The new Johnnie Walker Princes Street visitor experience recently opened in Edinburgh after four and a half years of construction.
The eight-story space came out of Diageo’s £185 million pound investment in Scotch whisky tourism in Scotland. To mark the opening, a Johnnie Walker flag was raised above the building by Ivan Menezes, Chief Executive, Diageo and Barbara Smith, Managing Director of Johnnie Walker Princes Street.
“This is a proud day for everyone. Last year Johnnie Walker celebrated 200 years since founder John Walker opened the doors to his small grocery store and today represents the next chapter of the incredible story,” Menezes said in a prepared statement. “Johnnie Walker Princes Street is a landmark investment in Scotch whisky and into Scotland and it sets a new standard for immersive visitor attractions. It celebrates Scotland’s remarkable heritage, our incredible skilled whisky-makers, and looks to the future by engaging new generations of consumers from around the world in the magic of Scotch whisky.”
The space takes visitors on what’s described by the brand as a personalized journey of flavor and discovery of the world’s best-selling Scotch whisky. What this includes exactly is the following:
- Set over 71,500 sq ft, it takes the concept of personalisation to a scale never before seen in a global drinks visitor experience.
- Visitors on the Johnnie Walker Journey of Flavour tour will have their personal flavour preferences mapped with drinks tailored to their palate.
- With more than 800 flavour combinations available in the innovative dispensation systems, one person could visit Johnnie Walker Princes Street every day for more than two years and not have the same experience twice.
- Over 150 diverse and talented new employees, speaking 23 languages between them, will bring to life the 200-year story.
- The cellar has become a true whisky treasury with some of the most unique whisky casks in the world gently maturing and waiting to be sampled by guests.
- The building – formerly a traditional department store for almost 100 years – will contain a state-of-the-art experiential retail space where shoppers can select from rare and exclusive whiskies, fill their own bottles and have them personalised.
- Johnnie Walker Princes Street opens its doors with a Green Tourism Gold Award – the highest sustainability accolade for a visitor attraction. The building includes roof terrace planters to provide herbs for garnishes and infusions for drinks, a sedum roof covering and bird boxes to encourage biodiversity.
- Johnnie Walker Princes Street is crowned by two world-class rooftop bars and a terrace with breath-taking views of the Edinburgh skyline, including the Explorers’ Bothy whisky bar stocked with 150 different whiskies, and the 1820 cocktail bar where drinks are paired with a carefully curated menu sourced from, and representing in culinary form, the four corners of Scotland.
Hannah Kanik is a freelance writer from California. Two years ago, she found herself drinking Scottish whisky atop Arthur's Seat in Edinburgh and found her love for whisky and its storytelling side-effects.