While Scotch whisky tourism may not sound too appealing to locals, an experience filled with theatrical performances, breaking all the whisky-drinking rules, learning the distilling process and trying some flavoured highballs or a wee dram for yourself will even leave Edinburghers themselves entertained. The Journey of Flavour Experience at Johnnie Walker Princes Street offers just that, where locals and visitors alike can immerse themselves in an opulent whisky adventure.
Johnnie Walker Princes Street is a flagship establishment located in the heart of Edinburgh’s New Town and is Diageo’s £185 million investment in Scotch whisky tourism. Inside, guests can discover more than 800 flavour combinations, immersive tours and amazing views over the Edinburgh skyline in its rooftop bar. Basically, one person could visit the place every day for more than two years straight and not have the same experience twice.
Journey of Flavour experience
Secret Edinburgh got the chance to visit Johnnie Walker Princes Street and embark on the Journey of Flavour. As soon as you walk in, you’re met with the extravagant décor that screams opulence in the style of Johnnie Walker. Guests are then asked to fill out a quick quiz to determine their flavour preferences, such as tropical, fruity, spicy or creamy to pair with the right cocktails during the tour.
The tour host then leads whisky enthusiasts through the tour, explaining the history behind the Jonnie Walker brand, and the distilling process, accompanied by an actor who also tells the full tale of where it all began. Expect special effects such as excellent sound systems in each room, cleverly staged moving theatre props and, of course, plenty of light effects.
During the 90-minute tour, visitors will get to try three drinks of their choice in the form of a highball, an old-fashioned or just a dram. After the experience, everyone receives a 10% discount in the shop, as well as in the scenic 1820 rooftop bar.
1820 rooftop bar
The 1820 rooftop bar can be found on top of Johnnie Walker Princes Street, overlooking Edinburgh castle with 180 views towards the water as well. On top of the stunning vistas, guests can indulge in unique cocktails and small bites, with a friendly yet unintrusive service.
The cocktail menu can appear a little confusing at first, with plenty of options with flavours one might have never heard of. However, we were advised to just go with the name of the concoction to determine what would best suit our preferences. Our personal favourite was the Peach + Thyme with Johnnie Walker Gold Label, Farigoule thyme liqueur, double peach and fresh lemon juice with a satisfying balance between sweet and sour.
Overall, the 1820 rooftop bar is one of the best spots in central Edinburgh for a drink, especially on a sunny day.
Recently, Johnnie Walker Princes Street has introduced a Michelin Star experience, STIR, created by Two-Muchelin Star Chef James Close and Head of Pastry, Maria Close owners of the well-known global experience restaurant, Raby Hunt. During the STIR experience, visitors will try a uniquely curated menu of small-bite plates, served with cocktails imagined by Johnnie Walker Princes Street Head Bartender, Miran Chauhan.
What is more, a special tasting is also being held to mark Father’s Day on Sunday, June 18 where you can treat your father figure to a selection of artisan cheeses and four whiskies, including Johnnie Walker Blue Label. The experience also offers an exploration of three exclusive blended Scotch Whiskies not available anywhere else in the world, each hand-picked and created using whiskies only available in the venue’s Whisky Makers’ Cellar.
If this sounds like a bit of you, you can find all the available experiences on Johnnie Walker’s website.