Whisky Magazine Issue 16
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Mrcin Miller explores Edinburgh's five star attraction that seeks to increase awareness of Scotlanad's whisky heritage
The vast majority of tourists who come to Scotland don't travel any further north than Edinburgh and, therefore, don't make it to the distillery visitor centres that are found in the rest of the country. To cater for those unadventurous types who don't head further north, The Scotch Whisky Heritage Centre was born – intended to complement the distillery centres elsewhere in Scotland.
Perfectly located for tourists at the top of the Royal Mile, in an old Victorian school and only yards from the entrance to Edinburgh Castle, is the Scotch Whisky Heritage Centre. Opened in 1988, the centre is co-owned by 19 distillers whose avowed joint mission it is to promote the enjoyment of Scotch whisky to a worldwide audience. The Centre is part of an exclusive club with Edinburgh Castle, The Royal Yacht Brittania and the National Museum – they're the only Scottish Tourist Board five star attractions in the city. Last year the centre welcomed 189,000 visitors. In a year when Scottish tourism suffered, this increase on last year's figures suggests that they are doing something right.
Alastair McIntosh, as the founder and Managing Director of The Scotch Whisky Heritage Centre, already had 23 years of experience in the whisky industry before embarking on this project, including directorships at William Muir, The Edrington Group and JBB (or Whyte & Mackay as it was then). Susan Morrison was one of the very first recruits to the new centre and came direct from university (having studied...