A whisky lover's guide to Edinburgh

When you think about Scotch whisky, you might think of distilleries in remote corners of the country such as Mull, Skye or Orkney. But the distinct smell of malt hangs heavy in the capital of Scotland, the perfect base for any whisky lover. From the Holyrood Distillery to the North British Grain Distillery in the Dalry area of the town, the drink is still very much in the DNA of the city.

The Holyrood Distillery

Situated a stone’s throw from all University of Edinburgh Hospitality and Events Collection hotels, sits Edinburgh’s newest distillery. Opened in July 2019, after 100 years without a single malt distillery, The Holyrood Distillery is putting Edinburgh firmly back on the Scotch whisky map.

The distillery tour is a fantastic hands-on sensory experience designed to educate guests on the distinct flavours and processes that go in to creating the ‘water of life’. With a five-star rating on Tripadvisor, this distillery is a must-visit for any whisky connoisseur. As well as the tour, make sure to swing past the shop and pick up a bottle as a tasty souvenir.

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The Scottish Whisky Experience

This five-star tourist attraction opened over 30 years ago and is as popular as ever for those wanting to find out more about Scotch whisky. Located at the top of the Royal Mile, next to Edinburgh Castle, this is a must for anyone with an interest in whisky. They provide a history of Scotch whisky (which includes a ride in a barrel!) as well as whisky tastings and masterclasses. With the largest collection of Scotch whisky in the world (3,384 bottles) you can visit the room where they are all kept on display, an impressive spectacle. Once you have taken a tour, you can relax in the Amber restaurant and bar, perhaps with a Scotch or two!

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The Scotch Malt Whisky Society

The Scotch Malt Whisky Society is an international members club that bottles the world’s widest selection of rare and unique single cask, single malts for whisky lovers around the globe. Started in Edinburgh in 1983, there are now over 26,000 worldwide members. With two prestigious venues in Edinburgh, open to members and non-members, the Society also has a presence in places as far flung as New Zealand, China and USA. Members are able to buy unique, one-off bottles of whisky distilled especially for them (from as low as around £45). The Kaleidoscope Whisky Bar and Shop (as well as the Dining Room Restaurant) are open to the public and we would recommend paying a visit to try out their wide range of whiskies. They have Members’ Exclusive Lounges on the top floors of the building for those who are really dedicated to their whisky.

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The Johnnie Walker Experience

Located on Princes Street, with eight floors dedicated to the iconic whisky brand, this fabulous destination opened in late 2021. Offering an alternative to the whisky distillery tour, you can choose from the immersive ‘Journey of Flavour’, exploring the history of the famous whisky along with its range of flavours; ‘Whisky Explorers’, in which you will be guided through single malts from across Scotland; ‘Whisky Makers’ Cellar’, where you will gain access to the private cask area which culminates in a tasting experience straight from the cask. There is also a rooftop bar with spectacular views of Edinburgh Castle and a huge shop on the ground floor full of exclusive Johnnie Walker Scotch whiskies and merchandise.

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And relax

After sampling all that whisky, you will need somewhere to put your feet up (and pour yourself a dram from that bottle you picked up)! KM Hotel & Apartments is our city centre accommodation that boasts modern and stylish rooms, perfect for relaxing after a day of sampling whisky. With Princes Street, the Royal Mile and the Scotch Whisky Experience a short walk away, and the Holyrood Distillery even closer, our hotel is in the perfect location for reaching the whisky hotspots.

Alternatively, a stone’s throw from the Holyrood Distillery sits The Scholar and The Scott. Located in peaceful landscaped grounds adjoining Holyrood Park (the home of Arthur’s Seat), it is in an ideal location for anyone with an interest in whisky. For other non-whisky related activities, the Royal Mile at the city centre is only a 20-minute walk and well connected to the rest of the city via regular buses.

As you can see, Edinburgh is certainly geared up for any whisky enthusiast and along with our great-value accommodation in great locations, what are you waiting for?