Victoria, B.C., Canada (November 16, 2006) – There are indications that during the Dark Ages, from the sixth to the ninth centuries, Irish monasteries were the repositories of the elements of civilization swept away by marauding barbarians: Reading and writing, the word of God, scientific study and with it, the secrets of distillation. Hallelujah! Raise a toast to the monks.

If you are a bit malt mad and can wax poetic about “cracking a wee dram” of the lustrous amber liquid, you will need to beat a whisky trail to Victoria’s 2nd Annual Whisky Festival at the Hotel Grand Pacific, January 26 & 27, 2007.

Single malt, blended, Scotch, Irish, Canadian or bourbon, this is a premiere gathering of the clan of whisky aficionados. Of a possible 2,500 different brands of whisky in the world, this event will showcase more than 90 different whiskies; and all will be available to sip and savour.

The festival opens on Friday, January 26th with a tasting led by Mr. Richard Paterson, award-winning Master Blender for Whyte & Mackay Limited, famous Scottish whisky merchants. Saturday afternoon is reserved for Whisky School — one-hour educational Master Classes offered by many of the world’s top distillers, such as Lagavulin, Arran, Glenfarclas and Dalwhinnie.

The “spirited” two-day event culminates with a Consumer Tasting on the evening of Saturday January 27th in both of the Hotel’s ballrooms. Attendees each receive an elegant engraved Glencairn whisky nosing & tasting glass with which to amble and sample the whiskies provided by producers and distillers from around the world.

No whisky tasting worth its peaty soul would be complete without haggis, and so it is with this event. The talented chefs from the award-winning kitchen of the Hotel Grand Pacific are crafting hor d’oeuvres to complement superb whisky. Guests will be treated to ingenious appetizers created especially for the event, such as the Chef’s popular haggis tarts!

For more information about the Whisky Festival, and for tickets for the Master Classes and Consumer Tasting, visit www.victoriawhiskyfestival.com.

The Hotel Grand Pacific is offering a special room rate for festival attendees of C$109 per night. Space is limited. visit www.hotelgrandpacific.com.

Guests are asked to honour the “no perfume, no aftershave” request of the organizers of the event. Appreciating good whisky begins with the “nose” and this scent-free requirement makes all kinds of sense.