Unbeatable knowledge and selection. Our visit was truly an education and I very much appreciate Neal's patience with us. We knew next to nothing about whiskey when we arrived (and most of what we knew was wrong) and we left much wiser.
I love that they seek out gems, set them aside for aging and add nothing - absolutely nothing to the whiskey. Few distributers/distilleries can say that. Get yourself some unadultered, additive-free whiskey right away - you can taste the difference. Their handpicked selection they're calling 'Campbeltown' was out of this world. Hurry before it's gone. Our friends raved about it as well.
Cadenhead's: Go for the atmosphere. Go for the smell. Go to learn everything there is to know about whiskey from the excellent staff.
But don't expect to actually purchase anything unless, unlike me, you find yourself with an abundance of money and no idea what you could possibly do with it. That is to say, you'll be paying for this stuff. It's partly worth it, because it's of course very high quality, but it's also partly because you're on the Mile.
Well worth a visit if you hold on to your wallet.
I stumbled into Cadenhead's with a friend that was visiting from London... to be honest I'd never noticed the place from my 2 years in Edinburgh! Being in Canongate, the less frequented end of the Royal Mile, the tiny store is easily missed..
My friend knows a thing or two about whiskeys and was well impressed with their selection. They even had a whiskey from our native New Zealand!! (Neither of us even knew NZ produced a whiskey, and we both worked in hospitality for a long time so we're expected to know about these things!!)
There is a huge board telling you about all the cask whiskeys they have, ie. stuff which isn't bottled and labelled already, like the stuff you see in all the other stores... this is apparently the "raw" stuff which hasn't been blended and tweaked with, so even if you manage to get two bottles of the same stuff, there's no guarantee it'll taste exactly the same, as one might have sat in the barrel longer etc etc. (I wont pretend to know the intricacies...)
I never knew you could buy whiskey in this form!!
They are also very well stocked on lots of whisky books and magazines, my friend bought two books which he hadn't been able to find anywhere else...
The guy who runs the store, whose name I should really remember, is amazingly knowledgeable about whiskeys and he'll talk your ear off all day if you give him the chance!! He's very approachable, and I didn't feel stupid for asking some (probably rather obvious) questions... He's happy to let you have a few tasters, if you ask him, as well...
As someone else mentioned, he also runs whiskey tastings at the toll booth pub across the road once a week.. each time has a different theme.. I should really get along to one!
Yes, some of the stuff is a bit pricey but for friendliness, range and knowledge of product, this place can't be beat!
This part of The Royal Mile is definitely far less repellent than the area closer to the castle, and it's evident in the manner of which it's tourist shops feel just that little bit less contrived . Cadenhead's has a slightly treasure trove, fascinating feel about it, and can be worth a look just for a gawp at how much gullible tourists will stump up for a 25 year old malt that tastes the exact same as a bottle of Lidl's gutrot.
Plus, anywhere that has a bearded nut in full fishing gear (waders and all) manning the counter is deserved of five stars.
For all your Whisky needs!!...
Cadenhead's is exactly what you would expect from a whisky shop on the Royal Mile. It's aimed at tourists who want to experience Scotland, but I have a family friend who frequents Cadenhead's as their selection is whisky is amongst the best in the city.
I'm not a whisky lover (yey - i think it's the sort of thing that comes with age) and so I didn't appreciate it totally, but I do know that Cadenhead's is a brilliant place to stock up. They even offered samples so I could see which one I would have liked. If you're looking for whisky, Cadenhead's is as good as any.
I did enjoy a browse in Cadenhead's, although I nearly fell of my perch when I had a scout at the price tags- this place ain't cheap.
To be fair, I didn't really expect it to be bargain basement because of the location, but this seemed a little more expensive than right minded people would be willing to pay! They did have a plethora of Whiskies though, which must be like porn to the avid Whisky lover. The staff are very knowledgeable, I didn't even ask any questions yet they offered me some advice, so they must love what they do.
It sells Whisky; good Whisky.
I agree with the other reviewers, Cadenhead's Whisky Shop is the best there is if you're looking for a wee tipple to put in your hip flask of an afternoon.
The shop is very traditional in style, is well stocked and well organised to. As soon as you step in you find yourself surrounded by every whisky under the sun. Heaven for a whisky drinker; a bit overwhelming for a tea drinker like myself.
Candenhead's is an excellent choice if you are a whisky fan as the staff are very knowledgeable about all the malts and will be able to help you out. Also excellent for gift ideas for the whisky lovers in your life.
I also attended the qype event...
As has been said below, Mark, our 'guide' for the evenings whisky tasting session was very knowledgeable, friendly and helpful. A true asset to the company.
As you would expect from a whisky tasting session, we tried a selection of whiskies which, in my opinion at least, ranged from meh to mmmmh. My own personal favourite was highland glen(?) which was straight from the cask! I also learnt that chocolate is an excellent accompaniement to whisky!
Overall, a very enjoyable and informative evening.
5 badger stars
Cadenheads is a lovely little shop, it has a lovely smell when you go in and they make their own whisky and have a huge range of whiskies in general. They don't make any of the usual blended whisky and have retained their 'traditional' methods. Although it's on the tourist drag I wouldn't say it was solely for tourists. If you aren't familiar with whisky or not sure of what whisky to buy they allow you to try before you commit to a whole bottle.
I went to a whisky tasting with Mark. I went along knowing next to nothing and not having really drank it very much previously but I really enjoyed it.
Mark was so knowledgeable, there was nothing about whisky he didn't know! The tasting was great as a good variety of whiskies were offered and even I was able to differentiate and decide what kind was my favourite. It was interesting finding out more about one of our national drinks.
I can't remember the name of it but the whisky to the left in the barrel at the bottom was my favourite!
This excellent little shop at the East end of the Royal Mile has a relatively small selection but what it has is very good -- including a number of special releases -- and well priced (within reason, of course). The staff seemed a bit snobbish, although very knowledgeable, but if you show more than a passing interest in and understanding of whisky then they warm quickly and seem happy to share their knowledge with you.
If you are visiting Edinburgh, this is the whisky shop to visit. Great service, super patient, incredibly knowledge and cask whisky available to be bottled while you wait. If you are looking for a gift to bring back home or just a for an unusual whisky - they have many whisky's that you will not find anywhere else at any price. I can't say enough good things about the whisky I bought and for the great service I received.
I visited Cadenheads when my love of whisky was really taking hold. I couldn't get enough of single malt's variety and rewarding flavours. Finding Cadenheads was like discovering a treasure trove. The staff were nice, the selection was very wide, and the atmosphere was just right. Really worth going to when you're in Edinburgh, and I can't wait to go back... 7 years on!
This is a review of a whisky tasting I attended at the shop.
Five whiskies were presented for the tasting, and Mark, the host, expertly took us through each whisky in turn using the them to illustrate the various approaches and developments in the whisky making process. After each tasting we were invited to offer our opinions on each one after which Mark would tell us a bit more about the whisky and give us some background. Some of the whiskies were accompanied by chocolate to show how whisky could be used to complement the flavours of both dark and milk chocolate.
Mark was an excellent host whose warmth and charm put everyone at ease and enabled us all to participate in discussing what can be a very intimidating subject to novices such as myself. I was also impressed by Mark's refreshingly unprejudiced attitude towards whiskies. Mark strived to teach us that cost and age don't always correlate with good whisky and that even the cheaper blends shouldn't be dismissed out of hand.
Mark offers whisky tastings which are tailored to the audience and which can be conducted along varying themes. I'd recommend anyone with even the slightest interest to pop along to the shop to find out more. I'll definitely be headed back to see what else is on offer as well as to pick up a bottle or two.
All in all, a very enjoyable evening.
Really I couldn't fail to give the place 5 stars since I was lucky enough to attend a free tasting there the other evening run by the highly knowledgeable and personable Mark who also happens to be shop manager. He's a really extensive knowledge and makes his tastings interesting. I believe we were at a beginners event and he is happy to tailor events to suit his audience.
Cadenhead's is Scotland's oldest independent bottler and although they do sell standard bottlings, their own bottlings are exclusive - straight from the cask, no colourings, filtering or dilution which are all treatments which the normal branded bottlings are subjected to.
It's a fascinating place to visit and Mark is keen to find a whisky appropriate to your taste. A great place to buy exclusive gifts with a huge range of exclusive bottlings. you can make high quality pricey whiskys affordable by buying in smaller volume bottles direct from the casks in the shop, I think 330ml and 500ml. Also a great place to take foreign guests to.
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