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  • Writer's pictureMarc Pulisci

Best Whiskey Festivals To Visit This Year

This is an article “Best Whiskey Festivals To Visit This Year” by Marc Pulisci

All over the world, whiskey enthusiasts celebrate this fermented grain mash spirit in unique ways. The drink builds communities that bring strangers together to appreciate its varied flavors, mixes, and satisfaction. Get ready to experience some of the world's best whiskey festivals that any world traveler must try while on the road.

Most whiskey festivals occur annually, so you don't have to worry about missing out on any experiences. From honoring the best distilleries to sampling rare whiskeys from around the world, these festivals have different things to offer any tourist who wants to know more about the culture of making whiskey.

Here are six fantastic festivals you would want to include in your travel calendar if you are a big whiskey fan:

Glasgow, Scotland

The annual Glasgow Whisky Festival is known for raising glasses for Scotland's national drink. An array of whiskey brands from Europe across Asia takes center stage during the festival, with an average of nearly 70 exhibitors per year.

Of course, this November festival wouldn't be complete without connoisseurs to answer questions from attendees about anything that concerns whiskey, plus elite and enduring brands like Glenfiddich, Glencairn, and James Eadie on hand.

If you are wary of crowds, better prepare because the festival attracts over 2,000 attendees each year. If you want to find some quiet time while in Glasgow, you can sneak away to the city's center, where you can appreciate a mural trail of modern street artworks.

You could also visit the Hunterian Museum and Art Gallery over at the University of Glasgow, the oldest public museum in Scotland and home to masterpieces from Rembrandt, James McNeill Whistler, and more. But why pass the chance to learn more about your favorite drink at the heart where it was born?

London, United Kingdom

London's Whisky Show: Old and Rare features rare and antique whiskey brands from Japan, the U.S., or Ireland. Most brands are independent distilleries that attract the finest collectors from around the globe. Be sure to sample some of the featured whiskey brands or make a purchase from over 600 choices for cheaper price tags by the dram.

This 2-day show co-founded by whiskey experts Sukhinder Singh, Angus MacRaild, and Jonny McMillan features a vast collection of vintage brands. The organizers would usually hold masterclasses for over 1,000 whiskey fans attending the events. In previous years, one such must-see event was the Ardbeg masterclass that delved into the history and legends of whiskeys from the 1970s.

Learn the art of bottling and the different styles of producing whiskey, and taste this enchanting spirit as you've never tasted it before. That's an Old and Rare promise.

Nagoya, Japan

Over in Asia, Japanese whiskey culture takes on a different approach when it comes to festivals. The Nagoya Whisky Lovers Festival showcases some of the best and rarest collectibles from all over the country, including distilleries from Shinshu, Chichibu, and Shizuoka.

Western whiskeys are also featured, but this festival is truly one of a kind since the global whiskey game had just recognized Japan as a genuine game-changer. This festival is truly a must-see for true blue whiskey fans who go for blended malt Scotch whiskey matured in a sherry cask, spin-off cocktails, or samples. Unfortunately, the January festival has been suspended this year due to Japan's strict protocols on COVID-19. Not to worry, though, as there's always next year to experience and enjoy the fascinating flavors of Japanese whiskey.

Fife, Scotland

Though the Fife Whisky Festival is only five years old, its origin can be traced to when the Corn Exchange in Cupar was built in 1862. Its upper and lower halls became the perfect site to hold one of the world's most celebrated annual whisky festivals, which host over 30 distilleries and independent bottlers from all over the kingdom of Scotland.

Both small players and big-name distilleries join forces to give attendees masterclasses, samples and featured merchandise during the festivals. This year, a 30-year veteran in the whiskey-making industry named Luvians served as the festival's onsite retailer. The team featured five drams in a hybrid wine tasting event, namely Lindores Single Cask #229 (2018), Daftmill Single Cask #431 (2009), Kingsbarns Distillery Reserve (2021), Eden Mill (2021), and its very own Luvians/James Eadie Single Cask Exclusive Cameronbrig 23yo Madeira Finish.

New Orleans, United States

Here at home, several whiskey festivals are also celebrated every year. While Kentucky is the premier place for whiskey in the country, another most celebrated and attended annual whiskey festival is the New Orleans Bourbon Festival or what is popularly known as The Big Easy.

For those wondering about the difference between bourbon and whiskey, whiskey distilleries use fermented grains such as barley, corn, or wheat. On the other hand, bourbon is the American version of the spirit but only with at least 51% corn in its makeup.

So if you've ever been to Bourbon Street in New Orleans, you know where the name probably came from. The Big Easy's two-day event is ablaze with left and right parties held inside speakeasy venues featuring samples of the best in the world and even food and jazz pairings, encouraging attendees to adopt New Orleans' brand of bourbon culture and lifestyle. Indeed, there's never a dull minute when attending its festivals.

Victoria, B.C. Canada

British Columbia's Victoria Whisky Festival held its most recent event in 2020. Due to the rise of the Omicron variant in the area, sadly, this year's festivities had to be canceled again. But if you want to experience one of the world's best whisky festivals, your patience will be rewarded once it returns, hopefully by January 2023.

The festivity lasts for four days, one of the longest whisky festivals out there, so you'll know that you'll be sampling a wide variety of bottles and brands that may include the Canadian Club. World-class distilleries are always on hand to conduct masterclasses, including connoisseurs from Jim Beam and Sazerac in previous years.

Once the festival makes a comeback, be sure to attend the Canadian Whisky Awards to learn more about what sets Canadian whiskies apart from its global counterparts.


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