Skip to content

Blending mountain culture with whisky at the Banff Whisky Experience

An experience of some of the most famous and unique whisky from around the world, right here in the Canadian Rockies starting Friday (Sept. 13) at the Banff Centre

BANFF – Experience some of the finest whisky in the world right in the heart of the Canadian Rockies at the Banff Whisky Experience from Sept. 13-14.

While the whisky itself has aged, the festival is still new to the community. Banff Whisky Experience is going on its second year and this time it will be hosted at the Banff Centre.

“Our festival is really about pairing mountain culture with whisky and we want people to engage with nature while they drink these incredible spirits, which is something no other festival can really do,” said Banff Whisky Experience founder and chief curator Andrew Hardingham.

Throughout the two day event, people will be able to taste whisky from all over the world while also gaining some knowledge at the various masterclasses. On the final day, the Grand Tasting Event will wrap up the Banff Whisky Experience.

The Banff Whisky Experience caters to both experienced whisky drinkers and beginners. With its masterclasses, whisky enthusiasts get to learn about the intricacies of the spirit.

For fans of Johnnie Walker scotch whisky, attendees of this masterclass will be able to create their own unique blend with various premium single malts. Under the tutelage of brand ambassador Dante Raphael, people can experiment with Cardhu, Oban and Talisker while also diving into the complexities of scotch whisky blends.

Then there is a masterclass dedicated to finding the story behind every glass of whisky. Led by whisky expert and specialized spirits writer Davin de Kergommeaux will feature some of the rarest whisky in the world.

“But at the same time I want to talk to people about how they can make their stories more interesting, finding a new hook in a story. Talk to them about simple little things that make writing more interesting to read,” de Kergommeaux said.

De Kergommeaux’s books are on nearly every whisky lover’s bookshelf according to Hardingham. With de Kergommeaux’s masterclass Adventure of a Whisky Writer teaches the art of writing about whisky.

“It’s almost a sixth sense, it’s a clairvoyance because the story is the most important ingredient in the bottle, so if we have the opportunity to have somebody who tells a really good story, we can give our attendees even more,” Hardingham said.

Most notably, one of Banff’s own local distillerie have an exciting project on the horizon. Matthew Hendriks, master distiller at Park Distillery, Restaurant and Bar will be announcing the Exploratory Whisky Project at his masterclass.

“[We’ve] literally popped every type of barrel, every fill cycle we’ve done, anywhere from 37 months old down to four months old. We’ll even have some that’s un-aged there, so people can really see the difference,” Hendriks said.

Hendriks described the project as a glimpse into the Park Distillery’s cellar by giving consumers a taste of the whisky at each cycle before it's completely ready.  

Whisky generally isn’t ready until years down the road and in Canada, distillers have to wait a minimum of three years for it to be legally called Canadian whisky.

But just because a whisky is legal, that doesn’t mean its ready Hendriks added.

“I’m a very big advocate of wait, time and patience and the history of whisky and 200 years of them doing it has proven that you need to wait. That’s what we’re doing,” Hendriks said.

With the Exploratory Whisky Project, Hendriks will be giving whisky lovers a preview of Park Distillery’s future whisky where they can also purchase the bottles at different cycle periods. Although fans of Park Distillery won’t be seeing the final result anytime soon, Hendriks assured that it's well worth the wait. 

“It’s not old enough – why would you waste the whisky? We won enough awards on our packaged groups now that why would you not want to have the best possible whisky you can release.”

Attendees of Hendriks’ masterclass, Park Distillery: Exploratory Whisky Project, will also get the opportunity to buy one of the first bottles from the project.

Banff Whisky Experience will run on Sept. 13-14 at the Banff Centre where masterclasses on the popular spirit will take place over the two days. Wrapping up the final day will be the Grand Tasting Event.

For a full list of scheduled masterclasses or to purchase tickets, visit