Following on from a previous Reza Wood Designs blog post, "why you should visit us at an event" we thought we’d share some inside knowledge about why we think whisky festivals are great. We love getting out and about with our whisky barrel gifts and this month we’ll be at a very special festival, the first one ever to be held in our local town, Kirkintilloch, The Spirit of Alba Gin and Whisky Festival.
We’ve been attending whisky festivals since we started our business and they are a fantastic way to enjoy whisky whether you are an expert or a complete beginner.
Whisky Festivals are good value for money
Whisky festivals are extremely popular and tickets go on sale far in advance. It’s easy to see why they are in demand. For a very reasonable price, you’ll have the opportunity to sample a wide range of whisky from all over Scotland and sometimes overseas too.
What’s more, if you find something you like, there’s usually the chance to buy a bottle for a discounted price at the event. There are few other places where you have the chance to try so many different whiskies in the one place.
Festival fun: Socialising with friends and family
Whisky is made for sharing. At whisky festivals, you’ll often see members of whisky clubs attending, all wearing matching t shirts and swapping tasting notes. It’s also likely you’ll spot fathers with sons, couples, brothers, sisters, the young and the not so young.
Many festivals enjoy return customers, so you can meet up with the same people year after year. You could make it an annual outing with your friends and family.
Festival facts: Learn something about whisky
The whisky industry is full of surprises and there’s always something new to learn or discover. A whisky festival is a great place to find out something you didn’t know about, whether it’s a newly opened distillery, a new independent bottler or an innovative new whisky accessory that you just have to have.
Enjoy the many tastings at whisky festivals
Most whisky festivals will provide you with a whisky tasting glass, which you’ll use to sample anything that takes your fancy from the range of exhibitors. At each stand there will be a selection of whiskies to try and you can ask for a recommendation based on your preferences or ask them to surprise you!
Take advantage of the very knowledgeable staff at each stand, who can tell you about the history, the process and even the legend behind their particular drams. There are so many different whiskies available that there really is a whisky for everyone.
There’s far more to whisky festivals than just whisky
Most whisky festivals will have additional stands with whisky related products or other spirits or food. These may often be local businesses you’ve not heard of or unusual products, many new to the market.
They often make great take home gifts as a reminder of your day out or as a wee souvenir for those who couldn’t join you. So whether you are looking for a thoughtful birthday present or something to go with that nice bottle of whisky you treated yourself to, you’re sure to discover something you like, somewhere you want to visit or something you want to find out more about.
There are many reasons to visit a whisky festival and you can check out our events page to find where we’ll be exhibiting this year and follow the links to see if there are any tickets left. Do come and say “hello” if you see us and we look forward to hearing all about your favourite dram.
Find out more about our range of handcrafted recycled whisky tasting accessories and gifts here.
At Reza Wood Designs, we are very proud of our local town’s connection to Japanese whisky making so we’re launching a new product to celebrate, inspired by this incredible tale of adventure and true pioneering spirit.
For the love of whisky
In 1918 a young man from Japan arrived in Scotland eager to learn something new that he could introduce to his own country. He learned the art of Scotch Whisky making and subsequently returned to his home country with something that no one had done before- and a new product.
He chose to come to Glasgow and enrolled on a chemistry course at the University of Glasgow. Seeking lodgings, he moved in with a middle class family in Kirkintilloch. He fell in love with one of the daughters and subsequently married her despite family objections due to their different cultures.
Following work experience in some of Scotland’s distilleries, the pair soon returned to Japan to start their new life together and follow their dreams.
The young man was Masataka Taketsuru, a sake distiller from Hiroshima and together with his new bride, Rita Cowan from Kirkintilloch they went on to assist with Suntory's Yamazaki Distillery and then to start The Nikka Whisky company which is now Japan's second largest whisky producer. They founded their distillery in Yoichi in Hokkaido, Japan's northernmost island, closer to Russia than to Tokyo.
Today the story of Masataka Taketsuru and Rita Cowan - and their whisky heritage connection with Kirkintilloch is well known - thanks to a Japanese tv drama based on the couple. And each year Japanese tourists make the pilgrimage to the small Scottish town of Kirkintilloch to find out more about Rita and her life in Scotland.