Top tips on celebrating Whisky Month in May

Here at the Scotch Whisky Experience, we’ve got to be honest – every month is whisky month as far as we’re concerned! The rest of the world, however, celebrates whisky month during May every year: from festivals to fireside tastings, a nod at some new releases to waxing lyrical for old favourites, there are plenty of ways to raise a dram to the whisky that’s produced around the world.

We’re keeping it Scotch on this blog post, but stick with us over the coming month for lots more snippets and info on other whiskies to try.

In the meantime, here are a few ways to make the most of Whisky Month, wherever you are…

1. Take a trip to a Whisky Festival

Ardbeg Distillery: credit and copyright Ben Shakespeare Photography
Ardbeg Distillery: credit and copyright Ben Shakespeare Photography

Scotland is (obviously) a top spot to enjoy a whisky festival: a great chance to mingle with the people behind the brands, to find out just what the magical touch is to create your favourite spirit, and to try new, limited edition or experimental releases. The Spirit of Speyside Whisky Festival kicks off the month of May, which closes with the inimitable Fèis Ìle on Islay at the end of the month. But, if you time things right (and you have yourself a designated driver), you could attend a whisky festival in Scotland nearly every day during May:

  • Spirit of Speyside Whisky Festival: 1st-6thh May 2019
    A chance to go behind the scenes in Scotland’s most closely-packed whisky producing region. Take advantage of the short distances between the distilleries and visit as many as you can for tastings, tours and other exciting events.
  • Highland Whisky Festival: 10th-17th May 2019
    One of the whisky festival scene’s newest entrants, showcasing the drams of eight different Highland whisky distilleries, all of whom will be running exclusive and exciting events across the week of celebrations. The geographic variations are excuse alone to see these distilleries – make sure it’s on your list.
  • Hebridean Whisky Festival: 21st-25th May 2019
    Recently announced, this is a collaborative whisky festival between the four whisky distilleries linked by the Hebridean Whisky Trail. An amazing chance to see some of the most remote – and stunningly beautiful – distilleries in Scotland.
  • Fèis Ìle: 24th May-1st June 2019
    The ‘Whisky Isle’ of Islay certainly knows how to put on a show, and if you’re a fan of all things distilled from this beautiful part of Western Scotland – home to nine operating distilleries and counting – then visiting the Islay Festival of Music and Malt (as it’s also known) is something of a rite of passage. Expect rare, blink-and-you’ll-miss-them distillery releases, exciting tastings and plenty of behind-the-scenes tours – but make sure you get your tickets booked early!

Read our blog post from last year on why you need to make sure visiting a whisky festival is on your bucket list…

2. Raise a dram to World Whisky Day

The Human Whisky Bar (credit and copyright: World Whisky Day)
The Human Whisky Bar (credit and copyright: World Whisky Day)

World Whisky Day, which began in 2012, falls on the third Saturday of May each year, and even if you’re not a drinker of whisky, you’d be surprised at how infectious the ‘spirit’ of celebration is for getting you to take a second look at the amber nectar, wherever you are in the world. Bars, brands and bunches of pals get together to organise tasting events and parties, all aimed at showcasing the global appreciation for all things whisky, and you can find them all listed on the World Whisky Day website. What’s not to love?

3. Go a bit deeper with your Scotch whisky appreciation

If you’re a whisky fan already, you might not think you need to learn about all five whisky regions of Scotland (if you do, we’ve got you covered – click here), but don’t worry – we’ve got something up our sleeve that we promise you’ll love just as much. The Morning Masterclass is a smaller-size whisky tour that takes place every day at 10am. You’ll sit among like-minded individuals, put your nose to the test in our rather infamous sensory exam, and then nose and sip your way through five different drams – each one specifically chosen to showcase just how varied Scotch whisky can be – and talked through the process by one of our senior whisky guides. The morning is when your senses are at their keenest, so make the most of those precious hours and give them something they’ll really appreciate.

Find out more about a Scotch Whisky Experience Morning Masterclass here

4. Conduct your own whisky tasting

There’s something to be said for gathering friends (or drinking-age-appropriate) family members around for a whisky tasting to impart your new-found knowledge of all things Scotch Whisky. Here at the Scotch Whisky Experience, we know that one of the best ways to fire up new whisky enthusiasts is to let them spend some time with someone who is already a firm fan: the comments we get about our superstar team of whisky visitor assistants are testament to the fact that there’s nothing quite like a guided tasting through the flavours and aromas in a dram of Scotch whisky to get you sipping like a connoisseur. Fancy holding a Scotch whisky tasting party of your own? Read our blog post from early 2019 on how to hold a Burns Night whisky tasting, written by Marketing Director, Senior Tasting Team member and Master of the Quaich Julie Trevisan-Hunter.

Fancy joining our team? Click here for career opportunities at the Scotch Whisky Experience.

5. Support your local

We love it when folk from all over the world visit our award-winning Amber Whisky Bar: having recently made The Scotsman’s list of one of the best whisky bars to visit in Scotland, it’s no wonder visitors are happy to wile away a few hours among our 450-strong collection of whiskies from all five whisky regions of Scotland. But if you’re not in Edinburgh, then we have a wee request for you: get out there, visit your local, try the drams that they’ve got on offer (local, national and international), and enjoy yourself! The more you keep coming back, the better the selection will be and the more likely you are to find yourself a favourite Scotch whisky – one that’s perfect for an evening of happy appreciation.

Meantime, if you are visiting our bonnie wee city any time soon, we wrote a blog post on whisky bars to go to in Edinburgh. We’re on there (of course), but you’ll also find some delightful hidden gems, as selected by our knowledgeable team.

So there you have it! How are you celebrating the best month of the year – Whisky Month? Let us know in the comments or on social media using the hashtag #WhiskyMonth2019, we’d love to hear from you!

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