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Virtual whisky tasting helps fill Fife festival void and raises four-figure sum for charity

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Dram lovers missing the annual Fife Whisky Festival took part in an online tasting which boosted the coffers of Age Concern.

A virtual whisky tasting hosted by the team behind Fife Whisky Festival has boosted the funds of a local charity.

The “Fae Fife” online tasting was organised to support Age Concern Cupar, raising £1,000 for the group.

It also brought some lockdown cheer to Scottish whisky lovers who were disappointed the annual festival had to be cancelled this year.

Instead, 40 whisky fans from across the country were treated to 10 drams from a range of Fife distilleries during a two-hour tasting session.

‘Next best thing’

Fife Whisky Festival co-founder Karen Somerville said: “When we realised we wouldn’t be able to have our usual 700-strong crowd gather for the festival we decided to host the next best thing – a tasting from Fife distilleries.

“We always raise money for Age Concern Cupar at the festival with a raffle and we didn’t want them to miss out this year especially when they need funding more than ever to support elderly people through the difficult times we are all facing.

The tasting under way with Murray Stevenson hosting.

“The distilleries and our festival retailer, Luvians, kindly provided the whisky for us and we were limited to just 25 tickets which meant we sold out in about three minutes as hundreds of whisky lovers tried to snap them up!

“It was a great night and everyone had fun – the drams were great; we heard some interesting presentations from the distillers and brand ambassadors and best of all we raised £1,000 for Age Concern through ticket sales and some generous donations.”

Donation delight

Anne Ronaldson, manager of Age Concern Cupar, was delighted with the funds raised by the whisky tasting.

She said: “I’d like to thank the team at Fife Whisky Festival for their continued support which is much appreciated.

“We’re closed now, due to lockdown, but are looking forward to welcoming people back for activities and social evenings when we can and this donation will make a big difference to us.

“I really appreciate the organisers thinking about us and hosting the tasting to help us this year.”

The whiskies participants enjoyed during the night.

The distillers and brand ambassadors involved in the event also enjoyed the evening.

Murray Stevenson, UK sales manager and brand ambassador at Lindores Abbey Distillery in Newburgh, added: “It’s a real honour to be part of an event showcasing the thriving industry of Fife whisky distilling which has gone from strength to strength during the past decade with single malt whisky from our little corner of the globe now among the most sought after worldwide.

“For us here at Lindores Abbey Distillery attending the Fife Whisky Festival, be it virtual or the real thing, is one of our most important and enjoyable dates in our calendar.

Incredible history

“With Lindores being a young distillery, we relish the opportunity to engage with whisky enthusiasts in our local community and introduce them to our phenomenal malt spirit, beautiful distillery and incredible history of the ancient Abbey that is on their doorstep.

“The festival is also a fantastic platform to communicate our brand and story to those further afield from Fife too and it is a real joy to be part of the new wave of whisky tourism coming to the area and welcoming the world’s whisky pilgrims to the kingdom of Fife.”

Lindores Abbey Distillery.

The tasting session began with drams from Lindores Abbey Distillery and Lady of the Glen, an independent bottler whose new warehouses are in Dalgety Bay.

They were followed by a dram presented by Kingsbarns Distillery’s Peter Holroyd, who also treated viewers to a live tour of the distillery, before Francis Cuthbert presented a single cask whisky from Daftmill Distillery in Cupar.

Peter Holroyd of Kingsbarns Distillery.

The fifth dram was a single malt from Eden Mill Distillery in St Andrews followed by a taste of last year’s festival bottling of a 22-year-old Cameronbridge which was finished in a marsala cask for 12 months.

This dram was presented by Vince Fusaro, owner and founder of Luvians Bottle Shop, and Hugh Barron, sales manager for whisky specialists James Eadie who bottled the Cameronbridge.

Eden Mill Distillery.

The ‘Fae Fife’ finale featured four tasting samples in a deluxe pack from InchDairnie Distillery in Glenrothes and a presentation from distiller Scott Sneddon.

Next year’s event

Mrs Somerville and her co-founder Justine Hazlehurst are now planning the next Fife Whisky Festival which takes place in March 2022.

Ms Hazlehurst said: “We’ve already booked the Corn Exchange in Cupar for March 5 and aim to bring the festival back to Fife bigger and better than ever.

“As usual we’ll have more than 30 distilleries and independent bottlers from all over Scotland showcasing their whisky wares.

InchDairnie Distillery.

“It will be an opportunity not to be missed and I think we’ll all be looking forward to it after having to cancel our 2021 event.”

Mrs Somerville, managing director of award-winning giftware firm Angels’ Share Glass, and Ms Hazlehurst, founder of Kask Whisky, launched Fife Whisky Festival in 2017 with the first event held in March 2018.

Whisky showcase

The annual festival aims to showcase the renaissance of whisky-making in Fife by bringing together the best whisky producers from the region and beyond with the next event scheduled for March 4-6, 2022.

It will feature an opening dinner at Lindores Abbey on Friday March 4 followed by tasting sessions at the Corn Exchange in Cupar on Saturday March 5 with additional, smaller events on the Sunday.

Tickets for the 2022 event are due to go on sale in September this year. For more details visit www.fifewhiskyfestival.com.


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