A Sipping Tour of Scotland - The Lowlands Continued

13-02-2017 By Whisky of the Week

Last time, as part of our virtual whisky sipping tour, we visited Glasgow, the Auchentoshan Distillery and crossed the Highway Line for a quick visit to Glengoyne. This week we explore more of the Scottish Lowland and we start off driving from Glasgow to Edinburgh. It is about an hour and a half drive to Edinburgh, but we’ll take a small detour to Stirling along the way. Stirling is famous for the Battle of Bannockburn, which saw Robert the Bruce defeat the English invaders in 1314. It is also the spot where the legendary William Wallace secured Scottish Independence in the Battle of Stirling Bridge. At the Wallace Monument, there is an impressive 246 step tower with incredible views of the area. There is also the Stirling Castle built on top of a 250 ft high volcanic crag… And there you have a bit of Scottish history in between the whisky tastings!

Edinburgh, the capital of Scotland, is a beautiful and charming city featuring the imposing Edinburgh Castle on the hill, old buildings, monuments and medieval churches. The old town of Edinburgh has preserved much of the medieval street plan and forms part of a protected UNESCO World Heritage site so it’s an amazing city to spend a few days exploring. Strolling around Edinburgh, you might find a small monument commemorating the birthplace of a well know Scottish writer and one of my favorites - Sir Arthur Conan Doyle. Close to the writer’s birthplace, an oversized statue of his most famous character, Sherlock Holmes, has been erected.

Sherlock Holmes Statue in Edinburgh

But we are here to taste whisky, so onwards to another Lowland Distillery. On the way to Dunbar lies the Glenkinhcie Distillery in the middle of the East Lothian farmlands. This means that raw materials are never a problem. Glenkinchie lies in the glen of the Kinchie Burn near the village of Pencaitland. Founded in 1825 by the brothers Rate, the distillery changed hands a few times and is now part of the Diageo Portfolio.

Glenkinchie Distillery

The Glenkinchie range includes a 12 Year Old and a Distiller’s Edition. Let’s taste the Glenkinchie12 Year Old as a fairly typical Lowland whisky. It is fresh and light in character, with notes of lemon and cut grass. There are notes of malt, wisps of autumn smoke, fresh fruits, sun baked fields, young wood and barley. It has a warming, dry finish with a smoky spiciness. A relaxing afternoon spent at the Glenkinchie Distillery visitor’s centre ends with a drive back to bustling Edinburgh. Before we head out for an evening tour of the haunted Edinburgh historical sites, lets explore 2 of the whisky bars Edinburgh is famous for.

The Scotch Whisky Experience is a five star visitor attraction at the top of Edinburgh's Royal Mile which has been inspiring visitors to Edinburgh about the joys of Scotch whisky for over 25 years. It’s not a distillery, but a visitor’s experience which showcases all the facets of Scotch whisky from history and heritage, to production, blending and the tasting of whisky.

The Scotch Malt Whisky Society is a club unlike any other. As well as being a place to connect with other like-minded whisky lovers, here members can enjoy a journey and discovery the world's biggest collection of single cask whiskies. It’s the perfect place to experience some unconventional whiskies and to gather some Dutch courage for the haunted tour!

Early morning at the Edinburgh station, we hop onto a train to take us along the coast, up to Aberdeen and onwards to Inverness. We will stop along the way and visit a few Highland Distilleries before entering the Speyside region.

The gentle rhythm of the train always lulls me into a relaxed state of mind. The swaying motion and mechanical noise is soothing and I can easily fall asleep. The train is slowly crossing from the Lowlands over into the Scottish Highlands. From here, we are going to explore more Highland Distilleries. But that is for next time.