Bordering Holyrood Park, right near Holyrood Distillery, is the location of the Tipsy Midgie. The whisky and gin bar may be inconspicuous from the outside but, wander inside, and the decor draws you in – all moody lighting, neon blue signs, resin countertops and Scottish-themed scatter cushions.
And where better to host a whisky tasting from Lagg Distillery than, well, a whisky bar? Wee glasses are lined up with a measure of single malts in each – these are the first (and brand new) releases from the Isle of Arran-based distillery, which were only on sale from September 2022. The flavour is very much in the west coast style – think heavily peated, rich and smoky, created by using Concerto malted barley, water from the distillery’s borehole and peat from the Scottish highlands.
“We wanted the three batches to be very different from each other and to showcase different sides to our Lagg spirit,” says distillery manager Graham Omand. “We have worked with some beautiful small casks to really add interest and flavour to these editions. Firkins are fascinating to work with and the small surface area and more intense contact between the liquid and the wood imparts so much flavour in a short space of time. It’s almost like a rapid ageing process and we’re delighted with the results.”
The limited edition spirits follow in the whisky-making legacy of Arran, incorporating, more recently, Lochranza to the north of the Isle (in fact, Omand moved over to take up the Lagg reigns) to the illegal trade further back in the island’s history. Small communities once created their own whisky in backyard stills and the resulting “Arran Waters” was then smuggled over to mainland Scotland.
That said, whisky tasting at the Tipsy Midgie isn’t limited to one evening. The bar regularly holds, for example, chocolate and dram pairings, whisky quizzes and “distillery discovery Thursdays” – Scottish folklore and history thrown in for good measure. If you’re in the area, why not head round one evening for a tot or two.
The single malt Lagg whiskies
Batch one – vibrant with a young character.
Batch two – intense fruitiness and a unique flavour from the former sherry firkins.
Batch three – matured in bourbon barrels before being moved to rioja charred casks to create a defined flavour.
Tipsy Midgie opening hours
Thursday to Sunday, 4pm until late
Location: 67 St Leonards Hill, Edinburgh EH8 9SB
Phone: 0131 563 9061