A visit to Towsers Lounge at 24 Royal Terrace, Edinburgh


We've got something a little different today as we visit a newly opened whisky bar and lounge in the heart of Edinburgh, and catch up with the man behind the drams, Tony Hamblin.

We recently visited 24 Royal Terrace, a boutique hotel located in Edinburgh, Scotland, to check out their new whisky bar, Towser's Lounge. While there we sat down with Tony Hamblin AKA “The Whisky Guy” and current sommelier at 24 Royal Terrace to chat about the bar and his work at the hotel.

Can you tell us how you got into whisky?

I’ve pretty much been involved off and on in whisky my whole life. My dad was a distiller at Glenturret from 1960 to 1984. So, as you can imagine whisky has been a major part of my life.

The easiest way to explain my passion for whisky is probably is to say it’s beyond the normal level. I go and find out things about the distillery, or people connected with the distillery, and then I incorporate some of the stories I pick up into my tastings, which makes for interesting research as well.


How did you get come to work at 24 Royal Terrace?

I was actually poached to come here. I spent years 30 years in the Royal Navy, and after I came out, I was looking for a nice, easy job.

A gentleman named Alan, who used to run this hotel, asked for my help with whisky for some guests who wanted to try some more expensive bottles but he didn't know what to charge.

Because of my knowledge of whiskies, I helped him out, and eventually I was offered a job here, where I've been for the last eight years.


Tell us a little bit about your tastings and what differentiates them from others?

My aim is to make whisky tastings educational but also enjoyable, sharing stories and facts about whisky that people might not know. I take guests on a journey through different whisky regions during tastings, offering a varied experience that includes not just the taste but also the history and stories behind each whisky. I have a laugh and a joke with people, and connect with them.

Once people leave here I give them my card, and say anything you needed just email me, and I’ll see what I can do for you. So, I’ve got guests who will email now and ask for advice on a bottle they want to collect or for details on bottles they have they’ve never seen anywhere else.


Where did you get the name Towser?

Towser was actually my sister's pet cats name.


Tell us a bit more about the Lounge itself? 

Well we're planning to expand the whisky collection in The Towser Lounge to include at least 550 different whiskies over the next few years, aiming to create a comprehensive collection that spans from classic to contemporary.

The collection will turn the lounge into a sort of whisky museum where visitors can appreciate the spirit's history and variety. The Towser Lounge will offer a unique tasting experience, aiming to educate and entertain visitors with a vast collection of whiskies and engaging stories.

Everything we do is aimed at making whisky more accessible and enjoyable, whether you're a seasoned enthusiast or new to whisky.


How do you pick bottles for the hotel?

Myself and the GM actually rotate our stock all the time, even our open bottles. We like a mix of supermarket stock mixed in with some interesting independent bottling like the Mythic Beasts Port Charlotte or auction purchases like Littlemill.


So difficult question, but what’s your favourite whisky?

Well people tell me it should be Glenturret, but to me whisky is more of a mood drink. Really my mood impacts my favourite and what I’d like to drink.


To be honest, we had more questions for Tony, but he’s one of those characters in whisky who always has a story to tell, and we ended up getting sidetracked from our original questions many times. If you’d like to hear some of his stories, visit Towser's Lounge or book a tasting; you can get more information at:

https://www.24royalterrace.co.uk/whisky/

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