I emailed Mr MacLean with the question when Speyside was generally know as Glenlivet. Here his answer.
I have been ransacking my library to find out when the term 'Speyside' came into popular usage, but have been able to find a definitive answer. All I can tell you is that the word is absent from the indexes of whisky books published before about 1970 - although Proefessor RJS McDowell ['The Whiskies of Scotland', 1967] supplies a map (p.16) entitled 'Detail of the Speyside Distilleries' in his chapter 'The Glenlivets and Their Likes'.
A few points.
1. 'The Real Glenlivet' (i.e. George Smith) was being sold in Edinburgh
in the 1820s
2. Smith's Glenlivet was the first branded whisky (as 'Usher's Old
Vatted Glenlivet' - 1857)
3. Such was the reputation of the make that 23 other distillers used
the name, from as far distant as
Tomatin and Aultmore. On the petition of John G. Smith in 1880, they
were constrained by law to use the word as a
suffix only (Glenburgie-Glenlivet, Macallan-Glenlivet, etc)
4. By 1968, when McDowell was writing 'the DCL distilleries have given
up the name Glenlivet'. This has continued,
so now nobody uses it as a brand name, although it may remain as a
I hope this is helpful!
As always he is a fountain of knowledge. The question wether Speyside was known as Glenlivet is not answered clearly but as I take it Glenlivet was taken as a regional description of Speyside malts "and their likes". If we drew a map with the locations of all the 23 distilleries that used the -Glenlivet we would have an area much larger than todays Speyside. Anyway, Speyside plays a role in the whisky world mostly today and even in that usage it has no clear boundaries.