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Fest to share our centuries-old craft with the world

By Matt MacPherson

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IN my last article we chatted about the Spirit of Speyside Whisky Festival, a festival that has been held annually since 1999.

There is also the Islay Festival, Feis Ila, which distilleries have been getting involved with since 2000 but until this year there was never anything like that in the Highlands.

The Highland Whisky Festival ran from May 10-17 and celebrated the Highland Whisky Trail featuring eight distilleries, starting at Wolfburn in Thurso and finishing at Tomatin (I will let you work out the distilleries in between).

Each hosted visitors from around the world, showcasing their centuries of tradition, process and craft through exclusive tastings, tours and events.

Some of the distilleries released special festival bottles that would excite any whisky enthusiast.

Unfortunately I didn’t make it north to any of the events as none of my so-called friends would drive me there. To be honest I don’t blame them – sitting in a car listening to me ramble on about whisky, after drinking whisky, sounds like a tough shift.

I was fortunate enough to attend the final event of the festival, a remarkable dinner hosted by Tomatin at the Kingsmills Hotel. Six courses were served alongside Tomatin 30, 36, 1975 and 50-year-old… apparently there was wine too – not that I noticed!

Tomatin Distillery's range of malts.
Tomatin Distillery's range of malts.

Each dram was superbly introduced by distillery manager Graham Eunson and Alistair Mutch, regional sales manager, entertained us throughout the evening.

Tickets were available for this event for £125 which is a special treat by anyone’s standards. However, when you consider a bottle of 50-year-old sells for £10,000 a bottle, the evening starts to look like a very good deal indeed.

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