I first became familiar with The Whisky Lounge thanks to Talking Canvas, a PR agency that works with them. Amanda and Eddie were up in Edinburgh during the Fringe and the TC team thought it might be a good idea to have me chat with them briefly about running whisky events in Edinburgh in addition to the whisky festival that they already put together.

Eddie and I hit it off quickly as he’s a big blues fan and I was in the middle of doing a ‘history of blues’ show at the Fringe with my band.  I continue to be impressed by the infrastructure TWL has managed to set up for their events, festivals, and trips. The venues they manage to secure for their festivals are impressive too. It’s insanely ambitious and most importantly, it’s accessible to whisky newbie and geek alike. I’m not sure anyone else has come close to establishing such a wide-ranging whisky events network.

What began as an initial chat then evolved into a trip to Islay in November 2016. I was kindly invited by TWL to jump onboard one of their tours and meet some of the team as well as some of the diehard fans who joined the trip. Islay is one of the most magical places on earth, so it’s a perfect opportunity to hang out and drink great whisky.

Our accommodation had a perfect view of Finlaggan, the ancient seat of Celtic tribal chiefs. Joe, Rupert, and Eddie were all great fun and generous with their whisky. The highlight for me was tasting a few of the TWL’s own single cask releases by the American monument on the Oa with the wind buffeting us.

Interviewing Eddie, it was fun to hear about how the company grew from him driving across the country in a beat up car into a much bigger operation, able to draw on a large community that helps create unique whisky events. I hope it keeps growing.

There’s a reason the team identify themselves as evangelists and missionaries. They understand that educating potential drinkers and fans and creating memorable tasting experiences goes a long way towards getting people to fall in love with whisky. That’s valuable to both enthusiasts and the industry alike.

My next TWL event is the London weekender they’re organising in May, and I’m looking forward to seeing what can be done with the Kia Oval! To me, drinking whisky is a much better use of space than playing cricket.  

See you there!