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6 virtual whisky festivals to tune in to this spring

Whisky fans can look forward to a few months of online festivals this spring.

Published: April 5, 2021
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Spring is finally here and with it the start of a range of food and drink events, including virtual whisky festivals.

From inaugural virtual festivals to established names, here we take a look at some of the best online whisky events to tune into this spring and summer.

OurWhisky festival

Launched in April 2020 in response to the Covid-19 crisis, the OurWhisky festival aims to unite whisky makers and whisky lovers through a series of fun and welcoming masterclasses, all while raising money for charity.

The successful inaugural event, which was sponsored by brands including Glenmorangie, Ardbeg,
Glenfiddich, Diageo, Dalmore, JJ Corry, Macallan, Starward, Lakes, Redbreast, Bruichladdich, Kavalan
and Michter’s, raised over £12,000 for The Drinks Trust, with funds going to hospitality and drinks
industry professionals facing difficulties as a result of the pandemic.

The OurWhisky Virtual Whisky Festival 2021, which will take place from 29 April-27 May, will feature five sessions with unique themes, each designed to help attendees explore whisky.

Tickets are on sale now for £30 from the OurWhisky website, and each ticket includes a tasting pack of five 30ml whisky samples.

The OurWhisky Virtual Whisky Festival will be live-streamed at 7pm GMT on 29 April, and 6, 13, 20 and 27 May on OurWhisky’s Facebook, Twitter and YouTube channels.

Spirit of Speyside

For the first time, the annual Spirit of Speyside whisky festival will take place online this year.

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Now in its 21st year, the festival provides the opportunity for people around the world to taste and learn about whiskies from the world-famous Speyside region.

Taking place from 29 April - 2 May, festival goers will be able to speed network with other whisky lovers, get up close and personal with their favourite brands in the exhibition centre and catch up with friends old and new in the social lounge on the virtual platform.

Whether it’s having exclusive behind the scenes access to distilleries not usually open to the public, taking part in tastings with some of the best known whisky brands in the region, or getting the opportunity to chat all things Scotch with some of the biggest names in the industry, attendees will have plenty of online events to choose from during the four-day virtual festival.

More information, including the full programme of events, can be viewed on the Spirit of Speyside website.

Holyrood Distillery offering free dram and tours to celebrate launch of inaugural whisky

Whisky Shop Dufftown 

Taking place from 30 April until 3 May, the Whisky Shop Dufftown's festival is a virtual event that's replacing this year's in-person tastings, which are part of Spirit of Speyside.

Whisky fans can look forward to tastings from Antonia Bruce from Adelphi, Iain Allan from Glen Moray, Mark Thomson from Glenfiddich, Mariella Romano from Arran Distillers, Stewart Buchanan from Brown Forman, Ben Chambers from GlenAllachie and Stuart Baxter from Douglas Laing.

Tickets are being sold as part of a membership scheme, with only 30 available to buy online.

Each membership includes 2cl samples of whiskies (enough for two to share), three virtual distillery tours with a dram and access to the Zoom tastings.

First look at Port of Leith Distillery ahead of opening

Find out more here.

World Whisky Day Weekender

The team behind World Whisky Day have launched their first virtual festival, which is taking place from Friday 14– Sunday 16 May.

The World Whisky Weekender is inviting whisky enthusiasts from across the world to 'deep dive' into the world of whisky with over 50 sessions including experts from Arbikie, Nc'Nean, BrewDog and Dewar's.

Tickets are on sale now and priced from £15. Find out more here.

Campbeltown Malts Festival

The Campbeltown Malts Festival is an annual event that celebrates Scotland’s fifth and smallest whisky region.

Once home to over 30 distilleries, Campbeltown is recognised as the ‘whiskiest’ place in the world.

As with last year’s event, due to the ongoing pandemic, the festival will be hosted virtually and will take place online from 7 June 2021.

Last year, the virtual whisky festival was extremely well received, with Glen Scotia’s programme of online festival events attracting more than 10,000 whisky fans from across the world.

Find out more here.

Fèis Ìle

Back in January the Hebridean island of Islay cancelled Fèis Ìle - its internationally-renowned Festival of Music and Malt - in the face of huge uncertainty over the impact of coronavirus restrictions when the event is normally held in May.

But fans of the hugely popular festival can still celebrate, as the festivities have moved online.

Taking place from Friday 28 May until Sunday 6 June, famous Islay distilleries are involved with the virtual festival including Bowmore, Ardbeg and Ardnahoe.

Find out more here.

Scran season 2: Talking whisky with Outlander star Sam Heughan

Known for cake making, experimental jam recipes, Champagne, whisky and gin drinking (and the inability to cook Gnocchi), Rosalind is the Food and Drink Editor and whisky writer for The Scotsman, as well as hosting Scran, The Scotsman's food and drink podcast.

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