Visitors flock to Portsmouth Whiskey Affair
A WHISKEY festival hoping to show more women and younger people there is nothing old fashioned about the drink has returned to Portsmouth.
The Whiskey Affair offered 95 brands of whiskey, cocktails, and a free master class in whiskey tasting to more than 100 visitors at the Guildhall at the weekend. Catherine Jackson, who founded the festival in London in 2015, said she hoped the ‘huge variety of drinks’ on offer at the touring event would make whiskey appreciation feel more accessible.She said: ‘We have 50 per cent female staff, which is very unusual in the whiskey world – previously I’ve had some people talk to my male staff thinking they run things. ‘The whiskey world definitely could do a better job of engaging more women.‘We try to cater for all types of preference when it comes to flavour – it’s about raising awareness that whiskey is available for everyone.’One visitor, Stephanie Williams, had discovered a new favourite drink thanks to the festival. She said: ‘I’ve never really tried whiskey before. ‘But I’d encourage more girls to give it a go.‘My favourite was one of the Mackmyra Moments.’ The festival hosted staff from Swedish distillery Mackmyra in their first visit to the city. Sales manager Shane Pirie said people were ‘surprised’ to discover the whiskey came from Sweden – despite the country having 13 distilleries. He said: ‘Portsmouth is a really cool place, and everyone has been really interested to hear we are from Sweden. ‘Sweden grows barley, has plenty of wood, and a huge supply of glacier water – what more could you want for making whiskey?‘It’s the same latitude as Scotland, but our whiskey is better.‘People are surprised by how smooth some of our whiskeys are – sometimes they expect something as rough as a bear’s backside.’ The Whiskey Affair will return to Portsmouth for the fourth time next year, with it next appearing at the Winchester Guildhall on Saturday, August 17.Catherine, who owns The Lounge bar in Alton, added: ‘We have a really loyal fan base in Portsmouth, all of us really enjoy coming down here.’