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Whisky Aficionados Gearing up for Dramfest 2011

22 December 2010

Whisky aficionados around New Zealand, Australia and the world are gearing up for next year’s premier whisky festival, DramFest ’11.

This popular biennial event takes place in Christchurch from 25-27 February 2011 and organiser Michael Fraser Milne of Whisky Galore says the show will be bigger and better than ever before. There’s even a rare chance to sample the world’s oldest Scotch single malt ever bottled, the Mortlach 70 year old/1938.

“We have obtained two 200ml bottles of the 70-year old whisky and will be offering an exclusive tasting for a very limited number of people,” says Fraser Milne.

Don’t worry if you miss out on that, there are still over 36 distilleries showcasing their whiskies, including six new exhibitors as well as several new expressions of whisky from some of Whisky Galore’s favourite establishments.

“Visitors will be able to savour a dram or two from around the world, including a range of premier single malts.”
The three day event kicks off with a once-in-a-lifetime chance on Friday, 25 February to see the original 1948 film, Whisky Galore. The film tells the story of the sinking of the SS Politician off the Scottish coast and how a group of islanders raided the shipwreck for its consignment of 24,000 cases of whisky. February is the 70th anniversary of the sinking in 1941 and Whisky Galore is flying out the original film from Ealing Studios in the UK. There’ll be spot prizes for great period costumes as well as the chance to have a whisky or two.

The main event on Saturday, 26 February at the Christchurch Convention Centre is the chance for visitors, whether whisky virgins or fully fledged devotees, to really experience the world of whisky to the fullest. Highlights include the presence of the reborn Glenglassaugh distillery that has fired up its sills again after 22 years in mothballs, reviving a 100-year-old classic spirit character and the new kid on the block, Kilchoman.

“Since its first appearance at DramFest 09 (actually 2007), Kilchoman has wowed the whisky world with its single malt expressions,” says Fraser Milne. “This year the distillery will be presenting its Spring and Summer 2010 bottlings and a look at some future efforts.”

On Sunday, 27 February tickets are available for members of public to take part “DramFest Sessions “ (tutored tastings) with experts from some of Scotland’s leading distilleries.

“These workshops allow you to ask questions from the masters of whisky, to gain an insight into the secret of how malted grain and water stored in oak casks turn over time into liquid gold,” says Fraser Milne. “These sessions are always popular and some have sold out already.”

The “Sessions” workshops include the world first tasting with Derek Hancock KQ, of Gordon and MacPhail of the Mortlach 1938, and sessions with Susan Colville from Wemyss Vintage Malts, Stuart Nickerson KQ, Managing Director of Glenglassaugh and Alex Bruce, KQ from Adelphi Distillery.

A full programme of workshops and exhibitors is available at Tickets for the event are available from Whisky Galore or on line at or


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