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Team behind Highland Perthshire Whisky Festival to host virtual festival after being forced to cancel original event

The organisers of the Highland Perthshire Whisky Festival have come up with an innovative new way to host their event after they were forced to cancel due to the covid-19 outbreak. 

Published: April 3, 2020
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Founders Ewan McIlwraith and Sandy Fraser say the Self Isolation Whisky Festival is the answer to holding the festival - which was due to take place on the 9th May in Pitlochry - without the crowds and will bring a full programme of "whisky-related fun" direct to people's homes.

Ewan, who is the owner of the popular drinks retailer Robertson’s of Pitlochry, explained that though coronavirus is taking its toll on the many whisky festivals that were scheduled for this year, including theirs, this new event will create all of the fun of a whisky festival "without the need to leave your home".

He said: "As we all currently have to adhere to social distancing rules (and rightly so) and we all have little to look forward to in the way of fun and entertainment, the Highland Perthshire Whisky Festival has decided to take the unique step of bringing the festival into your home.

"We will stream a full day of whisky-related fun into your home with a full programme of all things whisky that will appeal to the investor, the collector or those who just enjoy drinking the water of life. There are virtual whisky tasting sessions and the like regularly on the internet, however, this will be the first interactive session where you can see, smell and taste the dram that is being featured."

The entrepreneurial pair explained that guests will have access to the virtual festival in one of two ways - they can purchase tasting kits on-line which will be matched to one of the tasting sessions throughout the day or they can simply sign up and access the festival for free.

The tasting kits will be priced at £27.50 and will include the tasting kit, nosing glass, access to the on-line festival and entry into a charity prize draw, with the matched tastings being hosted by Ewan himself or by the brand ambassador from the distillery featured.

The pair say they will be donating £5 from every tasting kit sold to the NHS emergency fund and they will also be asking all of those participating on the day to donate where they can too.

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The full schedule for the day will feature talks and tastings from the brand ambassadors of Dewar’s, Tullibardine, Glenturret, Lindores Abbey, Speyside Distillery and Ewan McIlwraith himself.

Ewan added: "As you can see, we are attempting to make the day as interesting as possible. If the
day works as well as we hope and the feedback is positive, we will then repeat the idea in the next
few weeks with an on-line gin festival.

"We believe that this idea, although unique and offers a lot in its own right, will never replace the
experience of an actual whisky festival where people can mingle and talk to each other but in these
troubled times it offers a great alternative and relief from the boredom of staying indoors."

  • You can find out more about the festival, including how to sign up and how to buy tasting kits, here

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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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