After two years of attending our favourite whisky events being confined in our bedrooms and living rooms, connecting from behind our device’s screens, festival organisers in Scotland can finally welcome whisky lovers from around the world once again.
Virtual tastings and online events kept us company and created otherwise impossible opportunities – even in normal times – however, sharing a dram and stories with people in real life is just a much more immersive, rewarding experience.
So, to celebrate spring and the possibility of going back to the whisky places we love and cherish, here is a list of our favourite whisky festivals you should keep an eye on!
1) Fife Whisky Festival (First weekend of March)
This year’s edition has already gone by but it’s well worth keeping an eye on in the years to come. The festival is only in its fourth year but has been going from strength to strength, with guest distillers coming from all over Scotland gathering at the main event at The Corn Exchange in Cupar. Other events take place at Lindores Abbey Distillery and in St Andrews as well. Some of the events this year were offered also in a hybrid format, both online and in person. A great way to transition from winter and ease into spring with some lovely drams (and maybe a spot of golf after!).
2) Spirit of Speyside (27th April – 2nd May 2022)
Taking place across a whole whisky-making region (counting at present around fifty different distilleries), Spirit of Speyside is one of the big highlights of the whisky year in Scotland and the world. The festival started in 1999 and boasts a programme of more than 700 events over 6 days. Watch out for cool masterclasses, tastings and visits to distilleries that are normally not open to tourists!
3) Campbeltown Malts Festival (24th May – 28 May 2022)
Four intense days to explore and enjoy what Campbeltown distilleries have to offer. Whisky distilleries Springbank, Glen Scotia, Kilkerran/Cadenheads and Kintyre Gin will all host their open days with celebrations of local food, music and crafts, as well as loads of fringe events happening around the distilleries. Most things are within a walking distance which is extremely convenient if you want to taste a few great drams!
4) Fèis Ìle – Islay whisky Festival (27th May – 4th June 2022)
One of the oldest events on our list, Fèis Ìle originated in the 80s as a cultural festival where to showcases local talent and craft. And, on an island that nowadays boasts 9 different distilleries (with more in the pipeline), whisky had to be included. The festival is today a dream for whisky lovers around the world, and an experience not to be missed. The sheer beauty of the island is the perfect landscape for a week of amazing whisky events, incredible food, live music, ceilidhs and most importantly whisky camaraderie. It’s an opportunity to share stories, meet new like-minded people, raise a dram and be merry in the beautiful Islay.
PS: Because it’s so popular, accommodation, ferries and event tickets should be booked a good while in advance – but if you even want to just rock up with a tent and end enjoy the vibe, there will be drams and good spirit for you too!
5) National Whisky Festival
- Glasgow Edition – Saturday 07th May 2022
- Aberdeen Edition Saturday 10th September 2022
- Inverness Edition – July 2 2022
The National Whisky Festival, originally organised in Glasgow and then expanded with the Aberdeen edition – and a brand new Inverness date this year – gathers exciting whisky brands, mixology, food and a great line-up of live music, with a fantastic partnership with Celtic Connections at its core. A full day of sipping and learning about fantastic whiskies from around the world.
6) Whisky Stramash (late October 2022 dates to be announced)
In the suggestive setting of Surgeons’ Hall in Edinburgh, the whisky Stramash is a weekend packed with incredible drams from around Scotland and the world. The whole event is very welcoming and might be a little less overwhelming than bigger whisky events but the quality of the samples will make this experience stand out. This is a fantastic opportunity if you are spending some time in Edinburgh or the central belt as it’s easy to reach and navigate.
7) Dornoch Whisky Festival (28th October – 30th October 2022)
If you are into history and do enjoy a scenic castle setting, this weekend-long festival is for you. Organised in the charming historic village of Dornoch, the festival takes place in the atmospheric premises of Dornoch Castle Hotel, which is also the home to an award-winning whisky bar. The Thompson family has owned it for more than 20 years and the new generation has also set up a distillery just next to it! Blind tastings, interesting bottlings, food…a great event in the northern line-up!
8) Glasgow’s Whisky Festival (12th of November 2022)
And last but not least, one of the greatest whisky festivals ever. Glasgow’s Whisky festival has become a symbol of the city. A place where not only distilleries but pretty much everyone in the whisky industry display their most recent accomplishments. It’s a fantastic experience where you will have the chance to discover fantastic drams and industry players you probably haven’t heard of. Distilleries from all the 5 whisky regions, whisky blenders and independent bottlers that oftentimes go off the radar.
If you happen to come to Glasgow in November, we highly encourage you to give it a try. Tickets will go on sale next Saturday the 21st of May at 11 am. So, set your alarms for that day and don’t let this festival escape from your hands. Bear in mind that only happens once a year, so if you let it go this time, you will have to wait until 2023. Bummer!
Finally, if you come to Glasgow or Edinburgh any time of the year, remember we run our tours all year round. Come and join us if you can’t attend any of the festivals above.