If you’re looking to experience some of the world’s best whisky festivals, Scotland is your destination. Home to some of the world’s greatest whisky brands and distilleries, Scotland also hosts some vibrant whisky festivals all across the country. They are the perfect place to sample whiskies from different regions in an authentic setting. Who knows – you might even find your favourite dram! Surely, this is a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity you should not miss.
SPIRIT OF SPEYSIDE FESTIVAL: Speyside, Highlands
Join whisky lovers from far and wide in romantic Speyside for a unique and varied whisky festival programme. The Spirit of Speyside Whisky Festival is filled with special behind-the-scenes distillery tours, whisky and food pairings, whisky tours by train or 4×4, sensory experiences, whisky-themed walks and more, held across a huge range of iconic distilleries and local venues. This year’s programme featured something a little different – a Guinness World Record cask building challenge, which took place at the Speyside Cooperage. While you're in the area, do visit the iconic Cardhu Distillery in Moray as well.
STIRLING WHISKY FESTIVAL, STIRLING
Stirling Highland Hotel is transformed into a whisky lover’s paradise during the Stirling Whisky Festival, featuring top distillers from all over Scotland. You can opt for a ticket which also allows entry to a whisky masterclass where you will have the chance to try special and rare malts and go on an educational whisky journey. One of the most loved whiskies from the Highlands is Oban, so you must be sure to try it.
WORLD WHISKY DAY, various locations
Raise a glass to Scotland’s national drink on World Whisky Day. There are tons of interesting events happening in every corner of the country - you could attend an associated whisky-themed event, such as the combined history tour with whisky tasting by Mercat Tours held in Edinburgh’s ancient Blair Street underground vaults, or why not head to your favourite whisky bar or plan a visit to a distillery? In case you cannot make it to Scotland, this day is celebrated with gusto all around the world - here's a picture of the World Whisky Day celebrations organised by Diageo in India!
FÈIS ÌLE, THE ISLAY FESTIVAL OF MUSIC AND MALT, Isle of Islay
Set sail (or fly) to the enchanting Isle of Islay, Scotland’s whisky island, for Fèis Ìle. Expect a warm Hebridean welcome and great craic as you explore the distilleries and sample whiskies with the island’s famous peaty flavours. The festival also offers a taste of the unique island culture, with the programme featuring Gaelic and traditional music, ceilidhs, as well as events covering golf, history, natural heritage and more.Built in 1846, Caol Ila is the largest of the eight working distilleries on the island of Islay as is known for its distinctive smokiness.
EDINBURGH WHISKY STRAMASH, Edinburgh
‘A glorious rammy of whisky’ is what the organisers call it, and we couldn’t agree more. Set in the opulent and historic Surgeon’s Hall, the Edinburgh Whisky Stramash is the whisky event which doesn’t take itself too seriously. There are plenty of whisky experiences to take part in – some of them quite whimsical in nature – which showcase whiskies from both Scotland and beyond.
EDINBURGH WHISKY FESTIVAL, Edinburgh
The Assembly Rooms in Edinburgh is where you can find the Edinburgh Whisky Festival, a one-day event which will delight whisky fans. Included in the price of your ticket is the sampling of whisky from all of the exhibitors. There are also some rare and more exclusive whiskies available to purchase, or you can educate your senses at whisky masterclasses.
WEST COAST WHISKY FÈIS, Oban, Argyll
A new event for 2017, this inaugural festival takes place in Oban, a seaside town which is home to one of the oldest distilleries in Scotland. The West Coast Whisky Fèis will took place in the Skippinish Ceilidh House, where visitors sampled whiskies from some of the oldest and smallest distilleries on the west coast, participated a nosing competition, and took part in the whisky masterclass.
DRAMATHON, Speyside, Highlands
Now this is an event with a difference – Dramathon is a marathon distance race where whisky is very much the motivation! Running part of the Speyside Way from Glenfarclas Distillery to Glenfiddich distillery, you can race distances of a full marathon, a half-marathon, a 10K or a relay race. Along the way, get stamped as you pass distilleries to collect whisky miniatures at the finish line. It won’t just be the whisky that will warm you up!
THEATRE OF DRAMS, Bowmore Hall, Islay
Learn enough to start your own distillery at the Theatre of Drams Festival – a new whisky symposium taking place on Scotland’s whisky island – Islay. Spend five days learning about whisky production with knowledge shared by distillers, barley experts, chemists, coppersmiths, coopers, brand ambassadors and more. If you’re short of time, it’s still possible to join the festival for just a day or two by cherry-picking your preferred events.
GLASGOW WHISKY FESTIVAL, Glasgow
This festival brings Scotland’s national drink to the country’s national stadium. Whisky lovers flock to the Glasgow Whisky Festival at Hampden Park to sample and savour a wide range of great whiskies. This festival also showcases the distilleries which are closest to Glasgow along with the city’s independent bottlers.
Pictures: Pinterest, Festival websites
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