In a local bar, one can often find posters announcing some noteworthy (whisky)
events in the area. On the brand new Malt Maniacs website , our 'bar crier'
Konstantin maintains a Whisky Calendar of those events on our website.
And sometimes, a certified malt maniac (or a foreign correspondent) gets
so inspired that he or she wants to write a report about such an event
to share his / her experiences with other whisky lovers. We like that!
On this page you can find an overview of whisky festival reports that
were published on Malt Maniacs until 2011. And those were just the ones
where somebody decided to dedicate an entire article to a particular trip
or festival. Many more events are referred to and described in one of the
115 issues in our archive or in the 'loose' E-pistles we've published since.
Mind you, whisky festivals are not for everyone. You have to be able to
stand crowding, and the atmosphere isn't conducive for serious tasting.
And your ability to listen critically to brand ambassadors might weaken too...
The selection of festivals listed below is modest, and fairly Euro-centric
to boot. One explanation for this is the simple fact that the overview
lists mostly the festival reports that were submitted since one of the
reconstructions of this website in 2007. Many older reports about whisky
festivals can be found in the archive and the Liquid Log on Malt Madness.
We'd like to share as many different opinions and perspectives
possible on Malt Maniacs, so I'd like to specifically invite everybody who
visited an interesting whisky festival recently to either send us an
E-pistle or submit a quick report via the Malt Maniacs & Friends group
on Facebook. There are so many different festivals these days that one
simply has to make a choice. And if you have to choose between events,
it can be helpful to read about the experiences of others...
If you are a novice in the world of whisky, you may wonder what's so
special about whisky festivals. Well, if you indeed ARE a novice, you must
have taken a wrong turn on the electronic superhighway, because the Malt
Maniacs website is aimed at, erm..., the more seasoned whisky aficionados.
The old Malt Madness site was designed for (relative) novices like yourself.
So, Malt Maniacs is for the real malt whisky freaks who'd like nothing better
to do than to wallow in whisky all day...
For many people, wallowing in whisky works best in the company of other people - preferably like-minded.
While it's possible to meet other people who enjoy to drink in bars, many of them are more interested in the
effects of the drinking itself - i.e. getting drunk - or who they are doing it with, than in WHAT they are drinking.
Statistically speaking, the chance to meet fellow maltheads at a whisky club or whisky festival is much higher...
However, DO keep in mind that a staggering amount of PR bogus is spread on many of these whisky festivals.
It's important to always keep an open mind - but due to the intake of copious amounts of whisky, some minds
can get a little TOO open at these festivals... ;-)
1997 to 2006 - Various Whisky Festivals & Trips
The whisky world is becoming a global village and some maniacs fly all across the world to
enjoy (malt) whisky. You can find dozens of reports on these trips and festivals through
some of the 'annual' pages on the archive; particularly those between 2001 and 2009.
Due to technical reasons and various website crashes it's difficult to add direct links to
festival reports, so you'll have to browse around for a bit to find reports on a wide variety
of whisky festivals and tasting sessions. Older issues of Malt Maniacs also contain extensive
reports on trips to Scotland and even distillery visits in Ireland, Europe, the USA and Japan.
January 2009 - Ardbeggeddon 10, Las Vegas, USA
The PLOWED gang from the USA was one of the first whisky clubs that was active on the world wide web.
Their whisky forum was probably the first in the world and they started their own extravagant 'Ardbeggeddon' tasting event at the start of this millennium, at a time when the concept of 'whisky festivals' still had to be invented. Several malt maniacs had the honour of being a guest at Ardbeggeddon over the years, including Craig Daniels, Louis Perlman and Davin de Kergommeaux. Don't be confused by the name - the festival is not organised by Ardbeg distillery and there are plenty of malt whiskies other than Ardbeg available. In fact, if they had named the festival at the whisky that was most poured there they could have called it The Springbank Robbery or something ;-) If you'd like to read how the event has evolved over a decade, compare this E-pistle with Louis Perlman's report in MM#17 from the second edition of Ardbeggeddon in 2001.
The length of the 2006-2009 festival reports in the overview below varies from concise impressions to virtual transcripts.
Just keep in mind that, by the time you read this, some of these reports may have been written almost a decade ago. The atmosphere at a
certain event could have changed considerably since 'the good old days'. Needless to say, the same goes for the whiskies that were poured.
November 2006 - Whisky Live South Africa
We received no less than two reports from the first South-African edition of Whisky Live for MM#100.
The event was held on two different locations. Our South-African maniac Joe Barry reported on the Cape Town edition
before joining the team while foreign correspondent Larry Aaronson experienced the Johannesburg edition of the festival.
November 2006 - Whiskyest New York, USA
Our New York reporter Louis Perlman has been reporting faithfully from WhiskyFest NY since the late 1990's.
Louis' latest report deals with circa three dozen recent releases from Benriach, Bruichladdich, Compass Box, Glenfiddich, Glenlivet, Longrow, Macallan and Springbank. Louis also shares his insights on a few bourbon whiskeys.
January 2007 - Victoria Whisky Festival, Canada
Most whisky festivals are organised by 'the industry', but in some cases there's a distinct 'amateur' influence as well. Fellow malt maniac Lawrence Graham has been involved in spreading the gospel in Canada. If this report from foreign correspondent Wendy Harker is anything to go by, the people behind the Victoria festival are doing a great job.
Let's just hope that the festival will keep its 'amateur' flavour in the future.
April 2007 - The Whisky Fair Limburg, Germany
With the big festivals growing more 'commercial' over the years, the Whisky Fair in Limburg (Germany) has grown into THE malt whisky event for the true connoisseur. While the regular festivals often focus on the recent releases that are peddled to 'Joe Public' (along with generous helpings of PR bogus), The Whisky Fair also offers visitors other opportunities.
How often do you get the chance to sample whiskies that were bottled two or three decades ago?
July 2007 - Classic Malts Cruise, Scotland, UK
Our Indian maniac Krishna was invited by Diageo to join a few dozen other whisky lovers on a sailing trip around the Outer Hebrides in the North-West of Scotland. Seems like an excellent gig!
May & June 2007 - Feis Ile 2007, Scotland, UK
Well, actually... None of the maniacs that visited Feis Ile on Islay in 2007 bothered to submit a report.
From the tales I've heard from other maniacs it was roughly the same amount of fun as we had in 2005, so I've added a link to my report on the proceedings on Malt Madness. Oh, the fun we had... We drove around in the 'Drambulance', visited all distilleries on the island, had an exquisite dinner at Martine Nouet's place, enjoyed many 'open air' tasting sessions on the beaches of Islay, helped smoke some barley at the Port Ellen maltings - I could go on and on...
September 2007 - Whisky Live Paris 2007, France
This could be the fist edition of Whisky Live Paris where none of the 'certified' malt maniacs had time to write a proper report. Well, we had a good excuse - we were all very busy with preparations for the Malt Maniacs Awards 2007.
Fortunately our Swiss foreign correspondent Patrick Brossard came to the rescue with a report of his own.
March 2008 - CioccolaTò, Torino, Italy
As a multi bilion dollar alcoholic drinks corporation, Diageo is involved with many different types of tasting events around the world. One is the annual chocolate festival in the home town of our Italian maniac.
And all this is just the tip of the iceberg. As you can see on the Word Wide Whisky Events Calendar there are dozens of big whisky events each year, all over the world - not to mention the thousands of smaller events with a more 'local' focus. And if you do find a whisky event you'd like to visit through these pages, why not return the favor to the global whisky community by submitting a report for Malt Maniacs?
Just contact us via the Malt Maniacs & Friends group on Facebook.