Creaking hinges, slowly opening doors and the mystery unfolds
This review is especially helpful for those who have or use the following: Wheelchair, Powerchair
Having something of a passion for the story telling around Scotland's whisky heritage I thought it was time to revisit an old favourite nestling under the shadow of Edinburgh's mighty castle. Impressed the first time I visited, this time around and given all the covid precautions, it still enchanted, delighted and "blew my socks off" to wheel into the magical Claive Vidiz Whisky Collection.
Transport & Parking
I arrived having walked up from the Lawnmarket and the nearby bus stops. Nestled as it is below the castle and on the Royal Mile there isn't much scope for close proximity parking. That said vehicles can drop off at the door so an accessible taxi is an option. Maybe getting off one of the tour buses in the Lawnmarket would also work for some people.
Arriving I wheeled through the handily automatic doors and headed along the illuminated corridor to the welcome desk. A sense of anticipation commenced as you weren't too sure what to expect. A cheery greeting, collection of tickets and our adventure began. The "barrel ride" made me think of something from Alton Towers and horrific rides. Rest assured it wasn't anything like that! More akin to the graceful swans on the boating lake. We boarded our barrel, which had an access platform and companion seat, and glided gently through an array of colourful scenes which set out the story of whisky production. Well informed we moved on to what I'll call the cinema with a film and guided story. The images were projected onto what felt like three sides of the room and were very immersive. If you experience sea sickness then brace yourself as it did feel like you were moving along with the landscapes! On into the blender room, a touch of Victoriana and sense of going back in time. The holographic whisky bottles and the old man appearing ghost like in the picture on the wall to tell the story were a big hit. A chance to choose a dram from one of the regions we'd heard about when using the sensory cards earlier. One small, observation was the colours on the table surfaces weren't too clear and it was hard to see which was which ... Next was simply my favourite piece .... as if by magic a door appears in the wooden panelling of the room. It has a safe like look about with an enormous rotary handle. Lots of clunking sounds and squeaks as the door opens very slowly to reveal a few bottles on shelves in the distance. I wheeled in, although I knew what was coming, I still got an enormous sense of excitement as turning the corner here I was faced with the full array of the collection's near on 4,000 bottles! Time to explore, to photograph, to discuss, to ask questions, and to simply enjoy. Then on to the bar for the tasting!
Since my last visit an additional accessible loo has been added on the lower floor. It is fabulous; with beautiful fittings, plenty of space, and I could turn completely around with my powerchair!
Our guide was superb. Took time to make sure I was comfortably positioned in each area and could see everything. Other members of staff, especially the team loading me on the barrel, were fabulous as they explained each manoeuvre and what would happen so I didn't have any surprises and felt in good hands. Well done team!