The Fife Arms Bar In Scotland Hides A Cozy Whiskey Library Inside

Not far from the famed Balmoral Castle lies The Fife Arms, a hotel with over 40 rooms and suites, each with a specific theme. From guest rooms dedicated to Scottish culture to spaces honoring writers and poets who have been inspired by Scotland's landscapes, to call it just a hotel would be selling it short. Activities on the premises include foraging for ingredients, visiting nearby distilleries, and designing personal tartan patterns. Yet even the opportunity to wander about and sketch the stunning vistas of the Cairngorms may not be enough to pry visitors away from the impressive lineup of bottles stocked inside Bertie's Bar. We're talking close to 400 labels procured from all over the world.

These hundreds of whiskies are conveniently categorized according to flavor profiles for those unsure where to start. Whether your preferences lean towards rich, smoky notes or fragrant and fruity aromatics, you're sure to find a dram or two that's to your liking. However, instead of bellying up to a bar, be prepared to settle into red velvet armchairs and gaze upon the bottles lined up on shelves like books in a library. Here, bartenders act as guides, and like the helpful librarians eager to recommend the perfect book to match your taste for mystery or romance, the team at Fife Arms is ready to suggest blends to see you through your bacchanal proclivities. 

When bartenders become guides for whiskey adventures

For those who aren't sure how to navigate such a substantial whiskey collection, the team at The Fife Arms offers customized tastings and will choose unique pours based on visitors' tastes. "Our service is living room service. You want to see something, we'll grab it, let you nose it and answer your questions. Our staff is trained to lead with senses before facts because they're more engaging," one of the team managers told Master of Malt. "We're aware the room can still look daunting, but that's what my team is here for. In five or six questions we can narrow in on three recommendations based on taste."

If the generous booze roster isn't enough to sway your senses, the space is sumptuously decorated with elegant furnishings and luxurious details. The lighting evokes a sentimental ambiance as the designer of the space set out to create an environment reminiscent of an alchemist's lair, an aesthetically-lit marvel that offers glimpses of magic to those who enter. Lighting changes according to the hour, from sultry red tones in the evening to warm amber hues cast earlier in the day, and the surfaces of cocktail tables are outfitted such that you can easily observe the colors of whiskey poured into glasses. After nestling in and sampling a few different labels, you may be convinced you are a descendant of royal blood and forget about the world outside its walls.