The best whisky festivals to look forward to in 2017

We love whisky and we are sure you do too, here is our guide to the best whisky festivals to look out for in 2017.

Published 23rd Feb 2017
Updated 31 st Oct 2023

Following the successful launch of another new whisky festival in the National Whisky Festival, which took place in January and drew in massive crowds in Glasgow, we thought we'd take a look at other whisky festivals to look forward to this year:

Inverness Whisky & Gin Festival

(When: Sat 22nd April, Where: Bogbain Farm, Inshes, Inverness IV2 5BD)

Chivas Brothers

A five-day event celebrating Scottish whisky and gin, the Whisky & Gin and festival offers masterclasses, exhibitions, talks, music and food throughout Inverness and the Highlands.

The Spirit of Speyside Whisky Festival

(When: Thursday 27th April - Monday 1st May, Where: Various venues across Speyside)


A five-day celebration comprising of more than 500 different events, The Spirit of Speyside Whisky Festival is probably the biggest date on the Scottish whisky events calendar. A truly global celebration with attendees looking to travel from 24 different countries to attend this year's event.

The events of offer range from exclusive behind-the-scenes distillery tours, tastings of rare and vintage whiskies and the chance to meet the people behind the production of some of the world’s leading brands.

Many distilleries which are not usually open to the public, including for the first time ever this year, Speyburn and Knockdhu, are also welcoming visitors and sharing their secrets during the Festival.

Stirling Whisky Festival

(When: Saturday 6th May, Where: The Stirling Highland Hotel, Spittal St, Stirling, FK8 1DU)

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Picture: Stirling Whisky Festival

Picture: Stirling Whisky Festival

Going from strength to strength, the Stirling Whisky festival returns bigger than ever this year, as it continues to attract the best distilleries and brands from across Scotland. With over 100 malts, two sessions and access to the distillers, producers and brand managers it is not to be missed.

Run by the Stirling Whisky shop, the first session begins at 11:45am and finishes at 3:15pm, while the second starts at 4pm before the festival is brought to a close at 7.30pm.

Feis Ile 2017 (The Islay Festival)

(When: Friday 26th May to Saturday 3rd June, Where: various venues across Islay)


Insanely popular, Feis Ile is annual pilgrimage for the thousands of peat heads and smoke fans who adore this wonderful little island and all of its distilleries.

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A celebration of the island itself as well as songs, poetry, history, piping, food, classes for Gaelic song and language, the acclaimed resident distilleries usually have a range of events spread across the festival with many of them releasing much sought after limited edition releases for the event.

The distillery programme is usually announced in early spring.

The Whisky Stramash

(When:  Saturday 27th and Sunday 28th May, Where: The Royal College of Surgeons of Edinburgh, Nicolson St, Edinburgh EH8 9DW)


The most eccentric event in the whisky calendar is back this year with another two day event that promises whisky, wondrous experiences and plenty of whimsy.

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Aimed at "challenging stuffy perceptions of Scotch and other worldly whiskies" the event offers plenty of stalls and samples, as well as a variety of interactive experiences and even a barber!

Jura's Tastival

(When: Thursday 1st June, Where: Isle of Jura)


Each year, Jura distillery invites whisky fans from across the world to join them for their Tastival, a one day celebration on the Isle of Jura.

Featuring famous faces like Willy Tait, Willie Cochrane (both sadly now retired) and Richard Paterson in previous years, the event is always filled with some fantastic talks, food pairings drams and beers for everyone to enjoy.

The full line up will be announced in Spring.

Edinburgh Whisky Festival

(When: Saturday 17th June, Where: The Assembly Rooms, George Street , Edinburgh, EH2 2LR)


Picture: Simon Johnston\

The Whisky Lounge Event is celebrating its fifth year in the capital, heading back to the Assembly Rooms on George Street.

Running over two sessions, the festival offers a fantastic array of whiskies from Scotland and around the world as well as a selection of masterclasses to please even the most demanding of whisky aficionado.

West Coast Whisky Fèis

(When: Saturday 22nd July, Where: The Skipinnish Ceilidh House 34-38 George St, Oban PA34 5NL)

Chivas Brothers

The brainchild of the owners of the the Oban Whisky & Fine Wines shop, this new festival aims to celebrate the fantastic spirit and produce available on Scotland's west coast.

Entry includes a free glass and a lanyard as well as access to all of the vendors and samples, the festival is also offering masterclasses and a unique nosing competition that could see you in a great bottle of whisky.

There will be food on offer from local producers - so don't forget to have a bite between drams.

Doors open for the single session at 12pm and close at 6pm.

Whisky Fringe

(When: Friday 11th, Saturday 12th and Sunday 13th August,  Where: Mansfield Traquair, Edinburgh, EH3 6BB )

One of the prettiest venues you are sure to find for any whisky festival. Picture:

One of the prettiest venues you are sure to find for any whisky festival. Picture: kim traynor\

Royal Mile Whiskie's premier event returns to the Mansfield Traquair this August, promising three days of four hour sessions jam packed with the best and brightest of the Scottish (and global) distilling scene.

Tickets for all three days go on sale at 12pm on the 14th of March 2017 and can be bought here.

Spirit of Speyside: Distilled

(When: Where: Elgin Town Hall, 1 Trinity Pl, Elgin IV30 1UL)

Picture: Spirit of Speyside Distilled

Picture: Spirit of Speyside Distilled

The younger hipper sibling to the Spirit of Speyside festival was launched last year, aimed at a catering for the next generation of whisky and spirit fans from across Scotland and beyond.

The region's top whisky distillers and food and drink producers appear under one roof on the doorstep for a second year following last year's successful inaugural event.

With a plethora of exhibitors, master classes and more, there's plenty here for everyone to enjoy.

Glasgow's Whisky Festival

(When:  Saturday 11th November,  Where: Hampden Park, Glasgow G42 9BA)

Glasgow's biggest whisky festival returns to hampden. Picture: Glasgow's Whisky Festival

Glasgow's biggest whisky festival returns to hampden. Picture: Glasgow's Whisky Festival

Glasgow’s Whisky Festival will return to Hampden Park on Saturday November 11th 2017. Now in its 9th year, the festival will run over two sessions with session 1 running from 12pm to 4pm and Session 2 taking place from 5pm until 9pm.

As one of the biggest festivals in the country, there will be more than 50 whisky stands featuring Scotland’s best drams, as wellas whiskies from all over the world.

Whisky-related art, books, food and other items will also be available on the day and tickets go on sale in March.

Other notable events:

The Falkirk Whisky Festival

(When: 19th August, Where: Dobbie Hall, Main Street. Larbert, FK5 4BL)

Another popular little event that's already close to selling out at time of writing, the Festival will return to Larbert’s Dobbie Hall in 2017.

Following its sell out inaugural year, the event will be offering drams from some of the best distilleries and independent bottlers in Scotland over two sessions.

Whisky An 'A That

(When: Saturday, 3rd June, Where: Ayr Town Hall, New Bridge Street, Ayr, KA7 1JX)

The Ayr whisky festival is back and as popular as ever (it's already sold out) with whiskies from more than 30 companies available on the day.

Campbeltown Malts Festival

(When: Wednesday 24th to Friday 26th May, Where: various venues Campbeltown)

Campbeltown Malts Festival celebrates the former whisky capital's distilleries and spirit with multiple events over three days including plans for a special Cadenhead 175th Anniversary Dinner on the Friday evening.

Drambusters Whisky Festival

(When: TBA - usually around November, Where: Dumfries)

Another cracking little festival that deserves some attention is the Drambusters Whisky festival in Dumfries. Run by the local Wine & Spirits Shop, it's been growing in stature over the years and is well worth checking out when it is announced later this year.

Driven by a passion for all things drinks-related, Sean writes for The Scotsman extensively on the subject. He can also sometimes be found behind the bar at the world famous Potstill bar in Glasgow where he continues to enhance his whisky knowledge built up over 10 years advising customers from all over the world on the wonders of our national drink. Recently, his first book was published. Dubbed Gin Galore, it explores Scotland's best gins and the stories behind those that make them.
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