St Albans is hosting its first ever specialist whisky festival this summer.

The Summerton Club Whisky Festival takes place at The Lower Red Lion on Saturday, June 29, and Sunday, June 30, and gives visitors and festival-goers the chance to sample a huge array of over 60 craft small batch whiskies, from all around the world. As well as sampling fine spirits from over 15 master distillers, a host of industry experts will be on hand to guide visitors through the samples.

St Albans will be awash with whiskies at the June event. It will feature one of the first single malts to be produced in London in over a century, from award-winning distillers, Bimber. Bimber will also debut their first release of ‘The London Single Malt Whisky’ with special bottlings of different finishes.

As well as British distillers, there will be brands to sample from all across the globe, including Mackmyra, the award-winning Swedish single malt brand. Its famous ‘Moments’ range is released every year and is limited to just 4,000 bottles. Visitors to the festival will have the rare opportunity of sampling Mackmyra’s latest limited-edition malt.

With the rise in popularity of Japanese whisky, the festival will host three top flight Japanese brands including Hatozaki, Togouchi and Akashi.

Daniel Humphrey, founder of The Summerton Whisky Club, said they are really excited to unveil so many top-quality whisky brands and where better to try these great tipples than in a lovely old 17th century pub in St Albans?

Here, the experts at the Summerton Club give their advice on choosing the perfect tipple.

When it comes to finding a delicious whisky it all comes down to one thing: taste. The Summerton Whisky Club is a members-only whisky subscription club that sources craft whiskies from around the world, to give rare and delicious malts delivered straight to the door.

There are so many whiskies available with often baffling differences between blends, ages and hues, it can be a headache trying to find something a bit different than the big brands on your local supermarket shelf. With years of knowledge and experience, Summerton Whisky Club can identify the best whiskies around for their members and take all the guesswork out.

When shopping for whisky, people tend to be falsely reassured by rich, dark and golden colours, however many blends on the market can have additions of caramel to appear more attractive and this can have quite an effect on the natural flavours. It’s important to note that even a light shade of whisky can pack quite a flavourful punch. So, don’t be drawn in by colours alone.

Another tip to keep your eye out for when looking for a new whisky to try is non-chill filtered whisky. Many whisky brands will advertise their product as chill filtered, however it is important to note that this process is purely cosmetic and can remove natural elements of the whisky itself, and have an impact on flavour. The process of chill filtering removes these natural elements that can sometimes cause the drink to go cloudy when poured over ice or mixed with water, a small compromise for the potential loss of years of natural flavour.

Something to consider when picking a whisky is how it has been aged, as the type of wood used for the ageing process can make a significant difference to the end result. Many whiskies are aged in Bourbon barrels, this is due to the fact that bourbon is required to be aged in new casks, therefore being discarded after one use. Ageing whisky in bourbon barrels can impart a sweet taste and a golden colour. Another type of barrel often used in the ageing of whisky is port barrels, the wood from these barrels infuses the whisky with delicate flavours of its fortified wine predecessor, leaving the whisky with a rich red colour and deep fruity notes.

Taste is everything, but realistically it is tricky to sample a large number of small batch craft whiskies before you buy, so how can you make sure you get a dram or two that’s going to be really good? Sign up to a Whisky Club like Summerton to do all the research.

For more information and to buy tickets visit