Last week, I nipped into HopScotch Bar on George Street, which has popped up as part of the Edinburgh festivals. Located towards the west end of bustling street, the bar is Diageo’s first foray into the festival celebrations, designed to take visitors on their own journey of whisky discovery.
On arrival, I was immediately greeted with a dram of Lagavulin 16 Year Old– what a great start! There’s a small, self-guided exhibition leading visitors from grain to glass, with various brand ambassadors on-hand to provide a bit more information (and possibly a top-up!). There’s also a well-stocked bar, run in association with Edinburgh locals, Montpeliers.
The draw for me though – especially during a lunchtime visit – was the chance to meet Diageo’s Gin and Malt Historian and Archivist, Joanne McKerchar. Joanne had made her way down from the Diageo Archives for the day, bringing with her some artefacts to celebrate Lagavulin’s 200th birthday. This included a bottle from 1911, whose contents had been distilled in 1881! She also managed to snaffle me a sample of the commemorative Lagavilin 8 Year Old – more on that later this week.
Although Joanne was just there for the day, Diageo’s whisky experts from across the country are heading to the capital throughout August to share both their whisky and their stories with festival-goers. The line-up for the rest of the month includes:
Thursday 18 August
The history of Johnnie Walker Scotch Whisky with Chief Archivist Christine McCafferty from 12pm-5pm.
Friday 19 August
Meet Andy Cant, Distillery Manager Cardhu Distillery from 12pm-5pm and in conversation on the HopScotch bar stage at 3pm.
Saturday 20 August
Meet Sarah Burgess, Distillery Manager Oban Distillery from 12pm-5pm and in conversation on the HopScotch bar stage at 3pm.
Thursday 25 August
The Art of Coopering with Master Cooper John Carberry from 12pm-5pm, with cask raising demonstrations in the HopScotch bar at 2pm and 4pm.
A warm welcome coupled with the chance to speak to some of the country’s top whisky producers means HopScotch should be high on your list of bars to pop by this August.