With some of the top whisky distilleries in Scotland located in and around Edinburgh, it’s not surprising that the beloved spirit is in the very lifeblood of the Scottish capital. The city is a top destination for Scotch lovers from around the world, who are eager to experience something of the country’s rich whisky heritage.
This renowned alcoholic spirit has been distilled in Scotland since the 1400s after being introduced from Ireland. Production boomed over the following centuries, and after a dip in fortunes for several decades, the 1970s saw renewed popularity, leading to overproduction. After reducing production for a decade, Scottish distilleries began increasing their output, leading to a new growth phase in the 2010s. Find the top whisky distilleries in Edinburgh with our guide.
Must-visit Whisky Distilleries in Edinburgh
With so many whisky distilleries in Scotland in and around Edinburgh, it’s not easy to know which to include in your itinerary. To start you off, here’s our pick of the top three.
1. The Scotch Whisky Experience
The Scotch Whisky Experience on the Royal Mile isn’t so much a distillery as it is an immersive journey through the fascinating world of aqua vitae, the ‘water of life.’ Created by Scotland’s whisky industry more than 30 years ago, the company will teach you about the history of the spirit, showcase whiskies produced in Scotland and leave you with lasting memories. The Experience represents 90% of the Scottish whisky industry. You can choose from tour options for your visit.
354 Castlehill, The Royal Mile, Edinburgh, EH1 2NE.
2. Glenkinchie Distillery
Glenkinchie Distillery has earned the title “The Edinburgh Malt”, and there’s good reason! As a Lowland distillery, Glenkinchie lies in the farming country of East Lothian, where barley is fed by the water softly flowing from the surrounding hills – if you’re looking for rich, smooth flavours, this one’s for you. If that’s not enough, Glinkinchie also serves as one of the Four Corners of Scotland distilleries for Johnnie Walker, so you know you’ll be in good hands as you take in all of the flagrant flavours, serene atmospheres, and a few of the tasty sharing platters in their stunning garden area.
Glenkinchie Distillery. Pencaitland, Tranent, East Lothian, EH34 5ET, UK
3. Holyrood Distillery
A stunning whisky and gin distillery, Holyrood Distillery was established in 2019 making it one of the newest distilleries you can visit during your trip. The team pride themselves on bringing an innovative approach to distilling, taking inspiration from Edinburgh’s rich brewing history to provide a new take on all the classics. Want something a little different to your usual distillery? This is the place to come. Try the New Make spirit and you’ll be able to enjoy different ingredients that aren’t commonly used in your traditional distilling methods giving you a truly unique experience.
Holyrood Distillery, 19 St Leonard's Lane, Edinburgh. EH8 9SH