Reading: the home of the sweet tooth and our busiest events yet!

We descended on Reading on Saturday for the first time and were excited to bring our festival to the most lavish backdrop yet – The Great Hall in Reading University. Walking in to the venue made many a jaw drop throughout the sessions with staff and attendees alike, we can’t wait to return next year now that we’ve adopted it as our Reading home.


Did Reading warm to the idea of the festival then? Did it ever! Both sessions filled up immediately upon opening the doors and people immediately started sampling drams from all over the room and the world. There was a continual buzz in the room and the sight of staff rushing to replenish stocks on the bar far quicker than we’ve needed to previously- the Reading crowd really knew how to get stuck in.

Our masterclass this time was provided by Andrew and Ed, founders of the British Bourbon Society. They gave a fascinating talk on bourbon which was packed both sessions, and illustrated their lesson throughout with samples of four bourbons that caught their interest:

Benheim Wheated
Elijah Crag 12
Mellow Corn


Returning was our favourite, Shilton from Paul John Whisky. Shilton is legendary amongst our staff for his photobooth skills and as always, he lived up to his reputation and put in that extra effort that makes us all laugh through the day. Attendees are always captivated by his breadth of knowledge and jovial manner, coming away with compliments to us all day for involving him in our festival – and we couldn’t agree more! Paul John Whisky sold out at our Off-Licence in the evening session which is testament to the strength of the Indian Whisky sector gaining momentum with fans of the liquor.


We were treated to Becki Short returning to sing for us again at both sessions. She was a sure-fire hit at Guildford and bonded with us all instantly, so we’re keeping her as our resident singer for events. Watching a couple dance to her performance in the evening and easily belt out special requests was a pleasure throughout the event, she brings a friendly, easy charm to the room that we adore. Come and see us at the Southampton event and raise a glass to her as it’s her birthday too!


Our photobooth was clicking away all day and shows some truly fantastic experiences were had throughout the night – and confirms our suspicions that Reading was a thirsty crowd too! Are you in the photos? Have a look here:

Afternoon session

Evening session

Just what were the brands that Reading went crazy for then? What warmed you all on what started to develop into a chilly autumnal evening? Here is all the gossip:

SCOTCH Douglas Laine triumphed again with Rock Oyster being popular throughout both sessions. Other favourites were AnCnoc 22 and Dalmore 15. They’re all terribly different scotches proving our ethos of catering to all ages/tastes and experiences is being embraced wholeheartedly by those attending!


BOURBON Will a Whiskey Affair crowd *ever* stop migrating towards Willet’s Pot? Not if Reading is anything to go by, it topping the sales chart again by some margin. Eagle Rare was a notable mention too and Elijah Craig was a sure-fire hit too following the masterclasses- looks like they developed a taste for the popular bourbon after hearing about it from BBS


WHISKEY Our attendees love their Japanese drams! We found the new whisky we stocked, Togouchi was so phenomenally popular that we sold out of it before the end of the second session through the bars and off-licence. The Dutch Discovery Road was making waves too and Flying Pig sold out yet again, proving a hit with the Reading crowd from the start.



COCKTAILS Well, Reading has a sweet tooth it would seem. Both sessions focused heavily on the dessert section of Sam’s delicious menu and there was the delicious smell of Lemon Meringue Pie everywhere you turned with the room.



This was the first event where we actively got social with attendees and invited them to share their experience of the night with us. We’re delighted that we did because the photos and posts coming in were fantastic! Prizes of free tickets are to be chosen at the end of this week, so if you have some to share then do so via Twitter, Instagram or Facebook using #whiskeyaffair and we’ll find it and choose our favourites. Thank you for all the participation so far, we’ve loved seeing the night from your side.

All the photos from the night done by the excellent Hana Laurie are here: Whiskey Affair, Reading Gallery

Only a month until the Southampton event, if you are available then come and join us as we hit a beautiful small theatre in the heart of the city. We have loads of extras planned already, can’t wait to get it all underway!

The Whiskey Affair team