The University of Edinburgh Water of Life Society (abbreviated WOLS or EUWOLS) was founded in 1988 as a student whisky society. If you are wondering why it is called the “Water of Life Society”, it comes from uisge beatha which is the Gaelic term for whisky and roughly translates to “water of life”. However, I will admit that the name is quite confusing and very few people immediately associate the name with whisky.
As it stands today, the society operates tastings during the academic year (Sept-Dec and Jan-April). Tastings are typically held on Thursday evenings on campus at either the Potterrow Dome or the Teviot Dining Room. The size of the tastings can vary quite a bit depending on the event. General events attract anywhere from 50-100 people, while special events are usually capped at about 30 people. Usually the largest tastings occur at the beginning of the semesters with the first one of the academic year usually being the largest.
There is a society website which contains some general information about the current committee but for information on future events you need to either follow the facebook group or sign up for the mailing list.
I admit that I am biased here as I served on the committee for 2 years but I really do think this is a great whisky society. The tastings provide a very different type of tasting experience in that the size makes it more of a social event which is good because there are a lot of interesting people to meet. You do not need to be a student or member to attend the tastings but you get a discount on the tastings if pay for membership.
I really think this is one of the best kept secrets in Edinburgh. Actually a great deal of alumni have told me that they never knew that the society existed until way after they had graduated. Despite going under the radar for many students the society is quite large with more than 1000 facebook followers and nearly 200 active members.
Some big pluses to the society are:
1. One of the best deals on whisky tastings in terms of value
2. Great for beginners and experiences drinkers
3. Great way to meet new friends in Edinburgh
4. Organized whisky trips every semester to distilleries
If you are interested in the society and have questions, you can contact them via email (firstname.lastname@example.org).