First Minister Alex Salmond today (1 May 2009) opened the £3m newly refurbished Scotch Whisky Experience in Edinburgh, as he welcomed home the World's Largest Collection of Scotch Whiskies in celebration of Whisky Month.
Following a major facelift, the five-star visitor attraction on the Royal Mile now includes a state of the art barrel ride, sensory rooms, private whisky tasting rooms, a superb new area with panoramic views over the city and, as the highlight of the tour, the Diageo Claive Vidiz Scotch Whisky Collection.
In opening the newly refurbished Scotch Whisky Experience, the First Minister experienced the new tour which aims to blow away the myths and stereotypes surrounding Scotland's national drink, before he signed a commemorative whisky which was bottled to mark the opening of the visitor attraction twenty one years ago. The 3,384 bottles in the Diageo Claive Vidiz Whisky Collection form the climax of the tour.
First Minister Alex Salmond said:
"Whisky is a truly unique product and one of Scotland's most iconic contributions to the world. I am delighted to open the Scotch Whisky Experience tour, which showcases the world's largest collection of Scotch whiskies.
"Whisky is an iconic and high quality product which has hugely influenced Scotland's heritage, culture and economy. A billion bottles of Scotch are enjoyed across the world each year, it is exported to 200 countries and generates more than £2 billion for Scottish exports.
"One of the five key themes of our Homecoming year is whisky and I am confident Whisky Month and the new Scotch whisky tour will offer visitors a great opportunity to celebrate - and sample - Scotland's national drink."
Deputy Chairman, Alastair McIntosh commented: "It is fitting that Scotland's First Minister is here to mark this incredible landmark for our attraction. Our £3m investment, with support from our shareholders, has created a superb 21st century tourism experience. This is now one of Scotland's flagship tourist venues which will inspire and enthuse visitors from throughout the world about Scotch whisky and its importance to Scotland"
Collected over 35 years by Brazillian businessman, Claive Vidiz and purchased by leading drinks company Diageo, the Collection is on exclusive loan to the Scotch Whisky Experience. Showcased in a bespoke vault, it provides a significant anthology of Scotch whisky which is now on display to the public for the first time.
Speaking about the collection, Bryan Donaghey, Managing Director of Diageo Scotland said; "We are delighted to have worked with Claive to bring this wonderful collection safely back to Scotland and to play a part in preserving its legacy and historic significance."
About the Scotch Whisky Experience
- The new tour at the Scotch Whisky Experience has something for everyone, with child friendly exhibits and tailored tours, including translation into 15 languages which incorporate Chinese, Hindi and Gaelic.
- The Diageo Claive Vidiz Whisky Collection will be open to the public as part of the new Scotch Whisky tour. Owned by leading drinks company Diageo, the collection is on a ten year loan to the Scotch Whisky Experience.
- The new tour at the Scotch Whisky Experience will include the ‘Scotch Whisky Collection' tour every evening, allowing visitors to spend an extended period within the collection, as well as a ‘Sunset tour', incorporating an additional whisky cocktail in the bar area. The collection will also be available for private dining in the evening, will catering from the award-winning restaurant Amber, nestled beneath the attraction.
- The Diageo Claive Vidiz Whisky Collection and a half day course for whisky lovers, Enthusiasm for Scotch, both available at the Scotch Whisky Experience, are part of Homecoming Scotland's Whisky Month.
- Homecoming Scotland 2009 aims to engage Scots at home as well as motivate people of Scottish descent and those who simply love Scotland, to take part in an inspirational celebration of our culture, heritage and some of the many great contributions Scotland has given to the world.
- Presented by Homecoming Scotland, Whisky Month is a month long festival of whisky taking place in distilleries and venues across Scotland in May 2009. For more details visit www.homecomingscotland2009.com/whiskymonth