Johnnie Walker Princes Street: New centre launches Scotch whisky experience centre
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The new centre, formerly the House of Fraser, will be a prestigious hotspot for whisky-lovers and tourists visiting the city.
It boasts a rooftop terrace, featuring views of Edinburgh Castle, and comes after four and a half years in the making.
Diageo says it is pouring £185 million into whisky tourism in Scotland, with the Princes Street facility at the centre of its plans.
To mark the opening a Johnnie Walker flag was raised above the landmark building by Ivan Menezes, Chief Executive, Diageo, and Barbara Smith, Managing Director of Johnnie Walker Princes Street, against the backdrop of Edinburgh’s iconic skyline, including the world-famous Edinburgh Castle.
Set over 71,500 sq ft, Diageo says 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 can have their personal flavour preferences mapped with drinks tailored to their palate.
With more than 800 flavour combinations available in the innovative dispensation systems, bosses at the centre one person could visit Johnnie Walker Princes Street every day for more than two years and not have the same experience twice.
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.
The cellar is also said to contain some of the most unique whisky casks in the world, which are maturing and waiting to be sampled by guests.
Ivan Menezes, Chief Executive, Diageo said: “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.
"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.”
Barbara Smith, Managing Director of Johnnie Walker Princes Street, said: “We’re thrilled to be opening the doors and helping to re-build the tourism and hospitality industry after a very difficult 18 months. The story of the world’s best-selling whisky has been brought to life with flair and imagination and we have built a team which includes some of the most talented individuals in their fields. We are now ready to welcome visitors and begin telling the next chapter of how we are woven into the fabric of Scotland’s history and communities.”
Malcolm Roughead, Chief Executive of VisitScotland, said: “Johnnie Walker Princes Street is an exceptional addition to Edinburgh’s world-class experiences, demonstrating the confidence international brands have in the capital city whilst supporting the Scottish tourism recovery.
"Diageo’s tourism offering is growing year on year and we were delighted to work in partnership with them on a digital marketing campaign, promoting their network of visitor experiences across Scotland, in the lead-up to the opening of Johnnie Walker Princes Street.”
Johnnie Walker Princes Street will open its doors to the public at 1 pm on Monday, September 6. Tickets for tours start from £25 per person, including a 90-minute tour and three personalised Scotch whisky samples.