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“There’s surely no way we can just… keep refilling these?” I ask, picking up a delicate logo-d glass at the entrance to the Scottish National Whisky Festival.

A nod from a friend who had arrived half an hour earlier to scope out the many distilleries manning stalls at SWG3 confirms that we in fact can, before she admits to already being on her third dram.

Well, that would explain the cheery hello.

This is the last session of the festival to take place in its current run, following a series of successful events in Inverness, Aberdeen and Edinburgh.

Each iteration is planned to reflect the character of its host city, I’ve been told in advance by festival coordinator Gareth Croll who went on to compare the run-up to the day with prepping for a “rock and roll gig”.  

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I can certainly see the inspiration, as a thick layer of smoke swirls around our ankles, and coloured lights sweep over the main hall while we snake through the crowds.

The theatrics turn out to be a result of the Ardbeg stall over in the corner, going slightly overboard in their attempts to create a visual representation of their signature, smoky-tasting notes.

But, it’s working, with a captivated audience all sharpening their elbows and jostling towards the front for a top-up.

Elsewhere many of the whisky world’s biggest names have set up shop for the day, looking slightly shell-shocked from the earlier afternoon session, yet still enthusiastically inviting passersby to discover their wares.

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A Fallow Edition from Lochlea matured in two different types of sherry cask, a special edition tequila finish from the Glasgow Distillery Company, The Hive from Wemyss Malt which leaves a lingering taste of luscious honey.

The list goes on and on, and while impossible to sample them all, I reckon we’ve made a valiant effort.

Three hours of free-flowing booze could well have been a recipe for disaster, but instead, the initial rush to secure a welcome dram has subsided, and lively conversations about all things whisky are taking place at every turn.

Meanwhile delivering on the promise of a touch of rock and roll is a stellar lineup taking to the stage as part of the world-famous Celtic Connections festival, highlighting the strong links between music and whisky in Scotland.

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“I want to put on events that show just how far-reaching whisky is in our modern-day culture,” Croll said, “its influence is profound, and we’ve got to support and nurture that. 

“While celebrating it with a good dram or two, of course.”

Glasses in hand as a fiddle player begins to pluck once more at his strings, there’s no doubt that the festival team have brought this vision to life, and pulled off a worthy tribute to whisky, trad music, and the vibrant communities they help to create.

Cheers to doing it all again next year.

Read the full interview with Gareth Croll here or find the Scottish National Whisky Festival on Instagram here for updates on upcoming events.