Recently, I took a full 2-day tour to Johnnie Walker Princes Street, where Johnnie Walker has just opened its doors in Edinburgh. Opening on one of Edinburgh's busiest streets and estimated to cost around £200 million, Johnnie Walker Princes Street is an 8-storey whiskey attraction with a different activity on each floor.
In this article, I would like to share with you briefly my notes about Johnnie Walker Princes Street and show you this wonderful center that I have visited with great pleasure as you read this article. If you're ready, let's start…
Disneyland of whiskey
At the beginning of my article, I described Johnnie Walker Princes Street as a “whiskey attraction”, but I think the word that best describes this place is “I think it's the 'Disneyland of whiskey'.
Let me even go a step further and say “Charlie's Chocolate Factory”. Think about the children who won the gold ticket when they entered the chocolate factory… This is a place where whiskey aficionados will experience the same feelings when they enter.
Johnnie Walker Princes Street is located in Princes Street, one of Edinburgh's most central notes, as the name suggests. In parallel with Princes Street, where many shops and restaurants are located, there is the Princes Street garden, which also includes Edinburgh castle. It is a wonderful garden where I always take my coffee and take a walk every time I go to Edinburgh.
Johnnie Walker Princes Street is immediately betrayed by the Johnnie Walker flag waving overhead at the end of the street.
A Different Activity on Each Floor
When you enter Johnnie Walker Princes Street, a huge store welcomes you. I can say that there is almost everything in the brand's portfolio, from all whiskeys to Princes Street special bottlings, from whiskey accessories to cocktail sets, from books to clothes, Johnnie Walker and whiskey in the store.
A little advice: Although it is difficult, I recommend you not to lose yourself too much in the store, because there are many activities to do before spending time in the store. It makes the most sense to save the store part for last.
There are 3 different activities you can attend on Johnnie Walker Princes Street. These;
- Johnnie Walker Journey of Flavor
- Whiskey Explorers at the Explorers' Bothy
- Whiskey Makers' Cellar
Before your visit, you need to buy tickets for the activity or activities you want to attend from the web pages. There are different time options for each activity. In addition to these activities, you can also make reservations for drinks or meals at the 1820 Rooftop Bar with its magnificent Edinburgh view and Explorers Bothy with special whiskeys.
Whiskey Explorers at the Explorers' Bothy
On my first day at Johnnie Walker Princes Street, where I toured for 2 days Whiskey Explorers at the Explorers' Bothy I participated in the activity. The activity, which costs £35, takes about 45 minutes. We tried 5 different whiskeys in the company of a whiskey expert during the activity held in a wonderful tasting room called Explorers Bothy on the top floor.
While tasting the Caol Ila 12, Clynelish 14, Cardhu 12, Port Dundas 2009 and Johnnie Walker Black Label expressions, different whiskey regions, characteristics and aromas of Scotland were explained. We talked about blended whiskeys and the harmony of different characters with the latest Johnnie Walker Black Label.
I highly recommend the Whiskey Explorers at the Explorers' Bothy activity, especially for the entry level. It will be an enjoyable tasting to understand the main differences between whiskeys.
at the end of the activity I would have loved to stay in the Explorers Bothy tasting room and try the whiskeys in the bar, but unfortunately I couldn't spend time here because there was a special tasting right after our session. Let's say on the next visit…
1820 Rooftop Bar
Located on the same floor after Whiskey Explorers at the Explorers' 1820 Rooftop BarI switched to. You can also enter here by making a reservation. I sat alone for about 2 hours at the 1820 Rooftop bar, which has a magnificent view of Edinburgh, and enjoyed the ambiance.
1820 Rooftop Bar has both a drink and a food menu. Although whiskey cocktails are at the forefront of the drink menu, there are also gin and rum cocktails. I should also mention that there are wine, beer, rum and soft drinks. I drank a cocktail called Sloe + Almond with a sweet-fresh character prepared with Johnnie Walker Blonde. It was pretty good…
I can say that the place I enjoyed the most about Johnnie Walker Princes Street was the 1820 Rooftop Bar. Since the 2 hours I spent on the first day were not enough, I stopped by again at the end of my second day. This time, I sipped my Clynelish Distillers Edition 2005.
You should definitely stop by the 1820 Rooftop Bar and sip your drink against the Edinburgh view!
Johnnie Walker Journey of Flavor
On my 2nd and last day at Johnnie Walker Princes Street, I participated in the Journey of Flavor activity. I can say that this activity, which has a participation fee of £25 and takes approximately 1.5 hours, is a visual feast. I must say that I found Whiskey Explorers at the Explorers' Bothy more successful in terms of experience and cost.
In the Journey of Flavor activity, they first take you to a room equipped with magnificent visuals, animations, music and light shows. Accompanied by a narrator, you are literally living the 200-year-old story of Johnnie Walker, which started in the town of Kilmarnock and spread all over the world. I'd be lying if I said I didn't get goosebumps here...
After this show Grocer's SensoriumYou're making the transition to what I call the "Highball room". There is a long table in this room and Highball stations around the table. There are glasses, garnish and whiskeys at the stations for you to prepare your Highball cocktail.
When I bought this activity ticket online, a small "Aroma Profile test" was sent to my e-mail. In this test, they asked some questions to reveal their taste. According to the result of the test, my profile was "Creamy". After the test, I did not understand what this test would do. That test works exactly in this room. Participants prepare Highball cocktails according to these profiles and then drink them with pleasure.
We take the highballs in our hands and move to a different room and a different visual feast begins. In this room, there are 4 different stands representing Scotland's whiskey regions Speyside, Highland, Lowland and Islay. Whiskey representing that region and elements describing the character of the whiskey are placed on each stand. For example, Lowland representative Glenkinchie featured flowers and herbs, while Highland representative Clynelish featured honey and tropical fruits.
For detailed information about the whiskey regions of Scotland you may take a look at my article. .
I can say that I found the explanation given here quite successful. Although I had listened to it endlessly before, it was very enjoyable to listen to the whiskey production and different parts of Scotland with great visuals and lights.
After the narration, we moved to another room, which was our last stop in Johnnie Walker Journey of Flavor. A very nice cocktail menu welcomed us in the room consisting of a huge bar. The menu is divided into 2 parts as Highball and Old Fashioned, and each participant can choose 2 cocktails. At the heart of all cocktails was the Johnnie Walker Black Label.
I used both of my choices for Old Fashioned, Creamy and Smoky. I really love Smoky Old Fashioned with Johnnie Walker Black Label, Lagavulin and star anise.
Unfortunately, I couldn't spare time on this visit to Whiskey Makers' Cellar, one of the 3 activities on Johnnie Walker Princes Street, but I definitely want to go on my next visit. At Whiskey Makers' Cellar, you descend into the cellars under Princes Street, where you have the chance to see and taste the specially matured casks. The activity, which has a participation fee of £95, takes approximately 1.5 hours.
Johnnie Walker Princes Street Shop
As I mentioned at the beginning of my article, as soon as you enter Johnnie Walker Princes Street, a wonderful store welcomes you. After completing all the activities at the end of my 2nd day, I was able to visit the store comfortably.
The store, which has many different product categories, also has sections that raise consumer awareness. For example, in the "Flavor Finder" section, you try to understand what kind of aromas you like by smelling different scent sets. According to your favorite scent, a whiskey expert will give you suggestions and direct you to the appropriate whiskeys.
One of the details that caught my attention at the Johnnie Walker Princes Street store is that they make special bottlings here. In this series, which they call "Seasonal Blends", seasonal blends are created and only that blend is sold in whatever season we are in. You can fill your bottle yourself from the barrels below.
Johnnie Walker Black Label with a special label design for Princes Street was also offered for sale in the store. This bottling, which has the same content as the standard Black Label, has become a complete collection whiskey.
Johnnie Walker Princes Street has become a place where not only those who are interested in whiskey culture, but also those who are new to the whiskey culture or even those who have nothing to do with whiskey can enjoy. Even if you are not interested in whiskey, I am sure it will be after a little tour…
I have no doubt that this “Disneyland of Whiskey”, which allows you to discover the Johnnie Walker brand and whiskey culture, which has an important place in the whiskey world with its rich history of more than 200 years, will be one of the most frequent places for whiskey enthusiasts.
Johnnie Walker Princes Street is a place that I will probably stop by every time I go to Edinburgh, even if I don't attend the activities, I can spend time in the store or at the 1820 Rooftop. I'm already looking forward to my next trip...
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