Whisky Magazine Issue 25
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James Millard explains why the Speyside Whisky Festival is a mean contender in the whisky event stakes
The region of Speyside must certainly be a candidate for the best location in the world in which to hold a whisky festival. Home to nearly half of all distilleries in Scotland, the area between Inverness and Aberdeen is dotted with some of the most picturesque and elegant distilleries that Scotland, or indeed the world, has to offer.
May 3rd to 6th saw the fourth annual Spirit of Speyside Whisky Festival, although this year's events had a lot more to offer than whisky. As if the nectar of the Gods wasn't enough, there was also clay pigeon shooting in Mulben, an art exhibition held at the Baxters Highland Village, theatre, concerts, kilt-making, coopering contests, cookery lessons, HM Customs exhibitions; much more than there is room for here.
The highlight for most of the tourists, who had travelled from numerous continents the world over, was the opening of distillery doors that are for the rest of the year kept firmly shut. Mortlach, Glendullan, Aberlour, The Balvenie and other great names in malt whisky all held exclusive tours within their hallowed walls, making the festival a must for any distillery-spotter or enthusiast.
Much of the activity was centred in Dufftown where visitors picked up their tickets for events and tried desperately to book themselves on the Seven Stills Bus Tour. This tour, guided by Ian Miller, Distillery Manager for Glenfiddich and The Balvenie, is always the first activity to sell out, sometimes many months beforehand. The reason is simple: th...