In Summary

  • Discover the history of the Old Town and its connection with the finest “water of life”
  • Explore the lives of whisky blenders, smugglers and others involved in the industry
  • Hear of the evolving role that scotch whisky played in Scotland’s past
  • Indulge in fine malt whiskies, while learning how your dram was create
  • Mercat exclusive audio devices - be immersed and get lost in the stories...
  • 18yrs+ due to service of alcohol


About this tour

Whisky Tour

Explore Edinburgh’s Old Town, where the world’s largest Scottish whisky company was founded and a vibrant history of “aqua vitae” (or the “water of life”) began. Hear the stories of those who jump-started whisky production in Edinburgh, including the smugglers, bootleggers and other seedier characters of Old Town’s underbelly.

We have King James IV of Scotland (commonly referred to as the world’s first famous whisky drinker) to thank for Edinburgh’s monopoly on whisky production in the 15th Century. He believed in the drink’s medicinal properties, which is why the Guild of Surgeon Barbers was originally tasked with manufacturing it.

You’ll also learn of 19th Century Old Town locals like George Ballantine and Andrew Usher Jr; pioneers of homemade whisky which ended up being exported worldwide.

These are just two of the many fascinating transformations that Scotch whisky has undertaken over the centuries, which we will explore as we wander the streets where these events took place.

Whisky Tasting

Colourful history, tradition and a candlelit whisky tasting

The tour continues with a whisky tasting in our candlelit Megget’s Cellar. There’s no better way to warm the spirits. You’ll taste four Scottish whiskies, under the guidance of our whisky specialist.

Your expert will cover everything you need to know about the water of life; from how whisky is made to the effects that different elements such as water, barley, peat and the cask have on the production process. Nose and taste your way through the whisky regions, with sample whiskies from Speyside, Highland, Islay and Lowland distilleries. Just consider this your first step to becoming a whisky connoisseur! 

Please Note: To give a fully immersive experience, we'll provide a personal audio device. Your Storyteller will use a headset with microphone to ensure you hear every word over the hustle and bustle of Edinburgh's lively Old Town. Help us cut down waste and bring your own headphones/earphones if you can - it's a standard 3.5mm audio jack.

Customer review

"This tour gave a great insight in to both Edinburgh and Whisky and we left feeling well versed in both subjects! "

Henry M, TripAdvisor

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Tour details

Dates & times

Private group bookings

Reconnect with friends and family on a tour just for you. Book online now, or we're happy to help on email



  • Donate to help us reconnect vulnerable communities through storytelling - learn more about Our Stories, Your City.

  • Everyone has a warm welcome from us;
  1. NEW FOR 2023; local Edinburgh residents eligible for concession rates (EH postcodes)
  2. Complimentary tickets are available for carers, to book call us on 0131 225 5445.
  3. Read how we include you here
  4. See our Euan's Guide Reviews.
  • Language: English. Learn more on our FAQs


  • 2 hours

Step Count

  • 950

Tour location

  • Start point: Mercat Cross, High Street
  • End point: Megget's Cellar, Blair Street, off Hunter's Square

Need help booking?

Get in touch with us and one of our experts will be able to give you advice on our tours.

Customer review

"This tour gave a great insight in to both Edinburgh and Whisky and we left feeling well versed in both subjects! "

Henry M, TripAdvisor

Whisky Tour & Tasting

Please select a date and time.
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Don’t forget to buy a Mercat Tours souvenir guidebook with your ticket.

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