Get festive with this free whiskey and candle making event in Belfast

The two night workshop at The Menagerie is part of Bushmills' 'Stories' campaign spotlighting skilled artisans across the island of Ireland

The winter months have become a popular time for candle enthusiasts, and now they'll have the chance to learn from a local expert what goes into making them with accompanying drinks to warm the insides at an upcoming event in Belfast.

Bushmills® Irish Whiskey will present two evenings of whiskey tasting and candle making on December 12 and 13, as part of its ongoing #BlackBushStories events series celebrating various craftspeople across Ireland 'who have gone against the grain to follow their passion and become champions in their chosen field'.

The latest instalment, taking place at The Menagerie, sees Bushmills collaborate with Belfast-born Michael Morris of the Bearded Candle Makers, who has created a limited edition winter candle and will host the hands-on candle making workshop next month.

Morris’s unique technique, which involves hand blending every scent, extensive research and a dedication to find the perfect combinations, mirrors the care and craftsmanship synonymous with the Bushmills distillation process, making the collaboration the perfect match.

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Since leaving his full-time retail job to pursue his true passion, the Morris has become fascinated by how smells can evoke vivid memories, and pours his own experiences into every candle he creates. Created in their studio outside Downpatrick, the Bearded Candle Makers range is inspired by personal memories of favourite spots on Ireland’s distinctive landscapes and rugged coastlines.

Speaking to Culture NI last year for Creativity Month, Morris explained his process in more detail: ''After I had the idea of this business, I spent a year testing out smells and techniques. The temperature of the room and of the wax is crucial. The wax reaches us in large flakes, you need a high temperature to melt it and then bring it down as you add the scent, then pour the candles. With the wrong temperature, the candle and scent won’t bind.' He added on their personal business philosophy, 'I want people to buy one of our candles and know I made it'.

The evening will offer whiskey enthusiasts the opportunity to understand the art of documenting scent and create their very own keepsake candle, inspired by the rich, fruity notes and deep intense taste of Bushmills Black Bush®. As well as crafting their own candle, attendees will hear Morris’s story first-hand and experience how he followed his passion in making Bearded Candle Makers his career. An educational tasting session on some of the best-loved Bushmills whiskeys will kick off the night and specially-created Black Bush winter drinks will also be served throughout the evening.

The limited edition Black Bush inspired candles are available to win at blackbushstories.com and are the perfect whiskey drinking companion this festive season. You can enter the competition via the website and also hear more about Michael story, alongside others including Belfast leatherworker Jason Karayiannis and Ballymena photographer Ronan O’Dornan.