Whisky Focus - Highland Whisky Festival 2019

Highland Whisky Festival 2019

24th April 2019
The inaugural Highland Whisky Festival will see eight northern Highland distilleries come together for a series of exclusive tastings, tours, and events between the 10th - 17th May 2019.

Highland Whisky Festival 2019

Having been named one of the Lonely Planet’s ‘Best In Travel’ destinations in 2019, eight Highland Distilleries are proud to introduce The Highland Whisky Festival, a brand-new Whisky Festival to celebrate the established Highland Whisky Trail.

The inaugural Highland Whisky Festival, which will be held between the 10th - 17th May 2019, it will see eight distilleries coming together for the first time ever for a series of exclusive tastings, tours, and events. Each will host visitors from the world over to showcase the centuries of tradition, process, and craft of their home.

Event and ticket information is now available via the website www.highlandwhiskyfestival.co.uk - with a host of tastings and tours, plus a handy planner inclusive of accommodation and restaurant options to ensure your trip is as seamless as possible.

The Festival team are working hard behind the scenes with local and national businesses to offer a truly unforgettable experience for attendees. With each distillery hosting an open day with exclusive events and tastings, it’s an unmissable experience for even the most seasoned of whisky enthusiasts. The North-East Coast of Scotland offers visitors breath-taking - impressive scenery, fantastic accommodation, and exceptional dining experiences.

Highland Whisky Festival Events Itinerary:

10th May Wolfburn Distillery

  • Distillery Tour £15
    "All will be welcomed at Wolfburn Distillery, the most Northerly Whisky Distillery on the UK mainland where Fortune Favours The Brave for an exclusive open day. Our open day is a production day, which means visitors will be able to see, smell and hear all the inner workings within the Distillery via escorted tours, the history of the Distillery will be shared, alongside our way of making whisky. Questions are encouraged, as we’ll have two fountains of knowledge on hand to share the answers. The tour is led by Charlie Ross, and International Brand Ambassador, Mark Westmoreland. It finishes with a tasting of some quality drams on the Distillery floor, in front of the stills – a truly unique and unforgettable experience."

  • Wolfburn Highland Whisky Festival Bottling - Limited Edition £64
    "Wolfburn has produced a stunning limited edition bottling to celebrate the first ever Highland Whisky Festival. If you visit the Distillery, be sure to pick up one of the 660 limited bottles for £64. The Whisky is matured in Ex-Bourbon Casks and is named ‘Highland Whisky Festival Bottling 2019’"

11TH MAY Old Pulteney Distillery

  • The Pulteney Tour £10
    You will experience a behind-the-scenes tour of our distillery, and of course, no tour is complete without sampling the end product, and the hour-long Pulteney Tour concludes with a dram of our definitive 12-Year-Old and one other selected Pulteney dram.
  • Malcolm Waring's Masterclass £100
    "An in-depth Whisky Masterclass with Distillery Manager, Malcolm Waring. Learn more about Old Pulteney and taste Malcolm’s favourite drams in one of our private warehouses, which is not open to the general public. Run exclusively for The Highland Whisky Festival, this one and a half hour, masterclass is a once in a lifetime experience."
  • Pulteney Pairings £40
    Hosted in the Old Pulteney Distillery tasting room, this one-hour exclusive masterclass will allow you to taste Old Pulteney 12, Huddart, 15, 18 and the Distillery Single Cask along with a food pairing using local ingredients by our chef.

12TH MAY Clynelish Distillery

  • Clynelish Operator's Tour £20
    Join our team for a festival tour, accompanied by one of our friendly tour guides and a knowledgeable distillery operator plus you will be invited to join us for a dram of our distillery exclusive bottle paired with chocolate.
  • Clynelish Manager's Experience £60
    Join our distillery manager, Kevin Innes, for a technical tour of Clynelish Distillery with access to areas not normally available to the public, and join him in a dram of our distillery exclusive bottling.
  • Brora Distillery Manager's Experience £200
    Join Stewart Bowman, the manager responsible for breathing life back into Brora Distillery, to learn about their rich heritage, plus get a sneak peek at what the future holds whilst raising a glass of Brora Single Malt too.
  • Johnnie Walker Masterclass £65
    Join our Global Scotch Brand Ambassador, Tom Jones, for a Master Class with perfectly paired canapés in The Highland Home of Johnnie Walker.
  • Game of Thrones Single Malt Tasting £70
    Venture north to Clynelish and join us in tasting all of these rare scotches; each one paired with one of the iconic Houses of Westeros, as well as the Night’s Watch, giving you a taste of the Kingdoms and beyond.
  • Rare and Old Masterclass £150
    We are delighted to announce a master class hosted by our Global Brand Ambassador, Ewan Gunn, guiding you through five truly rare and once-in-a-lifetime drams.
  • Fill Your Own Bottle £90
    To mark the first year, Clynelish are offering you the opportunity to fill your own bottle, direct from the cask, to take home as a memento of the first ever Highland Whisky Festival.
  • Whisky and Chocolate Experience £6
    A match made in heaven: Jazz, the creator of our luxury chocolates and the owner of The Highland Patissier, will be joining us to deliver an amazing chocolate demonstration.
  • Ceilidh with Clynelish £95
    Our team will be hosting an evening consisting the finest local produce and our best scotch. Join us for a cocktail on arrival and a five course whisky dinner with 5 perfectly paired drams. To finish off the evening you will enjoy a traditional ceilidh with the Black Rock ceilidh band. The perfect way to end a day celebrating 200 years of Clynelish.

13TH MAY Balblair Distillery

  • The Highland Hospitality Tour £25
    Intimate and educational, our Highland Hospitality Tour provides a great taste of what it takes to produce our whisky plus sample two drams from our collection.
  • John MacDonald's Masterclass £100
    Join our Distillery Manager, John MacDonald on an exclusive and in-depth tour of Balblair Distillery, plus a guided tasting of four whiskies from our collection.
  • An Evening with the Angels' Share £150
    Join us for an intimate four-course meal and carefully selected whiskies from Balblair, with the Distillery Manager, plus a private showing of the Angels' Share in dunnage warehouse No 3.

14TH MAY Glenmorangie Distillery

  • The Glenmorangie Distillery Experience £15
    "The Glenmorangie Distillery Experience tour guides you through the distillery, before going behind the scenes to our Anaerobic Digestion Plant and finishing with a tasting of Glenmorangie Original. Price includes a guided tasting of Glenmorangie Original and a special edition Glenmorangie Highland Whisky Festival tasting glass."
  • Private Edition Tour and Tasting £30
    "This in-depth tour allows guests to discover areas of the Distillery which inspired our award-winning Private Edition single malts, before enjoying a tasting with one of our globally renowned Whisky Ambassadors. Price includes a guided tasting of three Glenmorangie Private Edition single malts and a special edition Glenmorangie Highland Whisky Festival tasting glass."
  • Old and Rare Tasting £45
    "We invite you to immerse yourself in a truly exquisite tasting of some of Glenmorangie’s oldest and rarest single malts, paired with a selection of Highland cheeses. Price includes a guided tasting of three Glenmorangie Prestige single malts and a special edition Glenmorangie Highland Whisky Festival tasting glass."
  • Rare Cask Dining Experience £120
    "We invite you to join us for a unique and intimate dining experience, to celebrate a new and exclusive Glenmorangie Distillery Rare Cask release with our Distillery Manager, Andy MacDonald. Price includes Glenmorangie cocktails and canapes, four course Highland Dinner, coffee/ drams of Glenmorangie Signet and a tasting of Glenmorangie Distillery Rare Cask. Option to purchase Glenmorangie Rare Cask release, Cask 1784 at an additional price. Limited number of tickets available. Duration: 7pm – 10pm"

15TH MAY Dalmore Distillery

  • The Dalmore Experience £50
    "Join the team at The Dalmore for a truly special tour and tasting. Distillery Manager Stuart Robertson and Operations Director Shane Healy will take you on a guided tour of our brand home, sharing tales and insights of our production process. After this, you will be led to the banks of The Cromarty Firth. Overlooking the Firth, Richard Paterson and Shauna Jennens will lead you through a tasting of four very special whiskies. The whiskies include two cask samples, a preview of the new distillery exclusive, plus The Dalmore King Alexander III. A truly unforgettable experience. Tours and tastings are limited to 15 guests, making this an intimate experience."

16TH MAY Glen Ord Distillery

  • Distillery Operator Tour £25
    Exclusively for the Highland Whisky Festival you can join one of our Senior Operators for a Tour of Glen Ord Distillery including a tasting of The Singleton of Glen Ord 12, 15 and 18 year old whiskies.
  • Behind the Scenes Distillery Tour £40
    Not only will you experience the sights and smells of our distillery but here you will have the rare opportunity to test your own skills taking grist and wash samples, as well as a spirit charge from the SRWV.
  • Malting Operator Tour £25
    Join one of our Senior Operators to gain an insight into the inner workings of our modern drum maltings before enjoying 4 specially selected whiskies.
  • Behind the Scenes Maltings Tour £40
    An opportunity to see our Drum Maltings through the eyes of a Senior Operator with entry into a drying kiln, the chance to see inside a drum and experience the smell and warmth of the peat fire.
  • Warehouse Tasting Experience £15
    Enjoy a tutored nosing and tasting of The Singleton Range (Singleton of Glen Ord, Singleton of Dufftown & Singleton of Glendullan) in the fantastic surroundings of our duty-free warehouse.
  • Cocktail Masterclass £20
    "Malt Whisky in Cocktails? Why Not! You’re not supposed to put whisky in cocktails, especially not Malt Whisky” - NONSENSE! The world best bartenders are mixing world class cocktails with Single Malt whisky. This talk, held by Global Singleton Ambassador Ervin Trykowski, will analyse attitudes towards Malt Whisky and talk about the past, present and future of Scotland’s national treasure being used behind the stick! You will be sure to leave with a smile on your face after a sampling of three different cocktails as well as three Single Malt Scotch Whiskies."
  • Sing a Song of Singleton £30
    Join Global Singleton Ambassador Ervin Trykowski and Diageo Global Whisky Master Ewan Gunn for a celebration of whisky and music. You will have the opportunity to try expressions of The Singleton distilled in each of the past four decades, paired with music from each era played on a state of the art stereo system. You decide which tracks make the final cut.
  • Fill Your Own Bottle £90
    To celebrate the first ever Highland Whisky Festival, you can fill your very own bottle of The Singleton of Glen Ord Single Malt Scotch Whisky directly from the cask. The perfect memento!
  • Cooperage Display FREE
    This is the perfect chance to chat with one of our coopers – coming all the way from Cambus, Callum Carberry will be delighted to show you the ropes! Learn more about the hard work the coopers put in to allow our casks to mature the finest whisky.

17TH MAY Tomatin Distillery

  • Legacy Tour with Cheese and Chocolate Pairings £10
    Explore our distillery and learn how we produce our award winning whiskies. You will learn about the unique legacy of Tomatin which, having started in 1897, is the driving force for the company today. Finish up with three of our Tomatin Single Malts, each revealing why we are the ‘softer side of the Highlands’. For added fun on our festival day, we will demonstrate how well our whiskies lend themselves as pairings, including chocolate from Highland Patissier and cheese from a local Highland supplier. This tour includes the tasting of three whiskies; Tomatin Legacy, Cù Bòcan & Antiquary.
  • Stillman's Tour with Cooperage Demonstration £25
    Join our Stillman, David Milne, for a bespoke tour of Tomatin Distillery where he will offer a unique insight into what exactly makes Tomatin single malt. Enjoy unrivalled access to all aspects of whisky production from malt to maturation, finished with a working cooperage demonstration. Taste our surprisingly sweet & mellow new make spirit & a selection of four Tomatin Single Malt expressions throughout this tour. This tour includes the tasting of four whiskies; 12 Year Old, Cask Strength, 14 Year Old, 18 Year Old.
  • Distillery Manager Experience £55
    Come and discover the history of Tomatin Distillery; once the largest producing distillery in Scotland, with a one on one personal tour with our Distillery Manager Graham Eunson. Nestled high amongst the beautiful Monaliadth Mountains, your exclusive visit will take you on a tale through time, the changing landscapes of the distillery’s history & what makes our single malt so special. Finished with an extensive and detailed tasting of five malts personally selected by Graham, for you to enjoy. This tour includes the tasting of five whiskies; 18 Year Old, 30 Year Old, 36 Year Old, Warehouse 6 Collection, 1975 and a personal favourite single cask of Graham Eunson’s choice.
  • Evening Whisky Pairing Dinner £125
    To celebrate the end of the first ever Highland Whisky Festival, join Regional Brand Ambassador Alistair Mutch and Distillery Manager Graham Eunson for a night of fine dining and exclusive whisky in the Adams room at the Kingsmills Hotel, Inverness. After a welcome dram of Tomatin 30 Year Old, enjoy a five course meal designed exclusively for the event by Kingsmills, with wine. After dinner enjoy the most luxurious flight of whiskies from Tomatin which includes; 36 Year Old, Warehouse 6 1975 and Tomatin 50 Year Old (our oldest and most exclusive single malt release).
  • Tomatin Highland Whisky Festival Bottling £75
    "Available from the Tomatin Visitor Centre on the 17th of May.2008 single cask finished in a first fill cabernet sauvignon French wine barrique. 60.2% alc.\vol.
    Nose – Notes of sweet, sticky pineapple & white peach, laced with hints of raspberry liquorice & cinnamon.
    Palate – Warming spices that meet on the tongue are then joined by a myriad of walnuts, hazelnuts & pecan.
    Finish – A long & slightly dry finish accompanied by notes of pine & rich red berries."

Festival coordinator Katie Waugh says that the union between eight world-class distilleries, each with their own story to tell, would surely make a fantastic addition to the Scottish Whisky Festival scene. She added:

"Building on the successes of both the Spirit of Speyside Whisky Festival and Islay Whisky Festival and with the continuing increase in Whisky tourism especially along the North Coast 500 we identified an opportunity for the Highland Distilleries to have a festival of their own. Between the 8 distilleries, we have over 1000 years of craftsmanship and experience in producing whisky. What differentiates Highland Distilleries is that they are spread far and wide along the North Coast 500. The effort of travelling is rewarded not only by world-class whiskies but stunning landscapes and the warm welcoming Highland hospitality. ….

"A successful union between a world-class driving route, eight internationally revered distilleries and the hospitality of the Highland people will result in an eight daylong celebration of Scotland’s national spirit. The Highland Whisky Festival will play host to an international audience, allowing visitors to experience eight unique distilleries on the circuit through exclusive tastings, tours, and appreciations. Not to mention the aforementioned welcome from the Highland inhabitants. The North Coast 500 added £9 million worth of revenue to the region alone, with an additional 29,000 visitors between 2016-17. Scotland saw a record number of 1.9 million visits to distilleries and a spend of £60.9 million (an increase of 15.6% from 2016), therefore we anticipate our inaugural Festival to be successful and well-visited."

VisitScotland is delighted to support the Highland Whisky Festival, particularly with the recent accolade being given by the Lonely Planet. VisitScotland believes that with the success of the North Coast 500 and the year-on-year growth of whisky tourism, that a Highland addition to the Whisky Festival circuit will bring growth to the economy and an awareness of a much-loved region of Whisky production.

Chris Taylor, VisitScotland’s Regional Leadership Director, said: "Whisky is one of Scotland’s most valuable commodities, attracting visitors from all over the world, with one in five visitors making a trip to a whisky distillery during their stay.

"As one of the largest whisky-producing regions in Scotland, the Highlands is a veritable paradise for lovers of a wee dram with whisky a vital part of local tourism. With all eyes on the Highlands and Islands next year – following Lonely Planet naming it Best in Travel 2019 – this new festival will be a great addition to the visitor experience and shine a spotlight on the area’s links to our iconic national drink."

If you cant make it up to the north coast for the festival you can still find the current whisky ranges of all the eight distilleries taking part in the festival available from specialist online whisky retailers such as The Whisky Exchange, The Whisky Shop and Master of Malt

Where To Buy Whisky Online

Select a country for a list of specialist Whisky shops who delivers to you:


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