The Pommery Bar returns to the Signet Library for the festival

The Signet Library is a beautiful venue and a very nice place to have cocktails.

The Signet Library is a beautiful venue and a very nice place to have cocktails.

I’m sitting at a table with people I haven’t met before, waving what looks like a perfume test strip in front of my nose and exclaiming: ‘it smells a lot more like grass if you inhale it!’. This is what can happen when you’re trying whisky at the Signet Library. Our perceptions of scent is intriguing. Sometimes, it comes to you straight off: we were in no doubt over the first scent stick but recognised vanilla immediately. The grass was more difficult to place. I sniffed and smelled and decided it was truffle. When I heard that it was supposed to be grass, I inhaled in surprise and, since I was still wafting the stick in front of my face, I got a mouthful of scent. And there it was: green grass. Retro-nasal nosing works. The Signet Library is a wonderful venue. The high, vaulted ceilings, the long rooms, the books and the columns make for a very memorable environment. It’s a great place for lunch where you can eat and enjoy the glamour of the room you’re in. Every year, during the Festival, the Pommery Bar comes to the Signet Library, bringing lashings of champagne and afternoon tea to the venue. This year, they offer a great variety of events, from tastings to dinners. I was at the Signet Library for a preview of what August has to offer.

Chocolate, Whisky and Cocktails

Chocolate dipped cherry from Iain Burnett, Highland Chocolatier

Chocolate dipped cherry from Iain Burnett, Highland Chocolatier

I had the privilege to get a taster of this event and it was really great fun! We started with a cocktail, a lovely twist on the Oldfashion that mixed Famous Grouse with Luxardo maraschino cherry liqueur and a good squeeze of lemon. It was tangy and refreshing, with none of the notes overwhelming the others. A great start to the evening! There were several people at my table who didn’t like whisky but they still liked this cocktail. The whisky flavour wasn’t overwhelming. To enhance the cherry flavour, we had chocolate dipped candied cherry. A perfect pairing. Chocolate, whisky and cocktails aims to show that there’s more to whisky than bluster and snobbery. The cocktails were really nicely judged and had bite without coming down overpoweringly on the side of whisky. The second cocktail we tried was a violet bramble made with Famous Grouse, elderflower liqueur and violet liqueur. With that, we have a madagascan vanilla truffle with honey and raspberry. The mellow sweetness of the white chocolate and vanilla picket up the violet flavour and the raspberry cut it. The chocolates came from Iain Burnett, Highland Chocolatier. They were extremely good! Taking us through our whisky journey was Annabell Meikle, Whisky Belle, who hosts the whisky-themed evenings.

Four Beers and a Burger

Interested in beer? Why not enjoy four different beers from Knops Brewers with a burger and learn something about the beverage and the industry.

Champagne Tasting with Sarah Hicks

Sarah Hicks is the UK Manager at Vranken Pommery and has a wealth of champagne related lore and information. The champagne tastings she hosts are informative and entertaining. Book soon – they sell out quickly.

Single Malt Sundays

Salmon, caper berries and potato salad tapas

Salmon, caper berries and potato salad tapas

Try a number of different single malts and match them with tapas-sized food. We tried Highland Park with smoked salmon and caper berries: a very good combination. The sweet peat of the whisky enhanced the salmon flavour and was cut beautifully by the salty capers. A thin crostini added crunch and potatoes substance. Get tickets for the events above.

Edinburgh Tattoo Tickets and Dinner

Want to go to the Tattoo and get dinner, without the hassle of booking a last-minute table and then fighting the crowds on your way up to the castle? There are still a few tickets left through the Signet Library. The deal gets you a champagne cocktail, three course dinner, a ticket for the Tattoo and escort to the castle for £75 pounds.

The Signet Library

Parliament Square Edinburgh. EH1 1RF What’s on August 2014?

Telephone: 0131 225 0651 Email:

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About Caroline von Schmalensee

Cooking, eating and drinking is fun as well as necessary. I do food for fun and I write for a living. Good food makes the world a more delicious and satisfying place. Good writing, meanwhile, can make the world a less confusing place.

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