Whisky Magazine Issue 135
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What else is going on at the festival
The River Album by Hamish Napier
“Growing up on the banks of the River Spey, I spent many hours of youth practising to the roar of the river in the background, so it's always been there in my music. ‘The River' brings to the surface vivid sonic images of occurrences, past and present, along the stretch of the Spey that flows past my childhood home. One of my brother's fishes it, the other canoes it, my uncle Sandy photographed it, my mother paints it, and there's my father's daily fascination with its erratically changing water level. My great-great-grandfather John Findlay was the Head Distiller at Balmenach (see below), the local Speyside whisky distillery – which now produces Caorunn gin! For me the river will always symbolise home and a strong connection to nature. No mortal's relationship with the river can ever be truly harmonious, its ever-changing micro-climate, mysteriously dark depths and unrelenting power are both merciless and enchanting.”
A short history of Balmenach Distillery
Balmenach was one of the first distilleries to gain a licence in the wake of the highly influential 1823 Excise Act, though distilling had been taking place at this remote location near the River Spey for some time previously. The distillery was in the hands of the founding MacGregor family until the 1920s, when difficult economic conditions forced its sale, initially in 1922 to a consortium comprising Peter Dawson Ltd, James Watson & Co Ltd and Macdona...