It’s known as the ‘water of life’, it’s a cultural icon, has David Beckham as a fan, and sometimes only a wee dram will do - whisky is as much a part of the Scottish landscape as golf, Shetland ponies and tartan bagpipes.
As Scotland continues to celebrate the Year of Food and Drink 2015, this May sees the return of Whisky Month, a unique programme of events celebrating Scotland’s national drink and the people and landscapes behind it.
One of the best-loved whisky festivals in the country, the Spirit of Speyside Whisky Festival kicks off the Whisky Month festivities from 30 April to 4 May. With a packed schedule with everything from comedy to ceilidhs, masterclasses to music, its events attract thousands of visitors per year. As well as the Spirit of Speyside Festival, Whisky Month will see events taking place right across the country, presenting the perfect opportunity to get a taste for the Scottish landscape.
Spirit of Speyside Whisky Festival, Highlands - 30 April – 4 May
The festival is one of Scotland's most popular whisky events, inviting visitors to celebrate Scotland's national drink through an inventive and wide-ranging choice of whisky-inspired events. From the chance to attend ‘Whisky School’ to see just how it’s made, to enjoying music with a ‘wee dram’.
Create:Eat:Whisky, Edinburgh - 14-17 May
Create:Eat:Whisky is back. Jelly & Gin has teamed with Haig Club (launched in 2014 by David Beckham) to create an immersive experience that puts whisky cocktails centre stage. Guests will take a journey through different multi-sensory settings and drink cocktails, each designed to match its environment. Using sound, light, small edible items, aroma and other environmental factors, guests will be transported from mountain top to roaring fire, with an unexpected final destination.
The Hive and the Still at the Royal Botanic Garden Edinburgh - 15 May
A unique event that pairs botany and whisky, visitors can taste some of Scotland’s best produce with whisky and honey tastings as well as a choice of street food, learn the science behind whisky, as well as enjoy entertainment including live music, a silent disco and craft activities.
World Whisky Day, worldwide - 16 May
World Whisky Day invites everyone to try a dram and celebrate the water of life. Events are taking place all over the globe. Join the party on Twitter using the hashtag #worldwhiskyday or visit www.worldwhiskyday.com to register an event.
Whisky Stramash, Edinburgh - 23-24 May
Described as ‘an event of mystery, entertainment, comicality and madcap pioneering’, visitors can certainly expect the unexpected at this event in Scotland’s Capital and a huge array of whiskies to sample from Scotland and abroad is almost guaranteed.
Mhor Festival, Perthshire - 23-24 May
Mhor Festival presents food, drink, music and theatre and will bring together producers including Glengoyne, Deanston and Auchentoshan distilleries in the grounds of Monachyle Mhor Hotel. Spread over two days the festival will encompass foraging walks along the Rob Roy Way, lunch in Mhor Barn with whisky sampling and a whisky pairing evening at the Great Scottish Feast with food prepared by star Scottish chefs. The festival also offers family activities, live music, a ceilidh, a bake-off competition, a raft race and a market.
To help encourage even more visitors to sample Scotland’s whisky offering during this dedicated month, VisitScotland has also launched a new series of eBooks hosted on www.visitscotland.com. Each book will focus on one of the country’s five distinctive whisky-producing regions in Scotland - Campbeltown, Islay, Speyside, Lowland and Highland - and the specially created guides explain the reasons why Scotch whisky is so different from distillery to distillery. Alongside information on each venue, the eBooks provide useful information for visitors including opening times, address and contact details.
The distilleries eBooks can be downloaded at www.visitscotland.com/distilleries-guides
For more information on the Year of Food & Drink 2015 and Whisky Month, please go to: www.visitscotland.com/tastescotland