Whiskey events are becoming increasingly popular all over the world as distilleries, companies, bars and whiskey clubs create new ways to entice people to try and appreciate some of the many thousands of whiskies worldwide.
In Scotland, May is a popular month. Various events are held, including The Speyside Festival, Edinburgh Whisky Stramash, Feis Ile (Islay Festival of Music and Malt) and many others surrounding World Whisky Day on the 19th.
The Scotch Malt Whisky Society (SMWS) ambassador, John McCheyne, has given some tips on how to get the most out of whisky festivals, especially if it’s your first time:
- Plan, remembering quality over quantity.
“Whether it’s a one-day event or a week-long festival, there are so many whiskies that you may get a little lost. Book in advance for the tasting events you really do not want to miss. Take the time to fully enjoy a particular event instead of rushing from one to another.”
- Taste in the best order for your nose and palate.
“Start light, end heavy. Don’t rush straight to the peaty whiskies.”
- Have time to yourself.
“Whisky festivals can get busy, so taste your drams away from the crowd, sample them properly and appreciate them. Take some notes to give you a good appreciation of the whiskies you chose.”
- Timing: Select the moment for questions, receiving the most information in the shortest time.
“Remember your ‘festival etiquette’. Don’t be the person who stands at the front of the table for too long. Be mindful of how busy the table may be and choose the right moment to have a word or two. Ambassadors will do their best to engage an enthusiast, but it’s important to be courteous to all the other people there trying to have the same experience.”
“Talk to the hosts, they often have some fascinating insights into the whiskies on offer, the stories behind the distilleries and the whole experience.”
Overall, John says: “Take your time, plot your course, don’t make a fool of yourself, and have fun.”