Reed Travel Features
EDINBURGH -- With 130 distilleries operating in this little
corner of the world, it is hard to believe that 1997 will be the
first year Scotland hosts an International Scotch Whisky
Alan Kotz, the chief executive officer of the official
destination management company for the event, Aspect International,
also wondered why Scotland never had a whiskey festival and decided
to organize one.
His reasoning was that there are plenty of beer and wine
festivals, so why not one for whiskey?
The festival is being sponsored by the Scottish Tourist Board,
Lothian and Edinburgh Enterprise, Edinburgh & Lothian Tourist
Board, the British Tourist Authority and a number of whiskey
More than 4,000 visitors are expected to attend the festival,
which will be held Oct. 27 through Nov. 2.
The northeastern region of Speyside, located about 100 miles
west of Edinburgh and home to the Malt Whisky Trail, and Edinburgh
will be the venues for the festival.
Packages are available through Aspect International's U.S.
sister company, Aspects of Britain, based in Pittsburgh.
John Latimer, president of Aspects of Britain, said that the
festival has started to generate interest in the U.S., and bookings
are looking good.
This type of event appeals to small groups such as whiskey clubs
as well as to older professionals and seniors, he said.
Aspects of Britain, which specializes in customizing itineraries
for individuals and small groups, will put together an entire
program for clients interested in combining the festival with other
sights, such as a visit to Glasgow or London, Latimer said.
Aspects of Britain pays travel agents 10% commission.
Two-night festival programs start at about $295 in Edinburgh and
about $330 in Speyside.
The cost includes accommodations in a three-star hotel and most
Air-inclusive programs are available.
For details or to book, contact John Latimer, Aspects of Britain
at (800) 866-7526, Ext. 611.
The event will encompass the history, the color and the taste of
In addition to distillery tours, storytelling and ceilidhs
(dances), scheduled events celebrating the "water of life" (the
Gaelic name for whiskey) taking place in Speyside include:
* A blending presentation by the makers of J&B Scotch.
* Tastings of rare whiskies at Gordon & Macphail, Elgin.
* Dinner at Cardhu Distillery and a tasting of the Johnnie
* A blending exercise with the Chivas and Glenlivet group at
* Tastings and dinner at Glenlivet and Glenfiddich.
In Edinburgh, daytime festivities will include exhibitions, food
fairs and cooking with whiskey demonstrations.
The celebration goes on late into the evening with concerts and
Other events in Edinburgh will include:
* Blending demonstrations by one of Scotland's master
* Tutored tastings and whiskey master classes.
* A Scottish specialty food fair.
* Traditional Scottish music concerts.
* A Gaelic heritage and whiskey-tasting presentation.
* A trace-your-clan-heritage presentation.
* A Halloween party on Oct. 31.
* A film festival featuring Scottish and whiskey themes.
* Lectures on whiskey and its history.
* An exhibition of whiskey memorabilia.