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Eight days. Eight distilleries. Three hundred miles.

March 23, 2019 Beverage No Comments Email Email

Having been named one of the Lonely Planet’s ‘Best In Travel’ destinations in 2019, eight Highland Distilleries are proud to introduce a brand-new Whisky Festival to celebrate the established Highland Whisky Trail. The Highland Whisky Festival, which will take place in May 2019 is a celebration of the region’s finest distilleries on the North Coast 500 route. With each distillery hosting an open day with exclusive events and tastings, it’s an unmissable experience for even the most seasoned of whisky enthusiasts. The North-East Coast of Scotland is breath-taking – impressive scenery, fantastic accommodation, and exceptional dining experiences. The Highland Whisky Festival will be held between the 10​th​ – 17​th​ May 2019. Eight distilleries will come together for the first time ever for a series of exclusive tastings, tours, and events. Each will host visitors from the world over to showcase the centuries of tradition, process, and craft of their home. Event and ticket information is now available via the website ​​ – with a host of tastings and tours, plus a handy planner inclusive of accommodation and restaurant options to ensure your trip is as seamless as possible. The Festival team are working hard behind the scenes with local and national businesses to offer a truly unforgettable experience for attendees.
On the 10th of May, Wolfburn will be offering tours, with tastings taking place on the distillery floor in front of the stills, led by Brand Ambassador, Mark Westmorland.

Old Pulteney will hold two very special masterclasses with Malcolm Waring, alongside tours and pairings on the 11th May.

The 12th of May brings us to Clynelish. From Game of Thrones tastings to an insider peak of Brora, the schedule at Clynelish is a special one.

Visit Balblair on the 13th May to share a tasting with John MacDonald, or a showing of the ‘Angel’s Share’ and dinner in Dunnage no. 3.

The 14th May brings us to Glenmorangie. Distillery tours, tastings of old and rare expressions and a truly special single cask dinner are the order of the day. On the 15​th​ of May, The Dalmore is hosting a distillery tour led by Distillery Manager Stuart Robertson and Operations Director Shane Healy, followed by an intimate tasting on the banks of the Cromarty Firth. Join Richard Paterson and Shauna Jennens to enjoy four very special expressions.

The Singleton of Glen Ord hosts the Festival on the 16th with a chance for visitors to get up close and personal and test their skills as a distillery operator The 17​th​ of May bring us to our final stop. The team at Tomatin are offering bespoke tours with live cooperage demonstrations, an exclusive festival bottling & an evening dinner to round off your festival journey.

Festival coordinator Katie Waugh says that the union between eight world-class distilleries, each with their own story to tell, would surely make a fantastic addition to the Scottish Whisky Festival scene. She added:

“Building on the successes of both the Spirit of Speyside Whisky Festival and Islay Whisky Festival and with the continuing increase in Whisky tourism especially along the North Coast 500 we identified an opportunity for the Highland Distilleries to have a festival of their own. Between the 8 distilleries, we have over 1000 years of craftsmanship and experience in producing whisky. What differentiates Highland Distilleries is that they are spread far and wide along the North Coast 500. The effort of travelling is rewarded not only by world-class whiskies but stunning landscapes and the warm welcoming Highland hospitality. ….”

A successful union between a world-class driving route, eight internationally revered distilleries and the hospitality of the Highland people will result in an eight daylong celebration of Scotland’s national spirit. The Highland Whisky Festival will play host to an international audience, allowing visitors to experience eight unique distilleries on the circuit through exclusive tastings, tours, and appreciations. Not to mention the aforementioned welcome from the Highland inhabitants. The North Coast 500 added £9 million worth of revenue to the region alone, with an additional 29,000 visitors between 2016-17. Scotland saw a record number of 1.9 million visits to distilleries and a spend of £60.9 million (an increase of 15.6% from 2016), therefore we anticipate our inaugural Festival to be successful and well-visited.

VisitScotland is delighted to support the Highland Whisky Festival, particularly with the recent accolade being given by the Lonely Planet. VisitScotland believes that with the success of the North Coast 500 and the year-on-year growth of whisky tourism, that a Highland addition to the Whisky Festival circuit will bring growth to the economy and an awareness of a much-loved region of Whisky production. Chris Taylor, VisitScotland’s Regional Leadership Director, said: ​ ​“Whisky is one of Scotland’s most valuable commodities, attracting visitors from all over the world, with one in five visitors making a trip to a whisky distillery during their stay.


“As one of the largest whisky-producing regions in Scotland, the Highlands is a veritable paradise for lovers of a wee dram with whisky a vital part of local tourism. With all eyes on the Highlands and Islands next year – following Lonely Planet naming it Best in Travel 2019 – this new festival will be a great addition to the visitor experience and shine a spotlight on the area’s links to our iconic national drink.”

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