Home Blog How to Choose Your Whisky in Edinburgh

How to Choose Your Whisky in Edinburgh

No visit to Scotland would be complete without a wee dram of Scotland’s national drink. Whisky is, after all, Gaelic for ‘water of life’.

So now that Totally Tailored has welcomed you to the Scottish capital, it’s time for you to benefit from our days (and nights) spent sampling the best spots for the perfect dram. We have curated a list with the best spots in Edinburgh for whisky based on what you are looking for.

The Classic Choice:

The Scotch Whisky Experience

Where: 354 Castlehill, The Royal Mile, Edinburgh EH1 2NE
When: Seasonal,
check website

Situated in the shadow of Edinburgh Castle on the Royal Mile, this is the place where you truly experience Whisky.

Discover the origins of whisky, learn how whisky is made and take a barrel ride (yes, an actual ride) through the making process. A 180 degree cinema experience will take you through each region of Scotland with scratch and sniff leaflets to learn your whisky smells. Browse the world’s largest collection of Scotch whiskies in the vault and marvel at the sheer variety of whisky in front of you. With over 3,000 unopened bottles of whisky as part of the visitor experience and over 450 bottles each to choose from in the bars, you will find your perfect choice here.

Tour Guide Tip: Go for the platinum package. It’s worth it.

The Connoisseur’s Choice:

Whiski Rooms

Where: 4-7 N Bank Street, Edinburgh EH1 2LP
When: 10:00 – 00:00 everyday

The Whiski Rooms is a popular award-winning venue tucked away just off the Royal Mile on The Mound overlooking Princes Street.

Delicious food, whisky, beer, live music, a private dining area, daily tasting sessions and a shop with spectacular views – the Whiski Rooms has it all.

You can expect a cosy and subtle décor with exposed stone and an authentic Scottish theme throughout. This is a whisky connoisseur’s dream. With over 300 whiskies and various flights to choose from, the staff will ensure you find the right dram.

Each option on the food menu is matched with a suggested complimentary whisky. Haggis is a speciality here in various shapes and forms including haggis spring rolls. A Scottish take on an oriental dish – don’t knock it until you’ve tried it!

Tour Guide Tip: Try a whisky tasting event – cheese or chocolate, what is there not to like?

The Instagram Choice:

Devil’s Advocate

Where: 9 Advocate’s Close, Edinburgh EH1 1ND
When: 12:00 – 00:00 Sunday – Thursday 12:00 – 1:00 Friday – Saturday

The Devil’s Advocate is a popular and snug bar and restaurant tucked away down a cobbled alley in the heart of the Royal Mile in the Old Town. This bar made it on the shortlist of Imbibe’s Whisky Shortlist Drinks List of the Year in 2018 and was featured with some of the best bars across the UK, so you know we have found a gem here for you.

This bar really has it all. It’s cosy, bustling and friendly with an intimate, candle-lit restaurant upstairs specialising in traditional local cuisine with a medieval feel and a lively bar downstairs. There is an outside seating area where you can watch the world go by (weather permitting). It is famed for its vast array of whiskies, delicious food and whisky based cocktails.

The popular food menu is surpassed by their whisky menu, with over 400 whiskies to choose from. Try a whisky and cheese flight from different regions of Scotland.

Tour Guide Tip: This venue is set in a historic Victorian pump house.

The Tourist’s Choice:

Ensign Enwart

Where: 521-523 Lawnmarket The Royal Mile Edinburgh EH1 2PE
When: 12:00 – 00:00 Sunday – Thursday 12:00 – 1:00 Friday – Saturday

The Ensign Ewart is the nearest pub to Edinburgh Castle.

This cosy pub dates back to 1680 and offers everything a tourist would look for and enjoy. This is the closest pub to Edinburgh Castle and the highest pub in Edinburgh. You will find live folk music here most nights, good locally sourced pub food, real ales and a vast selection of whiskies.

The Ensign Ewart is named after Charles Ewart, who, single-handedly captured the standard of the famous French Invincibles at the Battle of Waterloo. You are likely to find a bagpiper here enjoying a drink after playing nearby at the Castle each night.

Tour Guide Tip: Ask for the malt of the month.

The Locals Choice:

Bow Bar

Where: 80 West Bow, Edinburgh EH1 2HH
When: 12:00 – 00:00 Monday – Sunday

The Bow Bar is an award-winning hidden gem in the Old Town just a stone’s throw from the Royal Mile and Grassmarket. It is rated as one of the best pubs in Edinburgh by locals.

Established in 1987, it has quickly become the go-to pub for whisky and real ale enthusiasts in Edinburgh. This quaint pub is a real haven for the connoisseur.

With over 400 whiskies to choose from, you are sure to find one to suit your palate.

You can expect a galley-style bar, a fire, wooden benches and small chairs surrounded by ornate mirrors.

With a range of well-kept real ales, a wide selection of whiskies and an unusual selection of hot pies with unique combinations such as pork and blue cheese and Moroccan lamb

Tour Guide Tip: Try and match a pie with a whisky – you’re sure to find some interesting combinations.

The Members Choice:

The Scotch Malt Whisky Society

Where: 28 Queen Street, Edinburgh EH2 1JX
When: 11:00 – 23:00 Tuesday – Wednesday, 11:00 – 00:00 Thursday – Saturday, 12:00 – 22:00 Sunday

The Scotch Malt Whisky Society is set in a sophisticated Georgian townhouse over 4 floors in the heart of the New Town. This venue won the title of Restaurant of The Year in the Hospitality Awards for 2017 – 2018, so you know we have found something special for you here.

The Kaleidoscope Whisky Bar and Restaurant is open to everyone with member’s venues situated on the upper floors. You can expect window settings offering spectacular views over the Firth of Forth, sumptuous leather sofas, chandeliers and elegant surroundings. The society bottle all the casks they own here, which sets it apart from any other whisky experience.

With over 200 rare malt whiskies to choose from, you are spoilt for choice here.

There is a shop where you can purchase gifts, whisky and memorabilia to remind you of what will be a memorable visit.

Tour Guide Tip: The whisky events are popular so book in advance to avoid disappointment.

The Secret Gem Choice:

Whisky & Tales

Where: 15-19 Jeffrey Street Edinburgh EH1 1DR
When: Summer Season: Daily: 15:00, 17:15 & 19:30; Winter Season: Daily: 17:15 / Fri – Mon: 19:30

Whisky & Tales is a whisky tasting combined with storytelling about the history of whisky. With a cosy atmosphere in a whisky lounge, you will sit down and relax as you discover more about Scotland’s famous drink and its cultural signficance.

The tasting consists of 4 whiskies from across the most popular whisky regions of Scotland-Lowlands, Highlands, Speyside and Islay. By the end of the storytelling experience, you are sure to have picked a favorite region.

Unlike other tastings, this experience is unique with its focus on telling an engaging story of Scotland’s whisky history in a way that seamlessly combines history with entertainment. Making it our secret gem on the list. Considered a cultural experience, you will leave with a new appreciation for whisky.

Tour Guide Tip: If you’re looking for somewhere with a heavy pour, this is your spot!

Fancy an expert guide with your whisky? Click here to contact us, and we’ll arrange just that!

Some of Our Marvelous Partners

Luxury Tours
Corporate Tours UK
Tourist Guides
Personalized Tours
Private Tours
Private London Tours