Everything you need to know about The National Whisky Festival

Scotland’s newest celebration of our national drink takes place this weekend, showcasing the best in all things whisky. Here's everything you need to know.

Published 24th Jan 2017
Updated 21 st Sep 2023

What is The National Whisky Festival of Scotland?

As part of Celtic Connections 2017, the first annual National Whisky Festival of Scotland will be the place to be for whisky fans in Scotland this January.

On Saturday 28th January, slap-bang in the middle of the biggest winter festival in Europe, 1,600 whisky enthusiasts will descend upon SWG3 in Glasgow’s west end for 7 hours of drams, masterclasses, talks, food & an astounding programme of live music curated by Celtic Connections and Synergy Concerts.

• Over 50 exhibitors presenting the best of the national drink and drams from around the world

• Full programme of informative, entertaining talks on whisky history, production and culture

• Masterclasses (charged separately) - private, tutored tastings of your favourite brands and expressions

• Fantastic programme of live music curated by Celtic Connections and Synergy Concerts

• Local restaurants will be present, providing excellent fare to compliment the whisky

• Good Spirits will host an off-sales featuring a large range of the featured brands

Where will The National Whisky Festival be held?

SWG3, 100 Eastvale Place, Finnieston, Glasgow, G3 8QG


Saturday 28 th January 2017

The Whisky Exchange has revealed the Whisky of the Year 2024

Opening Hours:

Session 1 – 12pm – 3:30pm (LAST FEW REMAINING)
Session 2 – 4pm – 7:30pm (SOLD OUT)


Tickets for the event are £35.00 per session, which includes unlimited access to all tastings from our exhibitors, entertainment and a branded Glencairn whisky glass for each whisky fan to take home.

Available from: http://nationalwhiskyfestival.scot/#tickets

Masterclass tickets:

Mulled wine recipe: how to make the spiced Christmas drink, best wine and glasses to use - and history explained

Session 1 ticketholders: http://bit.ly/NWFmaster1

Session 2 ticketholders: http://bit.ly/NWFmaster2

Getting There:

By train/walking: SWG3 is just 10 minutes walk from Kelvinhall and Partick subway stations and 15 minutes walk from Finnieston Station. To reach SWG3, walk along Argyle Street turning right down Kelvinhaugh Street.

SWG3 is also 10 minutes drive from Glasgow Central Station (and 15 minutes drive from Glasgow Airport).

By car: A number of parking bays can be found on the streets around SWG3.

Isle of Tiree Distillery to release first single malt whisky

Please note that, during the festival there will be no parking available on Eastvale Place.

(l-r) Andrew, Scott, Stewart Laing

The organisers tell us a little bit more about the exhibitors:

A. D. Rattray - A. D. Rattray (A D Rattray's Whisky Experience & Shop Kirkoswald) are an independent bottler of single malt Scotch whisky, they will be showcasing their Stronachie, Cask Islay and Bank Note brands and the bottling of unusual and exclusive casks of Scotch whisky as part of the A. D. Rattray Cask Collection.

Angel’s Share Glass - Angels' Share Glass is an award winning glass manufacturer. Based in the heart of Scotland, they produce innovative and unique designs for the whisky lover.

See their range and test their award winning water droppers and whisky giftware for yourself at The National Whisky Festival.

Annandale Distillery -  The most ambitious tourism story in Dumfries and Galloway is the rebirth of the old Annandale Distillery and its transformation into a 21st century whisky making centre and visitor attraction.

They will showcase their New Make Spirit, ‘Rascally Liquor’ at the festival.

Arbikie - It will be a most worthwhile wait for the Arbikie Highland Estate Single Malt and whilst that matures we are delighted to have the flavoursome Arbikie spirit ranges with us for our inaugural event.

Showcasing on the day will be the smooth Arbikie Vodka, punchy Strawberry Arbikie Vodka, fiery Chilli Vodka, alongside the World renowned Kirsty’s Gin (Arbikie Gin).

The Arbikie Highland Estate's second permanent gin, AK’s Gin, a honey-and- wheat distilled spirit, which features botanicals including black pepper, mace and cardamom, will also be available for sampling.

Ardbeg -  Ardbeg, a true peat-lover's dream, has been called “as close to perfection as makes no difference" by whisky connoisseurs.

It’s a whisky that’s worshipped around the world and has been named ‘World Whisky of the Year’ no less than 4 times out of the last 7 years, they will be showcasing their excellent core range.

Benromach - A distillery that takes no shortcuts in its traditional whisky production - Benromach's three distillers take everything slowly, using their hands to create beautiful products with classic pre-1960s Speyside character.

At the festival, they will be presenting for your delectation: the 5 Year Old, 10 Year Old, 15 Year Old, Organic and Peat Smoke expressions.

Bruichladdich - Bruichladdich was built by Barnett Harvey in 1881. Five years later, the Bruichladdich Distillery Company was founded and renovation and refurbishment commenced.

The ‘Laddie’, as it is affectionately known, is often considered to be the fruitiest, most inventive Islay malt and, indeed, there has been some contention as to whether it has truly attained Islay-status.

Bruichladdich countered this with the introduction of the Port Charlotte range and later with the 2008-released Octomore, the world’s most heavily peated whisky with a phenol content of 131 ppm.

Compass Box -  We are very excited to announce that contemporary blending masters Compass Box Whisky will be exciting your taste buds at this year's National Whisky Festival.

They will be bringing a plethora of their premium blended whiskies, including:

Peat Monster, Hedonism, Spice Tree, Oak Cross, Asyla and the Great King St Glasgow Blend.

Dewar’s - Founded in 1846 by John Dewar, John Dewar & Sons Ltd has grown from a small wine and spirits merchant shop in Perth, Scotland, to become a global brand.

The distinguished drams of Aberfeldy, Aultmore, Craigellachie, The Deveron and Royal Brackla fall under the ‘John Dewar and Sons Fine Whisky Emporium’ portfolio and will be showcased at the festival.

Douglas Laing - Established in 1948, Douglas Laing is a leading creator and purveyor of the finest Scotch Whisky with particular focus on artisan, Small Batch and Single Cask bottlings.

A proud family business in its third generation, our goal is to continually exceed the expectations of our customers and consumers around the world by offering the most special, quality- driven and unique Scotch Whisky experience.

Elements of Islay - We're getting scientific as the fantastic Elements of Islay join us at The National Whisky Festival this year.

The individual whiskies within the Elements of Islay range are bottled either as single casks or individual batches of between five and twenty carefully selected casks from a single distillery.

Come try their distinct bottlings from various Islay distilleries, which capture the character of the great peaty isle.

Elements of Islay's whisky ambassador will also be holding a masterclass into these flavoursome drams.

Fraiser Liqueur -  Fraiser Of Scotland is a uniquely Scottish drink blending the flavours of premium Scotch whisky with wild strawberries.


Glenfarclas -  Glenfarclas is renowned for producing Single Highland Malt Scotch Whisky in the traditional Speyside style, with a heavy Sherry influence.

Glenmorangie -  The Sixteen Men of Tain are coming to Glasgow in January.

We are extremely excited to announce that the one and only Glenmorangie will be exhibiting the Glenmorangie Original, the Lasanta, the Quinta Ruban and the Necta D’or.

Glenturret - A contender for the title of "Scotland’s oldest distillery",  Glenturret will be emerging from its hidden glen in idyllic rural Perthshire to visit Glasgow this January, in the following forms:

Glenturret Sherry Cask Edition, Glenturret Triplewood Edition, Glenturret Peated Edition and the Glenturret Haka.

Heaven Hill - Founded shortly after the repeal of Prohibition in 1933, Heaven Hill has since become the largest independent, family-owned producer and marketer of distilled spirits in the United States.

Heaven Hill‘s success is due to a mix of good business acumen, continuity, heritage and uncompromising craftsmanship. The company is still owned by descendants of the founding Shapira brothers and six generations of the famous Beam family have overseen the distillation.

Hot Rum Cow vs. World Whisky Day -  On the Hot Rum Cow v World Whisky Day stand, they'll be giving away free copies of their beautiful booze magazine Hot Rum Cow.

You will also be able to chat to Editor Simon Lyle and World Whisky Day founder Blair Bowman. They'll be holding a free raffle for a bottle of whisky, to be announced on the day (but it’ll be something good), and visitors can also sign up for free to receive Whisky Wednesday and their Hot Rum Cow newsletter.

They are also hosting a very special masterclass in session two.

The Weird & Wonderful World of Whisky: 20 extraordinary short stories (all true) about Scotland’s national drink, including surprise drams.

Ian MacLeod Distillers - 

Glengoyne - Perfected over the generations, since 1833. Glengoyne’s stills are Scotland’s slowest, the gentlest of journeys creating a unique flavour. No peat is used in the barley drying process, allowing the subtle, complex flavours of slow distillation and exquisite wood to shine through. Glengoyne’s natural colour comes from time and wood alone.

Matured in hand-selected sherry casks, stacked just three high in the cool darkness of its stone-built warehouses.

Tamdhu - Tamdhu was born on the banks of the River Spey in 1897, in an era when anything seemed possible – the age of the "can-dhu- spirit". Matured exclusively in sherry oak casks, every drop is as magnificent now as it was then.

Tamdhu's water is drawn directly from the Tamdhu spring and its malted barley has just a hint of peat. Once distilled, the spirit is matured in some of the finest European and American oak sherry casks in the industry, a high proportion of which are first-fill. Over time, these fine oak casks give Tamdhu its wondrous natural colour and exquisite quality.

Smokehead - Contemporary, individual and exciting, Smokehead appeals to bold and adventurous whisky drinkers who are looking for something challenging and different. A heavily-peated Islay single malt whisky of the highest quality, Smokehead hits you like a cannonball and takes you on an explosive rollercoaster of peat, smoke and spice with a little delicate sweetness thrown in.

Indie Brands

Arran Malts - The location offers perfect water for whisky production, cleansed by granite and softened by peat as it comes down from the mountain above. The atmosphere of sea breezes and clear mountain air together with the warm flow of the Gulf Stream matures the Arran Malt to perfection in earth floored warehouses.

Platte Valley - The original Platte Valley, an authentic American moonshine. Smooth, complex and full of character, Platte Valley offers a premium taste that could only come from more than 150 years of whiskey making experience.

A true expression of the South, this small batch 100% Straight Corn Whiskey is hand-crafted in ceramic jugs with a cork finish. This is one Moonshine that can't be contained by a jar.

Peat's Beast - Strong and bold with plenty of backbone and structure as this great monster unfolds its fiery fangs on your palate. This is not for the faint hearted. Take a generous mouthful with a biting wind blowing furiously in your face.

Hold it long in your mouth allow the thick tar, peat smoke and creamy liquorice to penetrate every part of your tongue. Time will tame it. There is indeed unashamed beauty in this beast.

Starward - STARWARD began with a simple vision: offer the world a modern whisky unshackled from tradition. This whisky is the culmination of nine years of research and development. Working with Australian barley and barrels we have adopted, adjusted and re-adjusted distilling and maturation techniques from around the world – continually observing the influence of time, place and the natural elements.

STARWARD borrows from the past without being constrained by it, and combines it with the best Australia has to offer: our barley, our barrels, and our climate. This world class malt is a true reflection of the place and people who make it.

Yamazakura - The name itself a portmanteau of two Japanese terms "Yama" means "mountain" and "Sakura" means cherry tree. If you think about it, a portmanteau is kind of like a blend but with words, so this name is rather apt for a Japanese blended whisky.

Islay Whisky Distillery Prints - Jane Taylor lives on the Isle of Islay, the most southern of the Inner Hebrides, off the west coast of Scotland. The island provides inspiration for her drawings and paintings. Although she enjoys and appreciates Islay’s world famous single malt whiskies, it’s the distillery buildings themselves that fascinate her.

In stunning locations around the island, the distilleries sit comfortably in their local environment, detracting nothing from the landscape.

Just as each whisky has its individual taste and aromas, so the scale, shape and form of each distillery differs one from an other. Like the spirit they produce, the distilleries have some features in common and some which are unique. All their qualities are represented in this set of prints from Jane’s original acrylic paintings

Kilchoman - Established in 2005, Kilchoman (pronounced Kil-ho- man) is one of the smallest distilleries in Scotland. Based on a farm on the rugged west coast of Islay, Kilchoman was the first distillery to be built on the island for 125 years. Kilchoman displays all that is great about the grass- roots traditions of Scotch whisky distilling.

As well as being one of only a handful of distilleries still practicing floor malting, barley is also grown on the farm, making Kilchoman the only distillery to complete all parts of the whisky making process on site. Kilchoman truly is Islay’s farm distillery - from barley to bottling.

Loch Lomond Group -  From Glen Scotia Double Cask, which was recently voted “Whisky of the Year” by Scottish Field Magazine, to the unique Loch Lomond Single Grain, made exclusively with malted barley.

They are confident there is a whisky for everyone to savour and enjoy on their stand as they showcase their award winning Single Malt ranges from Loch Lomond, Inchmurrin and Glen Scotia.

LOVESCOTCH Cocktail Bar - “Our goal is to make whisky fun and bring it to a wider audience. Throughout the world people make whisky their own and add local ingredients and I think it is about time to bring some of that attitude to Scotland and make our twist on our national spirit."

The Love Scotch Cocktail Counter is the brainchild of Kained Holdings Marketing Manager, and Former Head Bartender at The Finnieston; James Kemp and Diageo Scotch Whisky Ambassador Ervin Trykowski.

Following a busy December pop up at Riverhill on West Nile Street, Love Scotch will host a cocktail bar on the first floor, providing samples of their delectable concoctions.

Mackmyra - People say Sweden has no tradition of making whisky?! Perhaps this is all about to change...

Mackmyra Svensk Whisky may only have been established in 1998 but in that relatively short period of time the Swedish distiller has earned the reputation as a top quality single malt producer.

Produced using the finest Swedish ingredients and some of the world's purest water,

Mackmyra's distinctive juniper smoke and fruity malt selections may mark the beginning of a new tradition. They'll be showcasing their Brukswhisky, Svensk Ek and Svensk Rök whiskies at the festival.

Morrison & Mackay - Morrison & MacKay Ltd are Independent Scotch Whisky Merchants and Compounders (Producers) of the Finest Scottish Liqueurs.

Based in the Heart of Perthshire and family owned and managed, they strive to provide the best that Scotland can offer. Three generations of experience in Scotch Whisky creates an unrivaled passion for our national drink.

Join Morrison & MacKay at the National Whisky Festival on 28th January where they will showcase Bruadar, Càrn Mòr, Old Perth and more.

Murray McDavid - Murray McDavid is a whisky bottler, based at Coleburn Distillery, with a long tradition of practising the art of maturation to produce inspired Scotch whisky. Maturing in the traditional Dunnage warehouses in Elgin, Murray McDavid now offer the complete range of scotch from vintage single malts and select grains to vatted malts and crafted blends.

They will showcase a selection of 9 different whiskies covering all regions of Scotland. Be sure not to miss Dean Jode’s masterclass where he will introduce you to the Murray McDavid family of Scotch whisky, including some of the older generations.

NIKKA - You lucky people. All the way from Tokyo, we are fortunate to have the range of formidable NIKKA whiskies at the National Whisky Festival 2017.

Nikka's founder Masataka Taketsuru studied the art and science of whisky production in Scotland in the early 20th century, taking home with him the knowledge required to establish a distillery that now distills some of the most highly-lauded, award-winning whiskies in the world.

If you've never had a dram of this coveted liquid gold, you'd be well advised to pop along to the festival where you can sample it, along with dozens of other fine whiskies.

Nikka's whisky ambassador will also be holding a masterclass.

Paul John Single Malt- In the global spirit of the wider Celtic Connections festival, The National Whisky Festival will feature several award-winning examples of uisge-beatha from around the world.

We are extremely excited to announce that, straight from the beautiful west coast of India, multiple-award winning Paul John Indian Single Malt will be bringing their range of single malts for you to savour.

Using six-row barley from the foothills of the Himalayas, American white oak bourbon barrels, traditional copper pot stills and the warm coastal climate of Goa, Paul John's whiskies are noted for their maturity & distinct smokiness.

Port Askaig - Port Askaig Islay Single Malt Whisky is a range of Islay single malt whiskies that embodies the unique spirit of Islay and its people. Its character brings together the robust smokiness and soft fruitiness found in this beguiling island.

Selecting exceptional casks of Islay single malt, they have created a range that they believe will become recognised as an Islay classic.

Each expression within the range is bottled in limited batches. While recognising that each bottling will vary, the aim is to achieve a consistency of quality and character over time.

Spirit of Speyside Festival - First launched in 1999, the Spirit of Speyside Whisky Festival's annual celebration of Scotland's national drink has developed into one of the largest events of its kind anywhere in the World.

Swally Shirts - Swally: alcoholic beverage, or shot of whisky. (Scottish) Short version for "a swallow of".

Swally Shirts will be joining us at the festival with their Whisky and drink wear from Bonnie Scotland.

Theatre of Drams - Whisky For Girls (And Guys!) bring whisky to you. Interviews, Tastings, Distillery Visits, Art Exhibitions, Music, Adventure, Magic & Wildness!

They will be showcasing Theatre of DRAMS Whisky Symposium/Festival/Event: an educational celebration of whisky, taking place on Islay from 23 - 27 October 2017.

They will also be hosting Dramagram. You get a dram and they will upload your photo to their facebook page, and send a postcard to whomever you like, anywhere in the world with a message from you!

Rachel will also be hosting a special, one hour masterclass in each session.

Tomatin - We're very pleased to have Tomatin bring their golden nectar down to Glasgow for you to
sample at the National Whisky Festival.

Wemyss Malts - Wemyss Malts are a family run independent bottler of Scotch whisky established in 2005.

Utilising years of experience from blending French wine the Wemyss family craft blended Scotch whisky and blended malts from carefully selected stocks.

Wolfburn - Thurso in Caithness has recently become home again to the newly re-built Wolfburn Distillery, after a 150-year absence.

The most northern distillery on mainland Scotland, as its predecessor did, draws its crystal clear water from the trickle of the Wolf Burn that named it.

Whisky Island - Freight Books will showcase Fiona Rintoul’s and Konrad Borkowski’s award-winning "Whisky Island" - a definitive behind-the- scenes look at the extraordinary distilleries of Islay - at the festival. They will also have a selection of recently published books on whisky available for you to buy.

In addition, Fiona Rintoul, author of Whisky Island, will also be presenting a free masterclass, taking you on a visual journey of Islay, illustrated by Konrad’s extraordinary and beautiful photographs, outlining what makes each distillery unique, offering unrivalled access and an intimate portrait of its unique whiskies.

Whyte & Mackay - Whyte and Mackay can trace its roots back to 1844 in Glasgow. And if time has taught them anything, it's how to perfect their consistently smooth and rich tasting whisky.


Also available at the event will be a selection of some of Scotland's best food producers including authentic Indian street food from Babu Bombay Street Kitchen, speciality coffee from Dear Green Coffee, vegan cuisine from Hen of the Woods and The Hug and Pint and artisanal craft chocolate from The Chocolate Tree

Glasgow institution The Ubiquitous Chip will also be providing a dedicated menu of delicious modern Scottish cooking.

Dedicated Masterclass and Tasting Sessions:

Session One

Poetry Club

12:20 – 12:50 Paul John Single Malts Tasting Class

1:00 – 1:30 Tomatin Tasting Experience

1:45 – 2:15 Glenmorangie Vintage 1990

2:30 – 3:00 Drams In The Dark with Blair Bowman

Photography Studio

12:20 -12:50 Jura - Discover The Different Sides of Jura

1:00 – 1:30 Talisker: Made by the Sea

1:40 – 2:40 Whisky For Girls (And Guys!): Dram Architecture

2:50 – 3:20 Murray McDavid Masterclass

Gallery North

12:20 – 12:50 Loch Lomond & Inchmurrin Tasting

1:00 – 1:30 Spirit of Speyside: Speyside Specials

1:45 – 2:15 The Glenturret Story

2:30 – 3:00 Glen Scotia Tasting Experience

Gallery South

12:20 – 12:50 NIKKA Tasting Masterclass

1:00 – 1:30 Elements of Islay Science Class

1:45 – 2:15 Whisky Island: A Visual Journey Across Islay (free event)

2:30 – 3:00 Wemyss Malts Blending Workshop

Session Two

Poetry Club

4:20 – 4:50 Paul John Single Malts Tasting Class

5:00 – 5:30 Tomatin Tasting Experience

5:45 – 6:15 Glenmorangie Vintage 1990

6:30 – 7:00 Drams In The Dark with Blair Bowman

Photography Studio

4:20 - 4:50 Jura - Discover The Different Sides of Jura

5:00 - 5:30 Whisky Island: A Visual Journey Across Islay (free event)

5:40-6:40 Whisky For Girls (And Guys!): Peat, Smoke & Both

6:50 – 7:20 Murray McDavid Masterclass

Gallery North

4:20 – 4:50 Loch Lomond & Inchmurrin Tasting

5:00 – 5:30 Spirit of Speyside: Speyside Specials

5:45 – 6:15 The Glenturret Story

6:30 – 7:00 Glen Scotia Tasting Experience

Gallery South

4:20 – 4:50 NIKKA Tasting Masterclass

5:00 – 5:30 Elements of Islay Science Class

5:45 – 6:15 Hot Rum Cow / World Whisky Day

6:30 – 7:00 Wemyss Malts Blending Workshop

Masterclass tickets:

Session 1 ticketholders: http://bit.ly/NWFmaster1

Session 2 ticketholders: http://bit.ly/NWFmaster2


You can find out all about National Whisky Festival of Scotland at:

Twitter: @NatWhiskyFest

Facebook: www.facebook.com/nationalwhiskyfestival/

Website:  http://www.nationalwhiskyfestival.scot

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