Some of you might wonder what to bring back from Scotland besides the infamous Scottish whisky...Well for arriving there with a 7Kg hand luggage and leaving with over 7Kg more, I can tell you a thing or two about what souvenirs to buy! But first, let's start with the obvious...
There are many renowned brands of Scottish Whisky: Bowmore, Glenkinchie, Glenlivet, Talisker, the Famous Grouse and so on...But some distilleries only produced bottles for the UK Market and that's what you want to bring back: Bottles you cannot find outside of the UK...Or hardly. There are dozens of these distilleries and depending on your tastes, a good seller can help you make the best choice.
When you walk into a shop in Edinburgh, don't buy immediately. Check the prices and visit a few more shops. In my case, my reference was the Bowmore which was sold online for 89£. I often saw prices for an 18 year old bottle go up to 104£ so I guessed the shop took a greater margin on every single bottle. If the price I saw was at 89£ it seemed like a correct price would be applied on the entire stock. However....I did find a Bowmore 18 years at 59£ at the airport so...I am glad I didn't buy that particular bottle in the city ;) In short > create your own reference to avoid tourist prices!
Beware of "seller opinion" on whiskies...Ask if you can have a taste first. I often hear sellers praise a smoky whisky as exquisite and the next shop I visit states the opposite (very strong/aggressive taste). Here too, try to have a reference unless you know your whiskies really well!
Now most bottles I brought back were bought in Pitlochry during my trip to the Highlands and Loch Ness. Why you might ask? Well, I found a shop in this small city and they were selling tax free which makes a huge difference...A small bottle of Edinburgh Gin (20cl) costs 16.99£ in the city and 10.99£ in Pitlochry. The whiskies I bought in this shop are the following:
Both are bottled for the UK market.
Then at the airport I obviously got the Bowmore 18 years which was 30£ cheaper than in the city and a small bottle of Old Pulteney.
Yes Scotland produces also Gin and some great flavours at that! As explained above, you can find these bottles of Edinburgh Gin in the city but beware of prices! A small 20cl bottle is usually sold at 16.99£ but you can easily find it at 10.99£! Tastes range from Elder-flower to raspberry/vanilla and most shops will allow you to take a sip.
There are other brands which are lovely and if you are looking for a stunning bottle, I can only recommend the Warner Edwards Victoria's Rhubarb Gin which uses a variety of rhubarb originally grown in Queen Victoria's garden...stunning bottle and delicious taste.
3. Anything else whisky:
Be certain to find whisky in a declination of products when visiting Edinburgh: Marmalade, Whisky flavoured coffee and tea, whisky flavoured honey, ... I brought back the flavoured tea but wasn't impressed and also the honey which is still sealed. My mom bought the coffee as well, let's see what her verdict is...
You can find marmalade for 3.99£ so don't just on the first shop on the Royal Mile ;)
Yes indeed, you can bring back a can of your favourite Haggis, Scotland's national dish in many variations: vegetarian, with Scotch, venison, and more. I really liked my experience with Haggis despite reading the description of what was in my plate so I brought a can back to let the BF have a try at it. Note that there are quite a few products 'Haggis flavoured" like chips ...
You can easily find 2 cans for 12£ but honestly it can be cheaper without the carton box so if you want to cut on costs, buy the can alone.
5. Tea & Coffee:
Be it the whisky flavoured tea, the Earl Grey or the Scottish Breakfast tea, trust me in Edinburgh you will have lots of choice. Personally i settled for a box of whisky flavoured tea because let's face it, it's kind of cool to have this at home but I also bought the Broddie's Early Grey. The box is chiseled and stunning and the tea smells divine...This might fit in my morning breakfast just fine.
The Whisky flavoured tea in its metal box (150gr) can be found at 3.99£ in some shops close to the castle. As for Broddies, I got mine for 6.99£ also close to the castle. There are some really good deals to make!
Every shop will sell coffee, some will let you smell it but not try it. My mom bought a bag of this, let's see if she likes it or not...It cost again 3.99£.
If you have a sweet-tooth, then I suggest you visit the Fudge House down the Royal Mile...It's quite sweet but so flavoury...You can buy per 100gr or by box (of 10 pieces), the latter being the best/cheapest option: 15£. Fudges are quite heavy so this is why I would suggest to take a box, plus they have so many flavours to choose from!!
Note that the Fudge House ships worldwide and that you can keep a box of fudge for 2 weeks outside of the fridge. Passed the 2 weeks they start to harden but remain perfectly edible.
In case you are looking for something else...Shortbread is also great to tame your sweet tooth! Many flavours available again throughout the city!
7. Bagpipe Music & Kilts:
If you really want a kilt, Scotland is obviously the best place to buy one but beware of the prices, it can be quite expensive... As for bagpipe/Celtic music you can purchase CDs in almost all souvenir shops of the city. You can also listen to extracts of the CD to know what you are buying...
8. Cashmere and Lambswool:
All shops sell scarves, pullovers and other items made in Cashmere and about all of them will make discounts if you buy 2 or 4 items. Digressive prices here I come! The same offers can be found for lambswool but be careful >> items in cashmere and lambswool are often mixed so make sure to touch the fabric or read the label. Also, some items are made with cashmere but not 100%, don't be fooled!
Once again, it is good a have a price reference for yourself to find which shop has the best offers ;)
9. Healthy Brands from the UK
I am always looking for healthy brands and Edinburgh is a good places to shop for new products: the Graze nuts, nut butters and many supplements can bought in the city...Save on shipping costs ;)