THE drinks giant says Glenkinchie will marry the story of the whisky with the story of its East Lothian setting, the aromas that make up its flavour and key aspects of its development such as its place as a 1930s hit in the history of cocktail making.

Diageo says the seeds of future regeneration for whisky tourism in Scotland are being sown with what it describes as a unique new multi-million pound distillery and garden visitor attraction at the site near Edinburgh.

The single malt distillery, nestled beneath the Lammermuir hills in the region famed as the garden of Scotland for its quality food and drink produce, will open its gates to the public again this week after a major transformation of the visitor attraction as part of a £185 million investment in Scotch whisky experiences by Diageo.

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Glenkinchie will be the Lowland Home of Johnnie Walker, the first of four corner distilleries around Scotland that will form an incredible network of visitor experiences linked to the world’s number one Scotch whisky and the new global centrepiece Johnnie Walker Princes Street attraction in Edinburgh, planned to open next summer.

The Glenkinchie Distillery attraction is centred around a landscaped garden, curated to reflect the local rural environment, and an immersive guest experience in the distillery’s traditional Victorian red brick warehouses.

HeraldScotland: The facility is set to open to the public on Thursday.The facility is set to open to the public on Thursday.

Barbara Smith, managing director of brand homes for Diageo in Scotland, officially declared the new visitor experience open with the ceremonial planting of a tree to complete the garden yesterday.

The move was also aimed at representing the future growth of Scotch whisky and tourism ahead of the planned public opening on Thursday, subject to government guidance on coronavirus.

She said: “The opening of the wonderful new visitor experience and garden at Glenkinchie is the first step in our long-term £185m investment in whisky tourism in Scotland.

“We are acutely aware of the difficult times many people are going through, particularly our colleagues in the tourism and hospitality sector across Scotland.

“We know there’s a long way to go and a lot of uncertainty ahead. Still, we believe in the resilience of our business and our communities, and we will be doing all we can through our investment to sow the seeds of recovery and future growth.”

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Ramsay Borthwick, Glenkinchie distillery manager, said that site “will give people a thrilling first taste of the new visitor experiences we are creating across Scotland”.

He said: “We will be offering people an experience like no other distillery in Scotland at Glenkinchie and that will be followed as we transform Clynelish, Cardhu and Caol Ila over the coming months, and as we build towards the opening of our global Johnnie Walker Princes Street attraction in Edinburgh next summer.”

Along with Diageo’s network of distillery visitor experiences across Scotland, tours operate according to strict Covid protocols to protect guests, employees and the local community, it said.

Created by BRC Imagination Arts, a global design and production agency, renowned for its work on major visitor experiences including the Guinness Storehouse in Dublin, the Glenkinchie brand home “allows visitors to immerse themselves in the history, craft and flavour of whisky”.

The new look brand home features “an abundant garden area with an orchard and specially selected plants native to the East Lothian region and planted to create year-round seasonal variations”.

The new visitor experience has been created in the distillery’s warehouses, in which guests are taken “on a journey through Glenkinchie’s heritage”.

The facility has tasting rooms to allow guests to sample whisky and discover the credentials of Glenkinchie, as well as bar area serving tasting platters and drinks including cocktails.

It will offer a range of specialist tours and events including a Glenkinchie Flavour Journey, Whisky in the Wild tour, Warehouse and Cask Tour, Flowers and Cocktails Class and a Behind the Scenes Tour and Tasting. Glenkinchie has also been designed to operate to the highest standards of sustainably and was recently presented with a Gold Award by Green Tourism, said Diageo, adding Johnnie Walker is the world’s most popular Scotch whisky.