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Edinburgh Festival Fringe
Whisky Guide: Celebrating Scotland's Finest

Introduction: A Melting Pot of Culture and Spirits

Every August, the city of Edinburgh, Scotland, comes alive with an explosion of art, culture, music and creativity during the Edinburgh Festival Fringe. From humble, local beginnings in 1947, The Fringe has grown to become the third highest ticketed event in the world, beaten only by the World Cup and the Olympics. Today, the Festival attracts performers and audiences from all over the globe to come and enjoy the historic wonder and rich culture on offer in Scotland’s capital city. 

But there's more to Edinburgh's cultural extravaganza than just performances and shows - for whisky lovers, the city is the perfect stage. As the capital of a country renowned for its cherished Scotch whisky, Edinburgh has an impressive array of whisky experiences and bars for newcomers and whisky connoisseurs alike to enjoy. This august, experience the essence of the iconic spirit, also known as the ‘water of life’ or ‘uisce beatha’ in gaelic. 

Slàinte Mhath Slàinte Mhath
Slàinte Mhath

The Fringe History and Scotch Whisky's Connection

The very first Edinburgh Festival in 1947, featuring the Vienna Philharmonic Orchestra. The very first Edinburgh Festival in 1947, featuring the Vienna Philharmonic Orchestra.
The very first Edinburgh Festival in 1947, featuring the Vienna Philharmonic Orchestra.

Both Scotch whisky and the Edinburgh Festival Fringe are embedded deeply within the city’s culture. The fringe was born out of a post-World War II desire for creative expression and artistic freedom. A group of uninvited performers decided to showcase their talents on the ‘fringe’ of the Edinburgh International Festival, therefore inspiring it's now famous name and reputation for accelerating diverse arts and emerging talents!

With a history that stretches back centuries, whisky production has long been intertwined with the Scottish way of life. Edinburgh, with its strategic location and proximity to an abundance of natural resources, played a significant role in the whisky trade during the 18th and 19th centuries. The city was home to many distilleries, and its bustling port facilitated the export of Scotch whisky to the rest of the world. Even today, Edinburgh stands as a gateway to exploring the vast and rich whisky heritage of Scotland.

Whisky Shows at the Fringe

During the Edinburgh Festival Fringe, whisky takes center stage at various shows and events catering to both connoisseurs and novices eager to learn more about Scotland's "water of life." Whisky shows held during the Fringe offer an incredible opportunity to sample an extensive range of Scotch whiskies, guided by experienced distillers and brand ambassadors. Visitors can explore single malts, blended whiskies, limited editions, and rare bottlings, getting a taste of the diverse flavors that make Scotch whisky so revered worldwide.

These shows often feature masterclasses and seminars led by experts, where attendees can delve into the art of whisky-making, understanding the intricate processes that transform barley and water into the amber nectar that warms the soul. Whether you're new to whisky or a seasoned enthusiast, these shows offer an unforgettable experience, taking you on a sensory journey through Scotland's whisky heartland.

This year’s highlights: 

The Whisky Fringe: An epic whisky trade show hosted by Royal Mile Whiskies and featuring exhibitions from 40 renowned producers showcasing new releases, special editions and classics. 

Mythical Beasts: An Immersive, Mystical, Musical Whisky Tasting: this unique event combines a whisky tasting of unique, cask strength whiskies from across scotland along with Nordic/Celtic music and folklore stories!

2 Guys, 3 Drams: The Ultimate Live Blues and Whisky Experience: 2022 Fringe sell-out show. Join duo The Rhythm and Booze Project as they play some stomping blues music and serve you three superb Scotch whiskies.

A Midsummer Night's Dram: Three-dram tasting with our award-winning haggis, neeps and tatties with The Scotch Malt Whisky Society

Whisk(e)y Wars: Solo comedy show… Tam Tully fights treachery and tragedy to save her Ulster family distillery by crafting the Holy Grail of whiskey, the perfect single malt.

Edinburgh's Best Whisky Bars

Beyond the whisky shows, Edinburgh boasts an impressive array of whisky bars, each with its unique ambiance and selection of drams. For those seeking a cozy and intimate setting, places like the Bow Bar or the Whiski Rooms provide the perfect backdrop to savor a dram or two. These establishments take pride in their extensive whisky lists, which feature both well-known distilleries and lesser-known gems waiting to be discovered.

If you prefer a livelier atmosphere, the Scotch Whisky Experience's Amber Restaurant or the Devil's Advocate might be more to your liking. These bars offer not only an extensive whisky selection but also delicious food pairings that complement the spirit's complex flavors.

Our Whisky International favourite: USQUABAE Whisky Bar and Larder


USQUABAE Whisky Bar and Larder. A subtereean whisky bar in Edinburgh's West End stocking over 400 whiskies, a range of cocktails, beer and food pairings as well as hosting regular whisky tasting events.

Tips for Whisky Lovers at the Fringe

For whisky lovers attending the Edinburgh Festival Fringe, here are some handy tips to make the most of your experience:


  • Plan Ahead: Research the shows and events you want to attend and book tickets in advance, as they often sell out quickly.
  • Hydration and Pace: Whisky tasting can be enjoyable, but remember to stay hydrated and pace yourself to fully appreciate the flavors.
  • Ask Questions: Don't hesitate to ask the experts questions about the whiskies you're sampling. The Scots love sharing their knowledge and passion for Scotch!
  • Taste Local: Try some locally produced whiskies to get a taste of the regional nuances and unique characteristics each terrain and environment within Scotland brings to a dram.
  • Collect Souvenirs: Many whisky shows offer exclusive bottlings and merchandise, making for excellent souvenirs to collect and treasure.
  • Make a list: make a list of your favourite whiskies and producers from the festival, you can always decide later which bottles you’d like to order from us, we have worldwide shipping available and a large range of different products. 

Local Spirit Inspiration

Conclusion: A Whisky Lover's Paradise

As you immerse yourself in the creativity and fun of the Edinburgh Festival Fringe, don't miss the chance to savor the city's whisky offerings. From whisky shows to historic whisky bars, Edinburgh is a whisky lover's paradise, offering an authentic experience that pays homage to Scotland's most treasured spirit.

So raise a glass, toast to the Fringe's fantastic impact, and embrace the warmth of Scotch whisky in this vibrant and spirited city.

Slàinte mhath!

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