Heritage, travel, education, music, food and drink, socialising – whatever interests you might list on a dating site, you’ll find an event to match during the Spirit of Speyside Whisky Festival, including speed dating.
It might not be about romance, but if you adore whisky, a one-to-one with some of Speyside’s most highly esteemed whisky experts could be just the ticket.
Whisky aficionados who descend on one of the world’s leading whisky festivals have many hobbies and interests – and one will be sharing his love of donuts and drams at the Spirit of Speyside Whisky Festival 2018.
The event ‘Here’s Johnny’ is more The Simpsons than The Shining, given donuts are Homer Simpson’s favourite food, and comes all the way from the USA, courtesy of Californian, Johnny Baldaray. He’s commissioned a specialist donut maker in Edinburgh to create some delicious delicacies to sample alongside half a dozen whiskies.
It’s an environment that has sheltered illicit whisky makers of the past, and it’s one of the best places in Britain from which to study the night skies – little wonder the natural landscape has a starring role in the 2018 Spirit of Speyside Whisky Festival.
The festival programme boasts its greatest ever mix of events exploring the natural environment that has spawned some of the world’s best-loved whisky brands.
From rugged hills to fertile plains, trickling burns to fast flowing rivers, the unspoilt nature of Speyside’s landscape can be explored on foot, by canoe or on board an eight-wheeled Argocat during the five-day dram-fest.
A record-breaking number of whisky drinkers from around the globe are to determine Speyside’s top drams in one of the industry’s best-loved award schemes. The Spirit of Speyside Whisky Festival Awards is stopping off at 18 different venues with its roving judging sessions – 10 more than it visited last year.
Whisky drinkers in Canada, the USA and Europe – as well as the UK – will be asked to cast their vote following a blind taste test of eight malt whiskies that have been distilled in Speyside – Scotland’s most prolific whisky-producing region.
The expanded number of venues taking part in the Spirit of Speyside Whisky Awards sessions underlines the international appeal of the event and how much it resonates with people around the globe, says Festival manager John Blyth.
116 events sell out in first 24 hours as ticket sale value increases by over £30,000
Ticket sales for the 2018 Spirit of Speyside Whisky Festival have set new records, with almost 5,000 tickets valued at £154,000 being bought within 24 hours of them being released.
The early sales rush galvanises the festival’s reputation as one of the world’s leading whisky celebrations, with 116 events completely selling out within the first day of the tickets going on sale.
The chairman of the Spirit of Speyside Whisky Festival has been honoured for his outstanding commitment to promoting Scotland’s national drink. James Campbell, a volunteer who has been chairman of the Festival for the past five years, has been inducted as a Keeper of the Quaich – one of the industry’s top honours.
Mr Campbell was one of very few inductees at the ceremony not to be employed by a distiller – and is only one of a handful of Keepers who does not work directly in the industry. He is the first chairman in the event’s 19-year history to receive the honour.
In the third part of The Speyside Whisky Festival, I mentioned the wonderfull Cragganmore distillery. After a very interesting tour, we had a litte tasting of their whisky, plus two surprises from the warehouse, Drams & Scran.
The tasting was held in the luxurious surroundings of the Cragganmore Club Room. A romantic room filled with the smell of history, old furniture, good whisky and Kevin. A lovely range of whisky with good looking delights, mouthwatering. But let’s move on to the whisky and the tastingnotes. Cragganmore gained one more fan since, me.
Neil Ridley & Joel Harrison
After the whisky at Angels and Alchemy at The Glenlivet, it was time to freshen up and have dinner at The Station Hotel, the Tootsbar. I had the best cheeseburger ever that night. Thinking about it again makes hungry again.
Next step was getting back to Glen Moray Distllery where we were getting entertained by Neil Ridley and Joel Harrison. The amazing duo behind Cast Strength Creative. This night they were joined by the Visitor Centre Manager and Brand Ambassador, Lain Allan. Those three could be a comedyteam any time. This night was all about discover the Whisky from the roots, an amazing tasting adventure.
The Fence of Cragganmore Distillery
Drams and Scran at Cragganmore Distillery, what a whisky feast. The entrance of the distillery itself is stunning. An eye-catching area.
Distillery manager Kevin Innes, was going to guide us trough the distillery. He prepared five different expressions of Cragganmore Single Malt, including the 2016 special release with various foods that complement each expression.
An events organiser who has helped to manage one of the world’s biggest bagpiping events is turning her attention to Scotland’s other iconic national symbol – whisky.
Pery Zakeri has been appointed to the role of festival administrator for the Spirit of Speyside Whisky Festival, working alongside the board of directors to deliver the 2015 programme.