Enjoy a wee dram at The Victoria Whisky Fest

By Kyle Wells

Tipple tasters the region over are gearing up to wet their whistles at the Victoria Whisky Festival, coming January 18-21 to the Hotel Grand Pacific.

Entering its 13th year, the festival has expanded for 2018 and will see seven countries represented through 50 distilleries offering over 200 different whiskies. “The idea is really to give people an opportunity to experience all facets of good whisky, whether it’s scotch whisky, Canadian whisky or American whisky, whatever,” said Frank Hudson, festival director and organizer. “That’s why it’s called the ‘Whisky Festival’ and not the ‘Scotch Whisky Festival.’”

Whisky the world over is hot right now, Hudson said. On a recent trip to Scotland, Hudson noticed all but one distillery he visited were in the process of expanding, and new countries and distilleries are getting into the whisky world all the time.

“Good whiskies are made everywhere,” Hudson said. “Japanese whisky is phenomenal, Taiwanese whisky is phenomenal, there’s some American whisky that’s phenomenal. Canadian whisky has really been coming into its own.”

Single malt scotch may still be considered the cream of the crop by most, from the peaty Islay varieties to the fruity flavours of Speyside and beyond, but blended whiskies are still the mainstay the world over. Different approaches to distilling the whisky are something of a trend currently, such as introducing new flavours and introducing new production methods. Everyone, from newbies to experts, is welcome at the festival. For new whisky enthusiasts, Hudson likes to remind them that just because a bottle is pricey doesn’t necessarily mean that it’s good, and that there are treasures to be found among the more affordable varieties. For more information visit victoriawhiskyfestival.com.

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