It’s springtime, and we all know what that means. No, not pretty bulbs coming into bloom, or frolicking lambs – or even an early spell of “taps aff” weather.

For people like me, springtime means only one thing – whisky.

This is festival season, when companies showcase their new expressions and fans get together to share stories, impressions of the new drams and generally have a rip-roaring time.

But this year, just like almost everything else in the world right now, that alternative festive season has been shut down – forcing many companies to reach out to people online, with virtual festivals, digital tastings and the like.

I’ve joined in one so far, which was a great laugh, but, to be honest, I did miss finding those gems you run into at a real festival – the rare expressions from under the counter, or the special releases from one of the great independent bottlers.

And that’s why next weekend is going to be such a treat for whisky fans. This coming Friday, at 7.30pm on the dot, around 170 fans from all over the world will be logging in to join a virtual tasting by one of the greatest bottlers of them all – Adelphi.

If you know whisky, that one world will have made you stop and take notice. If you don’t let me explain. Adelphi is like the Linn of hi-fi, the Aston Martin of motoring, the Gleneagles of hotels – basically, if you see anything with that name on a bottle, you know you’re in for a serious treat.

So why does a company like this need to get involved in virtual tastings? Surely they don’t need the money, or the publicity? Connal Mackenzie, group sales manager with the company, says the reason they’re doing it is much more basic than that.

“This is the only way we can get out to the Adelphi people,” he says. “If it wasn’t for this virus, we’d be gearing up for festivals.

“We were going to be launching a new whisky list anyway, and we usually try to fall in to some kind of festival to do that, get feedback them and pour some drams for people.

“We wanted to bottle up some samples and get them to the people who are missing out on festivals around the UK and further afield. This was the ideal platform to do that.”

Interest in everything that Adelphi produces is usually huge, and new bottlings usually sell out very quickly, so it came as no surprise to me when Mackenzie told me that when the event was publicised, the tasting packs – five new expressions that will be tasted during Friday’s session – sold out within 24 hours, with interest from as far afield as Australia and America.

Mackenzie will be conducting the tasting, alongside Alex Bruce, managing director of Adelphi, and Arthur Motley, of Royal Mile Whiskies, which sells Adelphi whisky and has worked closely with them on Friday’s event.

But he is at pains to stress that the tasting is no exclusive event. “A total of 165 people will have a tasting pack – however, this is not just for those people. Yes, the tasting pack will be part of the discussion, but there will be plenty of people around the world who have bottles of Adelphi open – or any whisky for that matter – and we want them to join us.

“Alex, Arthur and myself will be just having a general chat about whisky – yes, the focus will be on our whiskies – but we want to invite anyone who’s a fan to open a bottle and join us.”

So, to the critical question – what’s going to be on show? I’m speaking to Mackenzie by phone, but I can almost see the glint of excitement in his eyes. “We’re pretty pleased with this list – and we hope the people who join us will be too …”

So here are the drams:

• Ardnamurchan 2015 4 Year Old Single Cask 62.8% ¬- this is a bottling from Adelphi’s own distillery, and the first taste of the actual whisky ahead of an release hopefully later this year.

• The Glover 4 Year Old Batch 5 54.7% ¬- a special mix of Ardnamurchan and whisky from the legendary Chichibu Distillery in Japan.

• Linkwood 2008 11 Year Old Single Cask 54.7%

• Caol Ila 2007 13 Year Old Single Cask 50.8%

And just for a special treat:

• Bas Armagnac 1994 25 Year Old Armagnac Single Cask 55.1%

So, how can I get involved, I ask Connal. “Well,” he said, “even though all our tasting packs have sold out, don’t let that bother you. Just log on to one of our social media channels, open your favourite dram and join the discussion.”

I’m not sure I can think of a better way to spend a Friday night!

If you want to join in, go to one of the following at 7.30pm on Friday, April 24: