Inspired by Homecoming Scotland's aim to attract as many folk from around the world as possible, Whisky Week was born to provide the very best tastings and dinners in the heart of whisky production throughout Scotland. Blended whisky, made from so many different whiskies was celebrated in Edinburgh.
The Edinburgh Whisky Experience
The splendid Castle Suite at the Caledonian Hilton, overlooking Edinburgh Castle,provided the perfect setting for the first Whisky Week Experience. The pre-dinner tasting included Drambuie, Chivas Regal 18, The Famous Grouse, Antiquary, Johnnie Walker, Bell's, Buchnanan's and Dimple. In anticipation of an engrossing explanation of the great Rabbie Burns by Roddy Martine, the hour long fireworks display marking the end of the Edinburgh Festival, matched with live music, was directed throughout the Castle Suite,much to guests' surprise and enjoyment.
The Speyside Whisky Experience
The magnificent Glenfiddich Distillery played host to the second Experience. Speyside whiskies enjoyed were the Glenfiddich, the Glenlivet, The Macallan, Glen Garioch, Glenrothes, Glen Elgin, Cardhu, Cragganmore, Glendullan, Knockandhu and Glen Spey,and during dinner speeches were given about the Glenfiddich from Bert Macor, the Glenlivet from Hamish Proctor, The Macallan from Thomas Thomson, Glen Garioch from Tom Jones, the Glen Elgin by Duncan Tait and the Glenrothes from Ronnie Cox. An impromptu piping display from Thomas Thomson rounded off the evening as one birthday guest was presented with a surprise gift.
The Inverness Whisky Experience
The New Drumossie Hotel, Inverness, was the furthest North WhiskyWeek reached, taking in the northern Highland and Island whiskies, with such variety as Tomatin, Highland Park, Dalmore, Clynelish, Singleton of Glen Ord, Talisker, Scapa and Glenmorangie.During dinner the salmon was paired with Glenmorangie and presented by Andy MacDonald, the rib of beef was paired with Dalmore, presented by Morag Swanson,and the Highland Park, presented by Russell Anderson. To round off the evening Tomatin was paired with the fresh Scottish berries by Stephen Bremner amid cheers of delight as it was noted that it was the 9th day of the 9th month in the year 2009.
The Oban Whisky Experience
Oban was the venue for a memorable evening of tastings, fine food and incredible piping - held at the wonderful Oban Distillery.Warehouse No.6 was the location of the pre-dinner tasting, with Oban, Bowmore, Jura and Ardbeg on display. At dinner John Ainsley presented the Jura with the delicious haggis parcel, the salmon paired with the Oban by Brendan MacCarron,and Graham Dunnet matching the rich trifle with Bowmore. More than 15 pipers assembled outside the distillery and led all guests, and many other visitors to Oban, through the streets to the pier where they gave a stunning finale performance.
The Glasgow Whisky Experience
The last night of Whisky Week, before Whisky Live Glasgow came alive was held at the Distillery of the Year - Auchentoshan Distillery. The pre-dinner tasting was held in the atmospheric Tun Room, sampling Auchentoshan, Springbank and Longrow and during dinner, at which the annual Icons of Whisky Scotland were also announced, whiskies were introduced by Alistair Taylor, Pete Currie and Grant MacPherson.
Whisky Live Glasgow
And to round off the first ever WhiskyWeek, Whisky Live Glasgow moved in to the centre of the city to the Thistle Hotel Grand Ballroom. The Whisky Live stage was bursting with excitement as the top international barmen from LA Bartenders showed off their skills, wowing the crowd by throwing bottles through the air and making stunning cocktails. Elsewhere in the show, recently named 'Whisky Distiller of the Year' in the Icons of Whisky Scotland awards, Springbank Distillery, was proudly showing off its wares and, ever the showman, Whyte and Mackay's Richard Paterson could be heard letting off party poppers as he took guests through tastings.