Irish playwright George Bernard Shaw once quipped, “Whiskey is like liquid sunshine.” Whether round, fragrant Irish whiskey or smoky, peaty Scotch, Canadian rye with its savoury spice or American bourbon with its lush vanilla sweetness, they all derive their origins from the ancient Celtic uisge beatha or ‘water of life’.
Victoria’s annual Whisky Festival offers aficionados of these amber nectars the rare opportunity to sip and sample 150 varieties of their favourite spirit. Held at the four-diamond Hotel Grand Pacific from January 19 through 22, 2012, the Festival also hosts masterclasses on a diverse range of whiskies from across the globe, including unique selections from India and Japan. Whisky devotees can sit in on sessions with Jim Murray, author of the internationally renowned Whisky Bible, or Michael Urquhart, bottler of some of the world’s oldest whiskies at Gordon & McPhail. And Vancouver Island’s own Master Distiller Mike Nicolson will be introducing Shelter Point’s New Make Malt Whisky, the newest addition to Canada’s proud distilling tradition.