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A celebration of the water of life

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Replica Distillery
Diageo Claive Vidiz Collection
Tasting Sessions
Though there are different types of whisky made all over the world, Scotch Whisky is, by definition, made in Scotland! It is an alcoholic drink made primarily from peaty scottish water and malted barley. For many Scots, whisky is in their blood. It was first made around 500 years ago, but its true origins have long since been lost in the mists of time. Production gradually increased until distilleries were springing up all over the place. The drink became a key part of the country's culture and traditions. It's sometimes referred to as "the water of life".
The Scotch Whisky Experience is a shrine to the fiery amber liquid. Inside is a painstakingly constructed replica of an entire distillery. Each stage of the process is explained, from the carefully-selected original ingredients to the slowly matured final product.
The best place to see the resulting bottles is inside the Diageo Claive Vidiz Collection. There are nearly 3,500 different types, making this the largest hoard of whisky on the planet.
If this has made your mouth begin to water, you can book a tasting session. The knowledgeable staff will introduce you to drinks from each of the country's four main whisky producing areas - the Lowlands, Highlands, Speyside and Islay. They'll explain their subtle differences that many people miss at first. After this you'll learn about the five different ways to enjoy a glass of Scotland's favourite drink. To become an expert, you need to appreciate the colour, body, nose, palate and finish. Some people have such finely tuned senses that they can even identify what kind of wood the whisky's barrel was made from!
With such a wide variation in tastes and types, it can be difficult to tell which bottles you'll love, and which you won't. In the "Sense of Scotland" room, the museum's staff will help you match each malt's distinct qualities to your personal palate.
After you've picked a drink, you can go and enjoy it at the on-site bar. This is attached to the "Amber Restaurant", which serves up traditional Scottish food made from local ingredients. If you'd prefer to take your whisky home, you can make a purchase at the shop. It stocks 300 different varieties from all over the country. Its directory and price list is so large that it takes up an entire wall!
Visitor Information
The Scotch Whisky Experience is open daily from 10am to 6pm (6:30pm in Summer). Entry costs vary considerably according to tour choice (not all tours suitable for children). 354 Castlehill, The Royal Mile, Edinburgh EH1 2NE. Tel: 0131 220 0441

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