Feis Ile 2022 - Rachel MacNeil (Islay Whisky Academy)

After hosting a virtual Feis for the last two years, it was amazing to physically feel the atmosphere of people in a room for a tasting. Atmosphere is tangible, it makes you high and enthusiastic - there is nothing better than the buzz in a good tasting. It was great to hug friends - old and new - and to share our drams without having to send them out by post!

Ile is a different kind of whisky festival - people don't just come here to drink whisky. People come to catch up with friends, to enjoy walking along our beaches, to listen to music, to hang out with cigars and drams in campsites. We have a saying, "Come for the Whisky - Return for the Island." Most people who come to Feis Ile fall in love with the place. It's a different experience coming here than it is to attending any other festival - it must be the magic of Islay!

Whisky Live Dublin 2022 - Laurie Dwyer (Whisky Chats)

It's been an exciting time to be in and around Irish whiskey in recent years, as the category has experienced hitherto unprecedented growth. And as we head into the tenth decade since the number of distilleries on the island started to grow almost exponentially; the category's rude health was reflected in this year's Whiskey Live Dublin (WLD).

WLD is a standout event in the Irish whiskey calendar, and this year celebrated life at a home in the Royal Dublin Society, having outgrown its previous home in Dublin Castle. This move is explicitly reflective of the aforementioned rise in output, and there must have easily been 40% more exhibitors there this year compared to 2019 (that being the last time the event was held, due to matters that'll be obvious to the reader).

The significance of the event to the domestic industry is further evidenced by the attendance of some legends of Irish whiskey; with Billy Leighton, Kevin O'Gorman, and John Teeling just a few of the big names in attendance. In addition, a personal highlight, were the "unicorn" whiskeys lucky guests had the opportunity to try through the various masterclasses.

Campbeltown Malts Festival 2022 - Nick Bradley, Brand Manager (Glen Scotia and Littlemill)

For Glen Scotia, this year was all about celebration. It was a celebration of being able to welcome people back through our doors again after a two-year pause to the festivities. But also, importantly, it was a chance to celebrate an incredible twelve months for the distillery, with out Glen Scotia 25 Year Old winning Best in Class at the World Spirits Competition and then shortly after being named Scottish Distillery of the Year at the Scottish Whisky Awards.

This year's festival bottling was a nine-year-old unpeated single cask matured in first fill bourbon barrels. I am a big fan of Glen Scotia with a simple ex-bourbon only maturation - a "beautiful simplicity" as Iain would say. This year's was a belter, a real taste of the distillery's signature style.

We have returning guests who travel in from as far as the US and various parts of Asia every year. It's touching to see, and I love the sense of familiarity between everyone. Plus, with new neighbouring distilleries on the horizon, it is truly an exciting time to visit. We're witnessing a real resurgence of interest in our region's whiskies, so I cannot wait to see what next year brings, and rest assured, we have some big plans coming for next year's festival...

The original feature is from the Autumn 2022 edition of Whiskeria, delivered to the door of W Club subscribers and also free with any Whisky Shop purchase in store or online.