Apprentices’ Choice!

Now that the festival is over, you can feel the city of Edinburgh take a deep breath and start to wind down and become a little more peaceful. That is until Christmas and Hogmanay arrive! Here at the Scotch Whisky Experience, three members of the team (Ian, John and Stuart) will be finishing their “Visitor Experience Management Apprenticeship Scheme”, which aims to give all three of them hands-on experience of the business operations from a managerial perspective. To help celebrate their completion, we asked them to pick out their favourite drams for September’s “whiskies of the month” and share the stories behind their choices

Lowlands – Bladnoch 15

Bladnoch 15 Years

Ian: “This is one of my favourite Lowland Single Malts for a few reasons, but the main reason I love this Bladnoch is because of the memory that’s attached to it. A couple of years ago, the SWE team were incredibly fortunate to take part in a “Meet the Blenders” event where we got to talk to Master Blenders from the whisk(e)y industry. This included Scotch whisky blenders and experts such as Richard Paterson from Whyte and Mackay, Dr. Bill Lumsden from Glenmorangie, Caroline Martin from Diageo, and many more! One of these Master Blenders was Ian MacMillan who brought some Bladnoch 15 for us all to try which he had been involved in making. This Lowland Single Malt is fully matured in Oloroso Sherry casks, so it’s rich, spicy, fruity, and has lots of tannin. More importantly, every time I drink it, I’m reminded of that amazing evening!”

Highlands – Old Pulteney 15

Old Pulteney 15 Years

John: “Anyone who has worked with me knows of my love for this beautiful Highland distillery located in the old fishing town of Wick. I used to live near the town of Wick in a wee village called Helmsdale and this whisky conjures up my memory of fish and chips by the harbour. The 15-year-old expression represents a fantastic balance of the salty maritime character Old Pulteney is famous for and the exceptional subtle sweetness that makes its way slowly into your palate.”

Campbeltown – Glen Scotia Victoriana

Glen Scotia Victoriana

Stuart: “I am a big fan of this whisky from Campeltown! Going back to the Victorian era of whisky making, the Glen Scotia Victoriana has a gentle hint of smoke, but a lot of depth, flavour, and character. Coming in at over 50% abv, this whisky does do very well with one or two drops of water. When you open up the whisky, this is one of the best combinations of sweet, smooth, and smoky that I have come across.”

Speyside – The Singleton of Dufftown 18

The Singleton of Dufftown 18 Years

John: “The Singleton of Dufftown distillery is in Speyside, an area that is rife with a history of producing very high-quality whisky and it definitely shows in this final product. This is a beautiful whisky with tones of raspberry jam and an extremely smooth sweetness that’s perfect after the stress and busyness of the festival. More importantly, I’m very Scottish so I can appreciate a good bargain. At £5 a dram this won’t break the bank but will give you a truly high quality and beautiful spirit!” 

Islay – Kilchoman Sanaig

Kilchoman Sanaig

Stuart:Kilchoman Sanaig is a very interesting whisky! A lot of sherry cask maturation has gone into its maturation, which gives it a lot of rich sweetness which you would expect. However, the intensity of the Islay smoke goes really well with this sweetness. When I was introduced to this whisky, it was described as tasting like “barbequed meat”, and I cannot describe it any better myself!” 

Blend – Cutty Sark Storm

Cutty Sark Storm

John: “Cutty Sark is named after the legendary Tea Clipper that was one of the fastest ships of its day and it quickly sped its way to being one of my favourite blends! Blends at times tend to be overlooked but this is one I cannot recommend enough. If you love a smoky Islay Single Malt, then I would recommend this for a different style of smoke. The smoothness of a blend with a gentle rise of smoke towards the end. The perfect companion after a long day.”

Liqueur – Glayva


Stuart: “I love aniseed, and this liqueur is so full of that aroma and flavour! Not only that, but it is full of herbaceous sweetness as well. If you’re not a whisky convert yet or would like to change up your drink-of-the-moment, a liqueur like Glayva is a great way to go! Adding a cube of ice or two will make this a lovely after dinner drink as well!”

Luxury – Glenrothes 25

The Glenrothes 25 Years

Ian: “The Glenrothes range had a major revamp last year and released the “Soleo Collection” of which includes this expression. I really enjoy the entire range but if I’m ever in the mood to treat myself, I’ll buy a dram of this stuff! It’s fully matured in sherry seasoned casks, so it has aromas of both dried and tropical fruits, salted caramel, alongside lots of oak and herby, floral notes!”

Our three fantastic apprentices! (Ian, John, Stuart)

As always, these whiskies are all available at the end of your tour at the McIntyre bar, or at the Amber bar as well.

Slàinte Mhath!

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