Pub Crawl Recollected

There is so much to say about that night. First of all we did not expect that level of attendance. At the beginning there were over thirty of us. Later on we lost the count. The sheer volume of fine whisky we were ordering in consecutive bars was filling the hearts of poor bar tenders with fear. Some of them were brave enough to handle us, others failed miserably. A few words about each of the places we visited follow, but first a video that speaks a thousand words. Please pause in the 15th second, that’s Chris on the left and me on the right.

The Albanach
197 High Street, Royal Mile
Edinburgh

What an utterly lovely place it is. The decor, size, location, ambience, whisky selection, service… it’s all just spot on. We felt welcome there and they invited us for a wee tasting whenever we feel like going back. Well, I feel like going back really soon. Expect a full review within the next couple of weeks.

Whiski Bar
119 High Street, Royal Mile
Edinburgh

It’s a lovely looking place, a good cross between old men’s pub and a decadent cocktail bar. The service, unfortunately, is not quite up to that standard. When I went there some time ago, I ordered Yoichi 12 yo without looking at the menu and the barman didn’t warn me it was ridiculously expensive. He just poured it and asked for money. I paid and never said anything, but I thought it was bad practice. Both Chris and I worked in a whisky bar and we would have said something in such case. But oh well. I was just being a sucker, right?
Well, not really, no. When we went there with the whole bunch of our friends and readers the bar staff were not even trying to hide their annoyance. After a couple of our friends heard “what the f*** is going on here” from behind the bar, we thought it was time to roll.
We understand that anyone can have a bad day. We don’t take it personally and we are waiting for an invitation to Whiski Bar now to straighten things up over a dram.

Namiki, Jason and Nell

Bow Bar
80 West Bow
Edinburgh

What a relief. They weren’t expecting an invasion but they welcomed us with smile. I arrived a few minutes behind the main peloton and I instantly found myself with a dram in hand and Gordon’s eyed affixed on me demanding a guess (it’s his favourite game of all times). It was light, sweet and pleasant. I thought ‘Glenmorangie’ but it turned our to be Old Pulteney 12 yo. Gordon was triumphant, ‘told you there was no saltiness in it, nobody picks that blind’.
Bow Bar is a lovely small place that outside summer season is actually popular with the locals. Their whisky selection is impressive. Rare Campbeltown malts, unusual independent bottlers (Royal Brackla Provenance) and reasonably priced classics. They are definitely equipped to keep you entertained for long hours. Highly recommended.

Pub Crawl 3The Blue Blazer
2 Spittal Street
Edinburgh

OK, it’s not really a whisky bar but what an awesome place to be it is! For an ordinary pub their selection of malts, whiskeys and bourbons is respectable. I really liked Four Roses Single Barrel there but the undisputed winner was Elijah Craig 12 yo. Our palates and noses might have been wasted by that time but we enjoyed it anyway. Staff were friendly enough, the ambience is good and prices down to Earth. Recommended.

That’s it

The Blue Blazer was the end of the official part of the crawl. It is probably worth mentioning that Craig Robson attempted to rugby tackle me outside the pub and as a result parts of his phone were spread evenly all over Spittal Street. Somehow he managed to put them all back together, pressed the ‘on’ button and the screen of his Finnish gadget glowed vigorously and claimed it was still ‘connecting people’. I think this slogan sums up the night rather neatly.

Lucas

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Judging honours

World Whiskies Awards Judge         Spirit of Speyside Whisky Awards Judge Global Scotch Masters Judge         Scottish Whisky Awards Judge