Speyside Whisky

| January 11, 2018 | Reply

If – like us – you’ve fallen in love with Scotland’s sublime single malt whiskies – there is one place in Scotland that you really must visit. We’re huge fans of the peaty wonders distilled on the magical island of Islay, but in terms of sheer variety you really can’t beat Speyside. This glorious part of Scotland- think the mighty River Spey, rolling hills and lush forests –  is also home to around half of the country’s distilleries. The striking stills and pagodas of the distilleries themselves simply magnify the region’s charm.

Craigellachie Bridge, Speyside

Craigellachie Bridge, Speyside (c) Robin McKelvie

Craigellachie Hotel – A Brilliant Speyside Base

For single-malt aficionados there is possibly no better place to stay than Craigellachie Hotel. A grand old dame – she dates back to 1893 – that sits majestically on the banks of the River Spey. Not only does the hotel offer real old-world charm, but she is also home to one of the best whisky bars on the planet. Whisky bottles from around the globe line the walls of the Quaich Bar whose collection runs to more than 900 single-malts. A wee dram here will set you back anywhere from £2.20 to hundreds of pounds.

Spirit of Speyside Whisky Festival

A tour of Speyside reads like a who’s who of Scottish single-malts. Many of the big names in the word of whisky – like Glenlivet and Glenfiddich – are based here. Most distilleries offer some kind of tour, often on a walk-in basis for standard tours. It’s worth planning ahead if you want to enjoy a more in-depth tastings, or to time you visit with a special event. The biggest festival on Speyside’s festival is the Spirit of Speyside Whisky Festival which is held in late Spring.

Robin at Glenfiddich

Robin at Glenfiddich (c) Robin McKelvie

Glendronach Distillery – One of Scotland’s Oldest

Deciding which distilleries to visit can be daunting for the uninitiated. If you’re looking for a characterful distillery with a long history, then GlenDronach – on Speyside’s eastern fringes – is a good option. This charming Aberdeenshire distillery was founded back in 1826. Highlights in GlenDronach’s single-malt collection include its core 12, 15 and 21 year olds; each of these expressions has the distillery’s trademark subtle sherry finish.

Speyside Way

Speyside Way (c) Robin McKelvie

Speyside Beyond Whisky

There if of course much more to Speyside than its wealth of first-rate whisky distilleries. The region is home to a wealth of historic buildings and structures, including the magnificent Ballindalloch Castle, The River Spey, meanwhile, is renowned for the quality of its fishing. While those who want to be more active can kayak on the river, or walk or cycle along stretches of the 65 mile Speyside Way – one of Scotland’s world famous long distance walks . Another great way to explore the area is on the historic Keith to Dufftown Railway. This historic routes stretches 11 mile from Keith to Dufftown. The latter – the self-proclaimed ‘Whisky Capital of the World’ –  has more distilleries than any other Scottish town.

Ballindalloch Castle

Ballindalloch Castle (c) Robin McKelvie

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Category: Features, Highlands & Islands, See & Do

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