Ardbeg is a distillery with a long history. The most eastern of the Kildalton distilleries along Islay’s south coast, it was founded in 1815 and until the end of the 20th century it ran without much incident. However, the downturns of the 1980s and 90s both hit the distillery, causing it to close twice across those decades. However, in 1997, Glenmorangie stepped and bought the then-closed distillery, and the current revival began.

    The launch of the flagship Ardbeg 10 Year Old in 2000 was first major step in this process, and since then a small but influential range of whiskies has followed. Dr Bill Lumsden has been the distillery's curator since shortly after it joined the Glenmorangie portfolio and, along with his team, has created one of the strongest line-ups of whisky anywhere in Scotland.

    In this tasting, Bill will dive into the distillery’s range. He’ll go behind the scenes with favourites old and new, as well as trying some recent releases and something special that Bill’s been working on in his lab…



    Since their advent in 2001, the Special Releases have been a showcase of Diageo’s wide portfolio of distillery’s offering whisky fans the chance to try different takes on some of the biggest names in Scotch whisky. The 2023 edition is no different, offering not only whiskies from seven more familiar distilleries, but also one that has never been seen before as a single malt…

    We’ll be joined by whisky ambassador Charlotte Barker and master blender Stuart Morrison to talk us through the complete range. Charlotte spends her days telling the world about whisky, while Stuart is part of the team who created this range, making them the perfect double act to reveal the secrets behind this new, much anticipated release.

    We are thrilled to be able to announce the line-up featuring the first single malt whisky to be released from the Roseisle distillery, alongside a 27 Year Old Glenkinchie, a 10 Year Old first fill Bourbon cask Clynelish bottled at cask strength and a 12 Year Old Lagavulin that has been finished in Don Julio Tequila casks. 

  • Duncan Taylor 'Rarest Whisky Collection’

    Duncan Taylor 'Rarest Whisky Collection’

    In 2001, industry veteran Euan Shand took over Duncan Taylor, and it went from being a well-regarded cask broker and trader to one of Scotland’s top independent bottlers. The past couple of decades have seen that reputation grow, with the Black Bull blend picking up major awards across the industry, and The Octave range pushing what can be done with small casks. But alongside all of that, it’s the rare whiskies that have driven the company’s reputation, and they are what we are focusing on in this masterclass.

    The masterclass will be hosted by Ian Logan, Duncan Taylor’s senior manager for whisky and hospitality (and occasional brand ambassador), a long-time friend of Whisky Show. Ian’s been working with whisky for almost 30 years and we’re very pleased to have him at the front of one of our masterclasses once again. This is Duncan Taylor’s first time at the show, and Ian’s bringing some impressive treats to kick off what we hope will be the first of many appearances.




    Peat is used to add flavour to whisky right near the beginning of the whisky-making process – during malting. When peat smoke is used while malt is being dried, its smoke sticks to the husk of the barley and the flavour is carried all the way through the production process into the bottle. The flavour of that smoke is key and is almost entirely derived from what went into making the peat – local plants, different everywhere that peat is found.

    In this class, The Whisky Exchange’s Billy Abbott will be joined by peatland scientist and author of Peat and Whisky: The Unbreakable Bond Mike Billett to try peaty whiskies from around the world and tease apart why they taste the way they do.

    This is a unique opportunity to not only try whiskies made with wildly varying peats, but also hear from a peat expert about what makes them tick.



    Since The Whisky Exchange opened its virtual doors back in 1999, we’ve worked closely with Gordon & MacPhail. At the heart of this partnership is a longstanding friendship between the Urquhart and Rankin families and our co-founder Sukhinder Singh. With this very special tasting, we celebrate Sukhinder’s life the way that only G&M can: with a range of incredible whiskies that mark milestones from his birth, through high points of his career, all the way to the present day.

    This one-off tasting will be filled with great drams and the type of stories that can only come from a lifetime in the drinks industry. Chosen by G&M’s soon-to-be-retired director Ewen Mackintosh and his team, this is sure to be a perfect send-off for Sukhinder as he and his brother Rajbir leave The Whisky Exchange to embark on their next adventures.



    Whisky has changed a lot over the years, both in how it is made and how it is enjoyed. However, not all of the whisky of the past has been consumed, and fortunately, bottles have lasted through the ages to give us the opportunity to try them. This class is all about learning how to find the right bottles to open and, of course, how to enjoy them.

    Our hosts are two of the world’s most knowledgeable experts when it comes to Old & Rare whisky.

    • Sukhinder Singh is the co-founder of The Whisky Exchange and the man behind the company’s huge range of collectible whiskies. Alongside buying whiskies for The Whisky Exchange, he is also one of the world’s best known collectors, with an encyclopedic knowledge of these rare bottles.

    • Jason Vaswani is The Whisky Exchange’s Old & Rare buyer and spends his days scouring auctions and private sales for the world’s best spirits. He has worked with Sukhinder over the years to build The Whisky Exchange’s range and is the company’s go-to person for information about old and rare bottles.

    Join us and make sure that you are selecting the best bottles for your whisky shelf.



    While it was founded in 1810, Jura distillery was reborn in 1963 after decades of closure and over the past 60 years it has grown to be the UK’s best-selling single malt. As part of the Whyte & Mackay portfolio, it has recently received the attention of master blenders Richard Paterson and Gregg Glass and been given yet another new lease of life with a new range.

    In this tasting, Joe Ricketts will join (virtually) three generations of Jura distillery managers – current boss and Jura-native Jamie Muir, and Graham Logan and Willie Tait, who preceded him.

    Attendees to the class will all receive an artist’s photograph of Jura, by island resident Konrad Bowkowski, signed by the whisky makers of Jura past and present, and one attendee will win a 60th Anniversary experience on Jura in Spring 2024, for two people. Travel from London to Jura, with two nights’ accommodation. Hosted by Distillery Manager Jamie Muir.

    Come along and learn about the beautiful island of Jura, its only distillery and the whiskies that Jamie and the team are making there.



    Hearing from the people behind the best spirits in the world gives you a new insight into how they are made and even more appreciation for them. This year, writer Dave Broom will be joined by a panel of six, each bringing something special for us to try:

    • Martin Markvardsen – Highland Park’s veteran brand ambassador, and someone who knows more about what goes on inside the distillery’s walls than almost anyone else in the world.

    • Dennis Malcolm – born on the grounds of Glen Grant distillery and manager since 2006, now with more than 60 years in the industry under his belt.

    • Annabel Thomas – founder and CEO of Nc’nean, one of the leaders of the new wave of Scottish distilling. Annabel left behind a career in management consulting to build a sustainable distillery on her family farm in one of Scotland’s most remote areas and has been making sought-after whiskies ever since.

    • Richard Seale – owner, head distiller and blender for Foursquare rum in Barbados. Richard is one of the most influential people in the rum with extensive knowledge of how to make the often misunderstood spirit.

    • Emma Walker – whisky technical specialist & Master Blender in the Whisky Specialist Team at Diageo, and is one of the 12 blenders who are responsible for all of Diageo’s Scotch (and Irish) Whisk(e)y portfolio.

    • Billy Leighton – a long-time friend of Whisky Show and the head blender for Irish Distillers, makers of Jameson, Redbreast, the spots and lots more. There are few people in the world who know more about Irish whiskey than Billy.

    This is one of our most popular classes every year, this time with 100% more makers!



    While peat smoke is not uniquely Scottish, it is very much a defining character of many Scotch whiskies and over the years has become a trademark of the country. Likewise, whisky producers around the world now use sherry casks to mature their spirit, but their use was very much pioneered in the old world. Despite the long use of both peat and sherry casks, their intense flavours mean that combining them can be very difficult, although the result can be spectacular when done right.

    In this tasting, Dawn Davies MW will be joined by Elixir Distillers' blender Oliver Chilton, who curates the Port Askaig and Elements of Islay ranges of peated whisky, Anthony Wills, founder of Kilchoman distillery, and Jordan Paisley, manager of Lagavulin distillery. All three of them deal with peat and sherry while making their whiskies and will tell us about the difficulties of doing so, as well as showing us what happens when it all goes right.



    Until recently, Japanese whisky was quite simple – two major players, with a few smaller names that were rarely seen outside of Japan itself. However, more recently there has been an explosion in Japanese whisky’s popularity, and with that growth in the number of producers and the amount of whisky out there.

    In this masterclass, we’ll be joined by three whisky makers from very different distilleries, all at very different times in their history.

    • Jota Tanaka is the master blender for Fuji and a drinks industry veteran, having worked on everything from wine to the creation of modern Four Roses bourbon. Fuji itself has a long history, initially releasing whiskies in the 1970s but then going quiet until the past few years. With whisky now available from the distillery again, the future is very interesting.
    • Ichiro Akuto is the founder and head whisky maker for Chichibu distillery. Having worked for both Suntory and his family’s own Hanyu distillery before building Chichibu, he has been at the forefront of the development of Japanese whisky for decades and is a lead figure in modern Japanese whisky.
    • Yoshitsugu Komasa is the founder of Kanosuke distillery. The Komasa family have been shochu distillers for generations, and while his grandfather didn’t succeed in fulfilling his dream of building a whisky distillery, Yoshitsugu Komasa has done so, and Kanosuke has already started picking up accolades as one of the best of the new crop.

    This is a must-attend class for Japanese whisky fans, and a rare chance to meet three of the most important whisky makers in Japan today.



    Food pairing has a long and storied history. While wine is the most commonly thought of food pairing, whisky has become very popular over the years, with experts and chefs working together at the very highest level to create incredible combinations of flavour, many of which we have showcased at Whisky Show in the past. This year, we have listened to you, our loyal show goers, and put together maybe the ultimate line-up of whisky and food: pairing whisky with Joe & Seph’s popcorn.

    Popcorn may not seem like the first choice for eating alongside whisky, but works rather well. Plain and lightly salted popcorn can work almost as effectively as an oatcake or water biscuit to clean your palate. However, add in a whack of flavour and you’ve got yourself a potentially amazing combination.

    Dawn Davies MW started out in the drinks business as a sommelier, and has in more recent years turned her food-and-drink-pairing skills to whisky, and this tasting is the culmination of that experimentation.

    What whisky goes best with blue-cheese popcorn? Or Madras curry? What about apple crumble or peanut butter? Come along to this masterclass to find out…

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