The Highland Whisky Festival to launch in May 2019

Eight distilleries have joined forces to introduce a new Whisky festival in the Scottish Highlands, while at the same time a Highland Malt Scotch Whisky brand has revealed plans for a limited-edition launch.

The Highland Whisky Festival, which will take place in May 10-17, 2019, is designed to be a celebration of the region’s finest distilleries on the North Coast 500 route. Each distillery will host an open day with exclusive events and tastings.

The eight distilleries: Balblair, Clynelish, Glenmorangie, Old Pulteney, The Dalmore, The Singleton of Glen Ord, Tomatin and Wolfburn, will each host visitors from around the world to showcase the centuries of tradition, process and craft of their home.

Festival coordinator, Katie Waugh, said: “Building on the successes of both the Spirit of Speyside Whisky Festival and Islay Whisky Festival and with the continuing increase in Whisky tourism especially along the North Coast 500 we identified an opportunity for the Highland Distilleries to have a festival of their own. Between the eight distilleries we have over 1000 years of craftsmanship and experience in producing whisky. What differentiates Highland Distilleries is that they are spread far and wide along the North Coast 500. The effort of travelling is rewarded not only by world class whiskies but stunning landscapes and the warm welcoming Highland hospitality.”

The North Coast 500 added £9 million worth of revenue to the region alone, with an additional 29,000 visitors between 2016 and 2017. Scotland saw a record number of 1.9 million visits to distilleries and a spend of £60.9 million.

The programme is made up of eight unique days, each hosted by one of the participating distilleries.

VisitScotland is supporting the Highland Whisky Festival. Its regional leadership director, Chris Taylor, said: “Whisky is one of Scotland’s most valuable commodities, attracting visitors from all over the world, with one in five visitors making a trip to a whisky distillery during their stay.

“As one of the largest whisky producing regions in Scotland, the Highlands is a veritable paradise for lovers of a wee dram with whisky a vital part of local tourism. With all eyes on the Highlands and Islands next year – following Lonely Planet naming it Best in Travel 2019 – this new festival will be a great addition to the visitor experience and shine a spotlight on the area’s links to our iconic national drink.”

Separately, Douglas Laing & Co is unveiling a limited-edition line extension: Timorous Beastie 12 Years Old at Cask Strength.

The new Timorous Beastie variant is bottled at 54.4% and it is packaged in a premium gift tube.

The newcomer will have marketing activity around Burns Night as well as whisky-paired dinners in several of the brand’s key markets.

Cara Laing, director of whisky at the family-owned whisky firm, Douglas Laing & Co, said: “It feels particularly fitting to launch this special bottling of Timorous Beastie in January, the month in which we will celebrate Burns Night in honour of our national bard. Proudly bottled at natural cask strength, this feisty special edition bursts with barley, sugary marshmallow and citrus notes, and unlike its namesake, Burns’ timid field mouse. It is certainly not for the faint-hearted.

“Incidentally, it is also ‘National Cheese Lovers’ Day’ on January 20, and this special edition bottling is the perfect partner to a cheeseboard, in particular a hard cheese such as comte.”

Just 3,000 bottles of Timorous Beastie 12 Years Old Cask Strength Limited Edition will be available from specialist spirits retailers across Europe and Asia. It is expected to retail at £59.99. 

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