It contributes a staggering £16.55m to the local economy every year and employs over 3,500 people: there’s no escaping the fact that food and drink is big business on Speyside. This tiny corner of Scotland has a population of just 90,000 but it punches above its weight when it comes to gastronomy.
The region is home to over half of all of Scotland’s distilleries – over 50 in total – including some of the world’s top-selling single malts, and food firms with a heritage spanning over a century have made Speyside their home.
But what is it about the area – where the food and drink sector employs almost five times the Scottish average – that makes it a haven for producers?
Does the perfect place exist to drink a glass of whisky? What is the perfect place for you to have a dram? Is this in your own home, the bar around the corner with the beautiful bartender or is this at your friends place who has the new PlayStation and a Chesterfield couch?
I do love to drink my whisky at home, my comfort zone, but I can imagine everyone has his or her favorite place to raise a glass. In my spare time, you can find me outside most of the time. Walking, wandering and thinking, I love being outside in the fresh air, call it meditation if you like.
Following the soaraway success of a festival launched last year to celebrate one of Scotland’s most fruitful food and drink regions, Spirt of Speyside: Distilled is to return – with an even greater range of home-grown flavours.
World leading drinks brands will join small artisan producers for the weekend festival at Elgin Town Hall on September 1 and 2 in a showcase of Speyside’s finest whisky, gin, beer and food. Classic drams will be served up alongside contemporary cocktails with speciality coffee to try alongside grown-up fudge.
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.
Launch of The Malt whisky Trail at Craigellachie Bridge, Speyside. Photo by Stewart Attwood
Whisky lovers across the world are invited to complete the world’s only Malt Whisky Trail in Speyside, visiting all nine key distillery and whisky industry locations.
This summer, visitors to The Trail are asked to share a picture of their visit to each one of our nine whisky industry locations for a chance to become the first person to be inducted as a Malt Whisky Trail Master. And win a luxury weekend break to Speyside for an exclusive Malt Whisky Trail Master’s tour.
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.
The Spirit of Speyside Whisky Festival should be on your list of top Festivals. Not just for the whisky, but also for Scotland itself. And the combination of both is what I call, a perfect trip.
Caperdonich Suite, The Station Hotel (Speyside)
This year I had the pleasure to visit one of my favorite countries again using KLM flying from Amsterdam to Aberdeen, not Edinburgh like some of you thought. My stay for this event was The Station Hotel in Rothes, the Caperdonich suite. It’s named after the now-lost Caperdonich distillery, which produced whisky for blending as well as independent bottlings. Founded in 1897 by James Grant, co-founder of the Glen Grant distillery, it finally closed its doors in 2002. And a nice touch, this room has a bath with a view over the fireplace. Can I say, that this is pretty cool?
The Spirit of Speyside Whisky Festival attracted visitors from 37 different countries.
Worldwide success for Spirit of Speyside Whisky Festival as it welcomes 37 different countries to the party.
The Spirit of Speyside Whisky Festival continues to grow as a global phenomenon with visitors from dozens of international destinations taking part in the five-day celebration of Scotland’s national drink.
As the curtain fell on the 2017 event, organisers have revealed that bookings came from a total of 37 different countries around the world, making it one of the best on record in terms of international festival-goers.
James Campbell (extreme left), chairman of the Spirit of Speyside Whisky Festival, lines up with award winners, from left: Sandy McIntyre (Tamdhu), Graeme Cruickshank (Aberlour), Annelise Hastings (Mannochmore) and Dennis McBain (Glenfiddich).
The winners have been revealed in the hotly-contested Spirit of Speyside Whisky Festival Whisky Awards which had a global flavour this year, with judging sessions taking place in three international destinations as well as in Speyside.
Eight finalists were voted on at a series of judging sessions in Germany, Canada and The Netherlands as well as in Speyside in the run up to and during the Festival.
Leading malt whisky specialist, Gordon & MacPhail has picked the perfect line up for whisky lovers this Easter, showcasing drams with a variety of luxurious chocolate notes for an indulgent celebration.
Before dinner, try a Connoisseurs Choice Glen Elgin 1998. This light Speyside dram, which won a silver award in last year’s Scotch Whisky Masters competition, offers subtle Sherry influences on the nose with pressed apples, dried apricots, and tangerine aromas, complemented by a cocoa edge. Flavours of spice with orange, grapefruit, and blackcurrant give way to lingering milk chocolate on the tongue with a smooth and spicy finish.