There are some places you choose to visit because it’s the road less traveled. Edinburgh was one of those places for me. Bagpipes. Haggis. Golf. Scotch. Braveheart. Kilts. Lochness monster. Uhhh… Evidently, my knowledge of Scotland and Edinburgh in particular was fairly non-existent prior to my trip there. But I just figured, hey, I like scotch, I’m going to go to Scotland.
So I did.
Despite not knowing much, I found out quite quickly that Edinburgh has the beauty of being a very walk-able city. I didn’t take public transportation the entire time I was there and staying near Greenside Place which was close to the main attractions including Calton Hill, Edinburgh Castle and George and Princes Street helped tremendously.
It started off quite miserable and grey when I arrived but after a nice, warm meal of haggis stuffed chicken, which was surprisingly good, my mood lightened considerably. For those of you who don’t know what haggis is, it’s a mix of sheep heart, liver and lung mixed with onions and spices which doesn’t sound all too appetizing I’m sure but as they say, no guts, no glory heehee. The bar manager also suggested that I try the Bunnahabhain whisky if I liked mine peaty and I was hooked. It ended up being my go-to scotch the entire trip and I ended up purchasing the Bunnahabhain Darach Ur on my way back (yes, yes, the one that almost got confiscated at the Cairo Airport).
Since this trip was obviously a whisky trip, I asked around as much as possible and pared down the places that would allow me to indulge.
The Captain’s Bar
4 S College Street
EH8 9AA, United Kingdom
I ended up at the Captain’s Bar after a quick dinner across the street. My colleague and I were the only locals there and the place is apparently well known for being just a regular spot for the locals and uni students. The greatest thing about this place, aside from my being the only other woman there aside from the woman who worked the bar, is the music. If you look at the video below, you will see a group of gentlemen singing, randomly, completely unplanned and out of the blue. Amazing.
The Bow Bar
80 W Bow, Edinburgh, Midlothian
EH1 2HH, United Kingdom
The Bow Bar was one of those other local places that most of the wait staff recommended. It has the most amazing selection and my colleague and I ended up indulging in five drams each. I was able to try the Bruichladdich Black Arts, The Maltman (Bunnahabhain) in sherry cask, Kilchoman, and the 33 year old Cadenheads which is older than me! Not the most pleasing in terms of interior decor but a great place for whisky fans to kick back and enjoy the good stuff.
Scotch Whisky Heritage Centre
354 Castlehill, Edinburgh
EH1 2NE, United Kingdom
I walked past the Scotch Whisky Heritage Centre after spending the afternoon at Edinburgh Castle. After much deliberation I decided to go on the £27.00 Platinum Tour which offered up three different types of whisky to compare and access to the largest whisky collection in the world (sadly only to see, not drink). Well worth the money although it starts off a little kitschy with the barrel rides and I think great for beginners as it will teach you about the process. Always more fun when you know what’s going on!
My last morning is Edinburgh I lucked out with the amazing clear blue skies and crisp spring weather which made the walk up Calton Hill worth the early morning. It was a great way to end my quick trip. Scotland, I think I left a piece of my heart and a lot of my liver with you. Next time I’m in the region, I’ll definitely give the highlands a whirl.