A Midland wine and spirit merchants which can date its origins back to the 18th century, is gearing-up for one of the UK’s biggest whisky tasting events outside London.

The Midlands Whisky Festival, which takes place in Stourbridge Town Hall on September 18 and 19, is organised by Nickolls and Perks.

The Stourbridge-based independent wine and spirits merchants, which still occupies the same timber-framed corner building on Lower High Street leased to the firm’s founder William Nickless in 1797 for an annual lease of five shillings, boasts an extensive inventory of 2,000 whiskies and spirits along with fine wines and Champagnes.

Whiskies range in price per bottle from £17 to £43,000, the price of a Macallan Lalique 50 Year Old 1st Release 46 per cent, which has just been sourced on behalf of a collector client.

The firm, owned by the Gardener family since 1945, has been organising the Midlands Whisky Festival since 2011.

Aficionados who attend the event can taste the finest rare whiskies, some of them from distilleries long closed down but whose historic stock has been acquired by other distilleries and collectors.

There will also be masterclasses by experts from the likes of Laphroaig, celebrating its 200th anniversary this year, and Nikka, the award-winning Japanese distiller.

Tim Robbins, marketing and events manager at Nickolls and Perks said: “We’ve seen a marked increase in interest in specialist and premium whiskies and spirits.

“This has led to the Midlands Whisky Festival growing from one day per year to two days twice yearly, making it the largest event of its type in England outside London.

“The festival offers a great opportunity to everyone to explore the diversity of whiskies and spirits on taste from Ireland, the US, Japan, India as well as, of course, Scotland.

* Tickets for the festival, priced £30 to £150 can be bought in advance at www.whiskyfest.co.uk.