The London Whisky Weekender Returns To Oval Space In East London

Whisky Weekender

Set in the heart of East London, iconic venue Oval Space has partnered with The Whisky Lounge to bring whisky to the people once more, with the annual London Whisky Weekender from 11th – 12th April. From just £30, guests can discover a world of international whiskies from American bourbons through to Japanese, Irish, Scotch and more. This year sees a particular emphasis on craft distilleries, along with a programme of tastings, guest appearances from distillers, whisky cocktails, street food and music all weekend, making it the whisky event on the London calendar.

With three sessions to choose from over the weekend, guests will be able to explore Oval Space and discover the best the whisky world has to offer. In the Pickle Factory a selection of new and exciting craft distillers will be setting up camp. The likes of New York Distilling, Few Spirits and Smooth Ambler will be showcasing the latest trends in small-batch distilling with tastings and whisky cocktails, accompanied by a soundtrack curated by the Oval Space team. In a UK whisky festival first two legends of the USA craft distilling scene will be making an appearance with visits from Kent Fleishcmann of Dry Fly Distilling, known as the ‘godfather’ of the American craft distilling movement, and Phil Brandon of Rock Town Distillery.

Up on the roof terrace with views overlooking the iconic Bethnal Green gasholders will be a series of Whisky Tasting Classes. Pull & Punch, a London street-food scene favourite, will serve up amazing pulled meat creations incorporating whisky into their slow-cooked recipes and offering whisky paired samples. Another stalwart of the foodie scene, the Borough Ham & Cheese Company, will be helping soak up any excess whisky with their unique range of charcuterie and cheese and suggested pairings for the whisky brands on show.

With a dram from each of the main exhibitors included in the ticket price there will be no excuse to leave not knowing your Speyside from your Islay. In the main Oval Space area iconic legends of the whisky world such as Chivas Brothers, Talisker and Johnnie Walker will be on hand with brand ambassadors and distillers keen to share their knowledge and expertise. Along with more unusual whiskies from Japan, India and Wales, there will be a world exclusive debut of The Belfast Distillery Company and a pop-up tasting lounge from The Scotch Malt Whisky Society. Tapping into the trend for experiential drinking experiences Ardberg will be premiering its unique sensory serve that gives consumers the chance to taste the whisky as a liquid and a ‘smoke’.

Mirroring the recent gin revival where innovation is key, and the shift in cocktail culture towards down-to-earth bars and speakeasies, whisky is having a moment that the London Whisky Weekender perfectly captures. Covering the spectrum from legendary whiskies that have built a name for themselves through quality and reputation, through to the latest emerging brands at the forefront of distilling techniques, the festival brings whisky to London in a new and exciting way.

Tickets per session cost £30 on a first release basis and £35 thereafter • Available from:

Tickets are available for the following three sessions:

Saturday 11th April, 11am – 3pm, £35pp (£30 Early Bird)
Saturday 11th April 4pm – 8pm, £35pp (£30 Early Bird)
Sunday 12th April 12-5pm, £30pp (£25 Early Bird)

Ticket price includes: o Entry to chosen session Glencairn tasting glass, a bottle of water (for obvious purposes), the Festival Guide.
All whiskies sampled in the main hall (not included ‘under the counter’ drams)



in·spi·ra·tion noun \ˌin(t)-spə-ˈrā-shən, -(ˌ)spi-\
: something that makes someone want to do something or that gives someone an idea about what to do or create : a force or influence that inspires someone

: a person, place, experience, etc., that makes someone want to do or create something

: a good idea

Defined by Merriam-Webster, inspiration gives birth to many of the brands that we love and enjoy today. An idea is the originator, with inspiration defining such an answer to the point of mass enjoyment, whether on a local, national or international scale. Usually, the inspired creator has had history and lineage within the family, or sees a chance to fulfil where no one else has succeeded. Lately though, a lot of traditional expressions are tipping the hat at a time or place, with the founder essentially inspired by the story. One of the latest brands to go down this particular route is Stellacello liqueurs, who are said to have been ‘inspired by traditional family recipes that originated in Italy over three generations ago’. 

Lets dive a little deeper and see how Stellacello fits into the vast word of liqueurs.

Stellacello is a British based artisan company, located in Bethnal Green, East London, and headed up by Joe Stella. Starting back in 2012, Joe combines a variety of ingredients of unique spices, herbs and fruits, initially creating a ‘Pompelmo’ liqueur. Essentially a grapefruit liqueur, it garnered praise when the Stella Spritz (essentially Pompelmo topped with Prosecco and soda) featured on Channel 4’s Sunday Brunch back in May of last year.

Recently though, Joe has worked on what he has called ‘Amaro London’, a bitter liqueur, again gaining inspiration by combining unique herbs, spices and fruits, garnered from those family recipes. I’ve been lucky enough to experience both of his creations so far, so without delay, here’s my notes –

StellacelloStellacello Pompelmo – 29%

Light on the nose with an underlining sweetness of soft grapefruit. Thick, with light tones of the grapefruit on the palate. Fragrant on the back senses with an ever so slight tang of bitterness. Sweet, offering a long finish.

Stellacello Amaro London – 23%

A rich nose with sweet notes, slowly turning the aromas of red fruits and honey to a rather delicate and aromatic experience. On the palate it’s rather light, with soft flavours of walnut, honey and citrus. A deep kick near the finish of bitter lavender, Long, with a refreshing end complimenting.

Two interesting liqueurs indeed, and the Amaro is different to many similar Amaro’s I’ve come across on my travels. Lighter, more delicate, and I can see why it is perfect for the following serves –

Stella Spritz

Glass –

Wine glass

Ingredients – 

25 ml Stellacello ‘Pompelmo’ liqueur
75 ml Prosecco

Method – 

Combine and serve over ice. Add a dash of soda and garnish with a slice of orange and a green Sicilian olive.

or for the ‘Amaro London’,

The Stellaroni
The Stellaroni

The Stellaroni

Glass – 


Ingredients – 

35 ml Stellacello ‘Amaro London’ liqueur
35 ml Sweet Vermouth
35 ml Gin

Method – 

Combine all three ingredients within an ice filled tumbler and stir. Garnish with zest of orange peel.

To be fair, these are seen as classic Italian expressions, so the original way of enjoying neat as a digestif is not seen as a crime. I think Joe has done a grand job here, creating expressions that can be enjoyed by experts, whilst introducing novices to the world of liqueurs and digestif’s. Grab yourself a bottle and enjoy something a little different this year.

© David Marsland and Drinks Enthusiast 2015. Unauthorized use and/or duplication of this material without express and written permission from this blog/sites author and owner is strictly prohibited. Excerpts and links may be used, provided that full and clear credit is given to David Marsland and Drinks Enthusiast with appropriate and specific direction to the original content.