A few months back, I had the chance to both attend and lead masterclasses at the 2019 Tunsberg Whiskyfestival in Tønsberg, Norway (Tunsberg is the town’s historic name), which is just outside of Oslo. The Tunsberg Whisky Club (Whiskylaug) puts on the festival every year, and 2019 was the festival’s ninth year. It is a cozy, but well attended whisky festival: several hundred people milled about in the amphitheater space and the adjoining open spaces, but it never felt crowded. The main hall also featured a huge screen for announcing upcoming masterclasses–and also a couple of nice cars placed there by sponsors.
The masterclasses were also well attended: I had 34 in my Japanese Whisky class, and a whopping 45 in my Game of Thrones tasting (full disclosure: I received compensation from the festival for leading these masterclasses). The Game of Thrones tasting was preceded by a tour of some Viking ships, including a replica of the Oseberg Viking ship (on display in a local museum), built entirely with tools and construction methods used when the original was built. It was a perfect appetizer for a Game of Thrones-themed tasting, especially on such a gorgeous afternoon.
The attendees leaned heavily toward the whisky connoisseur side of the spectrum, which made for a really nice event in many ways.
Regrets on the photography side: I didn’t take pictures of the whole venue or the venue when it was filled up later in the evening. I also failed to take a photo of the food, which in this case was a very fine sausage dinner that so blew my socks off that I just wolfed it down before I ever had a single thought about taking a picture of it. As I’ve noted before, food is not usually a strong suit of Norwegian whisky events, but this festival was definitely an exception–and the food was exceptional.
But on the plus side, I did get many photos of good friends from the Norwegian whisky industry in the Grouchos.
So if you’re in Scandinavia and looking for a whisky festival run by devoted whisky aficionados who really know what they’re doing, Tunsberg Whiskyfestival is definitely one to check out. They’re already counting down to the 2020 event and so am I.