In fact it’s not even that. It’s a very incomplete guide to the whisky inside some of its pubs. So if you were looking for a who’s who 2019 of Edinburgh’s pubs, maybe buy a guide. or probably use TripAdvisor as your 21st century alternative.
I am not going to bore you with a Lonely Planet style speil of the history of Edinburgh. Sorry about that. I’m going to tell you about some of my favourite Edinburgh bars and why I like them, what makes them unique and more importantly why you should have a dram or two in them.
The Albanach is up on the Royal Mile and boasts one of the biggest if not the biggest selection of Ardbegs in the Old Town, not to mention one of the biggest whisky selections too. It’s owned by Belhaven brewery who from what I can see have got a near monopoly on the pubs in the Old Town. So if you fancy eating off the same menu in a slightly different location every day of your stay; the Royal Mile is your best bet.
Anyway after a ‘Balmoral Burger’ (I can’t help it I’m a total tourist if its got haggis in it on it or near it it’s getting eaten), what can you look forward to whisky-wise? You’ve got your Auchentoshan 12 and Jura 10 for about 4 quid a dram, all the way up to the 1954 Mortlach; a snip at 5p short of £90. I’m not going to sugar coat it this is one of those bars that caters more for the tourists. Of course it will it’s on the Royal Mile its tourist central. And I have to commend how most of the bar staff can speak at least 3 different languages with quite some proficiency and still manage to recommend you a decent dram to suit your palate. If you want one to suit your palate. Oftentimes I’ve seen many tourists come in order one they like the name of; pay £25 plus for the privilege and then shot it in one. I pass no judgement, it’s how they like to drink their whisky its fine. No, it’s fine. Honest. I’m calm. totally calm. Yep. No judgement. Calm. Can we go to the next pub now, please?
Off to Leith! Where there was distinct lack of sunshine from the Chief (niche Proclaimers reference in a whisky blog, got to be a first surely?).
Teuchters Landing sits on the quayside just up from The Royal Yacht Britannia and I’ll bet it’s great in the summer. We were there on a wet Tuesday in March but still enjoyed ourselves.
If you don’t like fish, I apologise but that food was amazing! But why was I here for whisky?
Teuchters Landing has got the best game of fairground hoop-la you will ever play. For £4.40 you get given 3 hoops and a clear view of the bar. Whatever bottle your hoop loops around you get a dram out of. Surely there’s no greater bar game than that?
I only found this pub on our latest trip up north. Walked passed it every time we’ve been up there and it’s always just faded into the background. It’s another Royal Mile resident. It’s a lot smaller and more cosy than the last two and has full table service to make you feel all special inside. The bar staff here were amazing. When I walked in my eyes were drawn to that “rarer than rocking horse sh*t” (that’s a quote from the distillery by the way) Daftmill 2006 Winter Release glaring at me from behind the bar. The barman saw me clocking the whisky and immediately struck up conversation on what I like and don’t like; letting me have a good sniff of a few bottles to make my mind up.
My first whisky I picked was actually from a long closed distillery and it drew me in because of its price (Review incoming). It was a 20 year old whisky from a distillery that has been closed for 20 years, demolished in 2013 so its been rubble for 6 of those; and it was £8.50. This is on the Royal Mile. Edinburgh. Very rich tourists with lots of money everywhere. All year round. This is a £50 dram all week long. So I had to ask the barman. Turns out the Landlord is a fantastic human being. He stocks what he calls “break-even bottles” which are rarer more exclusive bottlings that he only sells at a price that will pay off what he paid for the bottle and not a penny more. I was totally amazed by this practice but what a brilliant idea. It gives people who are passionate about whisky but can’t afford the footballer’s prices access to usually inaccessible drams. Totally applaud them for that.
3 very different pubs for 3 very different whisky experiences.
All photos and views are my own.
For Drinkers. For Thinkers. For Fun.