburgh Whisky Experience tour/attraction as interesting for even my gin and tonic drinking wife and friend. That said, I have to say the the best whisky tasting experience was our short diversion from the West Highland Way track to the Glengoyne distillery. We tasted the 10, 17 and 21 year whiskies and I will admit that the 21 year old version is worth the extra price. But the joy was not so much the particular distillery but the experience of our chance discovery while walking across the Scottish countryside.
I second the advice to visit Calendhead's. The Whiskey experience is not too shabby either. Both are on the Royal Mile, the latter near the foot of Edinburgh Castle and the former at the other end. Penn