Welcome to the Edinburgh Whisky Tour With Tasting! Here you’ll learn about the history of Whisky in Edinburgh, Scotland and get to try the finest Scottish Whisky!
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Edinburgh Whisky Tour Dates and Times
This Whisky tour takes place every Saturday and Sunday at 4pm! Tickets are scarce and usually sell out quickly, so it’s best to book in advance to avoid disappointment.
Afternoon experience with complimentary tasting for 2 hours.
Where will I meet my Edinburgh Whiskey Tour guide?
- Meeting Place: Mercat Cross, High Street, Edinburgh
- End of Tour Location: Megget’s Cellar, Blair Street, off Hunter’s Square
On the whisky tour, you’ll walk through Edinburgh’s old town. This is the capital city of Scotland and the city that founded the world’s largest whisky company. You’ll learn the history of how whisky was made and produced before moving on to Megget’s cellar for a complimentary whisky tasting from 4 different regions that produce whisky in Scotland.
King James IV granted Edinburgh a monopoly of the manufacture of because he believed whisky had medicinal qualities
On this tour you’ll learn the role Edinburgh played in selling whisky to the rest of the world. You’ll learn how the locals in Scotland embrased whisky which changed the way whisky was produced in Scotland. Many Scottish whisky pioneers created their own whisky to export worldwide. It was an exciting time for business in Scotland.
On your Edinburgh Whisky Tour, your whisky expert will cover everything you need to know about whisky from how it’s made to the effects that different elements such as water, barley, peat and the cask have on the taste and smell of it when it’s produced. You’ll get to drink the 4 whisky regions, with sample whiskies from Speyside, Highland, Islay and Lowland distilleries. By the end of the tour you’ll be on your way to being a whisky connoisseur.
I love whisky and want to go on the Edinburgh Whisky Tour, but what is it?!
All Scotch whisky must be produced at a Scottish distillery using malted barley and water. Other whole cereal grains can also be used. The liquid must be distilled when it’s 94.8% alcohol by volume. Then it moves into oak casks (no larger than 185 gallons). This takes place for a minimum of 3 years. Once the whisky is aged, it is then bottled at a minimum of 40% alcohol by volume. The industry doesn’t like to talk about this but caramel colouring is also added to the whisky to make it look palatable. You’ll learn this and more on your Edinburgh Whisky Tour (with tasting).
Many scotch whiskies sit under the broad legal umbrella of what whisky is. Advertising has helped us become more familiar with a few ;).
Edinburgh Whisky Tour – What is Single Malt?
On the Edinburgh Whisky Tour, you’ll learn that single malt is produced at only one distillery. This must be made from only malted barley and water to qualify as a single malt.
The single in this case refers to the distillery, not a grain type or barrel. While single malts are not blended with other whiskies made from various recipes, a bottle does contain a blend of the same Scotch recipe produced in different years and aged for various amount of time. This process is conducted by a master blender to insure a consistent flavor profile over years. The age statement on the bottle must reflect the youngest whisky used in the blend. This is because older whiskies are highly desired.
Cambpeltown, Lowlands, Highlands, Islay and Speyside are the 5 main single malt producing regions. The single malts from these regions usually taste similar in flavor. This is because the conditions for the ingredients are similar in these different parts of Scotland. Nearly half of all the whisky distilleries in Scotland are in the Speyside region and therefore this is where most of the whisky is produced.
Edinburgh Whisky Tour – The Main Scottish Whisky Producing Regions
Speyside, Highlands, Lowlands, Islay and Campbeltown are the names of Scotland’s five main single malt producing regions. Usually the single malts from these regions share a common style or flavor profile, though it’s not set in stone. The Speyside region is by far the biggest producer and contains nearly half of all the whisky distilleries in Scotland.
The smoky flavour that people associate with scotch is not a requirement. This comes from when peat is added. Peat is a mud like substance which is burned by many of the distilleries in Scotland to dry the malted barley.
What is Single Grain Whisky?
Single grain whisky must also be made and distilled at just one location. The difference between this and single malt is that other cereal grains can be used in the recipe in addition to the malted barley.
What is Blended Scotch Whisky?
This whisky is made from blending together single malt shiwky with one or more single grain whiskies. Out of all the whisky sold around the world, around 90% is made like this.
What is Blended Malt Scotch Whisky?
Blended Malt Scotch Whisky can sometimes also be called a vatted malt or pure malt. It is a blend of one or more single malts made by more than one distillery.
What’s the difference between Scottish and Irish Whiskey?
The most obvious difference between Scottish and Irish whiskey is that Irish whiskey must be made and aged in Ireland.
One of the main differences between Irish whiskey and Scotch is the types of grains used in the recipe. Common in Irish whiskey is both malted and unmalted barley. Corn, wheat and rye can also be added to recipes to improve the flavour. Don’t worry if you think this is a lot to remember, you’ll go over it again on your Edinburgh Whisky Tour.
Many say that Irish whiskey is smoother than Scottish whisky. This is often said because Irish whiskey is most often triple distilled. In Scotland, it’s usually only double distilled. Irish whiskey also lacks the smoky taste of the peat however many Irish whiskeys also use peat so this is a stereotype and simplification.Many Irish whiskey sub types exist, just like Scottish whisky. They’re decided by their distillation method and whether the bottle contains a blend of various recipes or not. Irish whiskey is enjoyed around the world however the styles aren’t as abundant compared to Scottish whisky. This is because Scotland has 125 distilleries whereas Ireland only has a few.
What is Irish Single Grain Whiskey?
Irish Single Grain Whiskey is made from a single distillery. This is from a blend of corn, wheat, rye and barley in any combination.
What is Irish Single Malt Whiskey?
Irish Single Malt Whiskey is whiskey made at a single distillery using a mash of only malted barley and distilled in a pot still.
What’s the difference between these and Canadian Whisky?
Canadian law states that whiskies produced in Canada can be named one of 3 things. They can be labelled Canadian Rye, Canadian Whisky or Rye Whisky. Canadian Whisky can be made from any type of mashed grain and must, just like Scottish and Irish, be distilled and aged for at least three years in wooden barrels no larger than 185 gallons. The final product must be a minimum of 80 proof when bottled. In Canada, the distillers are allowed to add caramel colouring and flavouring to the whisky so it’s easier for them to sell.
On your Edinburgh Whisky Tour with Tasting, you’ll learn that while recipes differ from brand to brand. Most Canadian Whisky blends contain lower-proof, rye-based whisky with higher-proof whisky made from other grains. Corn based whisky is used for flavouring. Corn is often the primary ingredient of most bottles as a result, despite the frequent references to rye in the industry.
The ability to add sweetener and the heavy use of corn in this whisky’s production generally gives the category a “lighter” taste profile compared to other styles. Sweeteners are why a lot of people prefer the taste of Canadian whisky compared to Scotch and Irish whiskies.
Examples of some Canadian Whiskies?
What’s the difference between these and American Whiskey?
Rye, Wheat, Malt and Rye Malt Whiskey are American whiskeys where 51 percent of the mash bill recipe is composed of rye. America is the only country on our list where there is no law for the amount of aging time. Corn whiskey is subjected to the same rules, except that it does not have to be stored in wood. If the corn whiskey is put in wood, it must be stored in unused oak barrels. These exceptions are designed to separate general corn whiskies from bourbon.
What is American Straight Whiskey?
American Straight Whiskey adds a minimum aging requirement of two years to the ones above. Whiskies made that follow this additional regulation can add “straight” on the label.
An example of American Straight Whiskey? Sam Houston Straight Whiskey
What is American Bourbon Whiskey?
Bourbon must be made in the United States from a recipe with a minimum of 51 percent corn, making it technically corn whiskey. Unlike generic corn whiskey, it must be stored in charred new oak barrels at no more than 62.5% ABV (125 proof). This is less than the usual 80% required for other whiskies. No amount of minimum aging is required by law.
What is Tennessee Whiskey?
Tennessee Whiskey is an offshoot of American whiskey. It’s not defined in a legal sense like other American whiskey styles. However, it’s one of the biggest forces in the industry due to well known global brand, Jack Daniel’s.
Most Tennessee whiskey is made exactly the same way as bourbon. The only difference is the final step. This is known as the Lincoln County Process. The method is named after the original county where Jack Daniel’s first distillery was located. It involves pouring the distilled whiskey through a charcoal filter. This will remove impurities before the Whiskey is barrelled.
Edinburgh’s Whisky History
On your Edinburgh Whisky Tour, you’ll learn that although Edinburgh is more famously known for it’s beer brewing, it was also once home to several successful whisky distilleries.
The last surviving great whisky distillery in Edinburgh is the North British Grain Distillery. There’s also the extremely popular Glenkinchie Distillery however this lies outside of Edinburgh.
Though the capital could soon see the return of single malt whisky distilling in the form of the Holyrood Distillery project and a new distillery proposed for Leith, there hasn’t been a distillery operating in Edinburgh since Glen Sciennes closed in 1925.
In 1777, there were 8 licensed distilleries in Edinburgh. The trend at the time was illegal distilleries! It’s estimated that there were over 400 illegal distilleries operating in 1777.
Rumour has it that one illicit still was found hidden in the stairwell of North Bridge, underneath the famous Scotsman Hotel.
In June 1784, a crowd descended on Canonmills Distillery, part of the Haig/Stein distilling dynasty. The intention was to seize grain and vegetables they believed were stored there. This is because Scotland was in the middle of vicious famine. During the famine, there was anger that distillers continued to produce spirit in such abundance during this hardship.
Two of the ringleaders for the first attack on Canonmills were sentenced to be whipped in public.
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