FOOI & IRINK
Like whisky? Want to know more about it but can’t face heading to the midgie- infested far north to try a distillery tour? Try Edinburgh's SCOTCH WHISKY HERITAGE CENTRE.
Words: Jonathan Trew
Have you ever notrced that the longer you lrve rn any one place, the less lrkely you are to pay any attentron to what's on your doorstep? I was dragged to Edinburgh Castle twrce rn my youth, yet haven't been once since I started Irvrng in Edinburgh ten years ago. On a simrlar note, desprte an overly keen rnterest rn Scotland’s contrrbutron to the wonderful world of sprrrts, I had, untrl recently, never set foot rnsrde the Scotch Whisky Heritage Centre at the top of the Royal Mile.
It’s a currous place in that rt's a lot brgger than rt actually looks from the Outside. The two floors vrsrble from the street hrde multrple levels that hold
The range of whiskies is
mesmerising as it sweeps from the common or garden blends which can be found at any supermarket to the giddy heights of esoteric malts which have been tucked away in warehouses for generations.
different presentation areas, a reproduction of a typical Edinburgh close, a barrel ride through Scotch whisky history and recent addrtrons in the form of a tasting bar and restaurant.
The newly opened bar and restaurant are the feathers in the cap that celebrate the Centre’s tenth anniversary. Set up in 1988, the Centre
came about after all the drfferent whisky drstrllers chrpped in and c0ughed up the necessary funds to convert the former school rnto a purpose btirlt faCrlrty to promote the enroyment of Scotland's national drrnk
So far, rt seems to have been phenomenally successful Over 1 ZS mrllron vrsrtors have passed through the doors and between them they've b0ught a whopping £7 5 mrllion worth of whisky.
Much lrke the BBC, part of the Centre's remrt is to inform, educate and entertain the ever thrrsty publrc about the marvels of Scotch whisky To thrs end, the tour takes vrsrtors
through a short frlm about whrsky production before
movrng on to an exhrbrtron of the whrsky regions, a chance to nose the Spirit at different stages of production and a rather natty scale model of a working distillery The next stage of the tour rntroduces vrsrtors to a rather affable and ghostly blender who talks hrs guests through the alchemy of blending. A somewhat stard barrel ride through whisky's role in Scottrsh history
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A taste of Scotland in the bar
completes the tour Veterans of numerous distillery tours won't garn any startling new insights rnto the drstrller's craft but as an ouemew of the whisky industry then the tour rs well thought out and swell presented Having learned the theory behind the sprrrt rt's time to head downstairs and match tastebuds to the real thing Anyone who appreciates the inherent beauty in a well—stocked pub should be able to pass more than a couple of
FOOD & DRINK
enrovable hours in the Centre's tasting bar They have over 160 different brands of Scotch on sale The range is mesmerrsing as rt sweeps from the common or garden blends whrch can be found at any supermarket to the lirddy herghts of esoteric malts tucked away rn warehouses for generatrons‘ Even the most dre-hard whisky buff rs sure to come across somethrng that they’ve never seen before
Hayrno stimulated the appetrte with tile or tw- well chosen drams it would seem a shame not to rnvestrgate the self servrce restaurant Run by the same peoplt who operate Merchants under the George W bridge, the restaurant naturally boasts a Scottish twrst, both rn the drshes prepared and the Scottrsh produce used to create them Angus beef, Scottish salmon and baggrs a|| fly the flag
All in all, rt's worth spendrng a Iersurely afternoon at the Scotch Whrsky Herrtage Centre It's one of those rntrrgurng little diversions that you might othenvrse overlook because rt's rrght under your nose Who knows, alter a vrsrt you may even be rnsprred enough to give the castle a shot
The Scotch Whisky Heritage Centre, 354 Castlehill, The Royal Mile, Edinburgh, 220 6288.
The first Russian Vodka Bar \Scotland
8: Cafe irj‘
Authentic Russian Food, Vodkas 8: Music
o5 HENDERSON ST., LEITH, EDINBURGH TELEPHONE: Ol3l 4o7 7053
28 Jun —9 Jul 1998 THE LIST 101